Alison Littlewood, the author of The Hidden People, was nominated for a Dragon Award, which asks ordinary fans what they like to watch, read, and play. It’s a fan’s choice award, plain and simple. And it ought to be a good thing.
Though she clearly has a fan base of her own, Ms. Littlewood’s book was also included on a “slate” proposed by an individual/group she didn’t want to be associated with. She worried that she couldn’t trust the nomination was fairly won. And so, she asked if her book could be pulled from the ballot.
It put us in a jam. We have strong faith in the integrity of the Dragon Awards ballot because it was created by fans, the everyday people who actually read the books and nominate them. In seven categories for literature, there were 53 different novels that represented the broad spectrum of fandom and there was something for everybody. It made an excellent reading list for fans everywhere.
So we told her no.
And then, over the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind. This is what’s happening next.
We have removed The Hidden People, by Ms. Littlewood, and The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin, from the 2017 Dragon Awards ballot and we will re-issue ballots to those people who voted for these two books. We believe that fans who voted in the Horror and Apocalyptic categories should have a second chance to vote. No new titles will be added to the ballot.
We are extending all voting for this year’s Dragon Awards by two days, to midnight on Sept. 1st, so that everybody who wants a chance to vote will have a chance. Register for a ballot at awards.dragoncon.org.
After this year’s awards, which will be conferred on Saturday, Sept. 3, we’re going to take a hard look at the way we do things at the Dragon Awards. It will still be the “fan’s choice” award, with fans nominating the works and fans voting on the winners. But, we also need to do a better job of listening to the authors and creators of these works. One of the things we will look at is how best to give them a chance to opt off a ballot before its finalized.
There are some who may cry foul at this decision. We don’t think so. Fans still have the final say. And, most importantly, with “only” 51 novels for fans to choose from, the Dragon Awards ballot is still a mighty fine reading list.