2020/08/12

The Dragon Sleeps

Scalzi Wins!

... and Scalzi grows stronger!

Check out the 2020 Dragon Award ballot, and you'll see what I mean.

2020 Dragon Award Ballot

From the author of The Handmaid's Tale to lesbian vampire stories to a writer so deranged even Disney fired him, this year's Dragon ballot reads like the canon of Death Cult humiliation scripture.

The crowning touch being the inclusion of John Scalzi, who once famously declined a Dragon Award nomination before throwing his hat back in the ring, only to lose.

Frankly, I think this could be his year.

Before you accuse me of indulging in gallows humor, I assure you I'm serious. The nominations list gives us all the variables to work the equation.

First, when dealing with Death Cultists, one always does well to pin them down to their own past statements.

Remember when the Narrative among the CHORF set was that the Dragons were "a fake award" of no consequence? Some of them even lobbied Dragon Con to be taken off the ballot.

a fake award

Of course, the Death Cult witches lie constantly in the manner of their father below. Thus their previous attempt to take over the Dragons in 2017.

That attempt failed, and the Dragons continued to be a direct democratic process as intended. Each subsequent years' winners were pretty much what you'd expect from a readers' choice award with a broad voter base. Baen and the bigger indies came to dominate, with cameos from the more mainstream Pop Cult fare like Corey Doctorow and The Expanse.

I and the other cultural commentators who predicted this course of events based our forecasts on the key difference between the Dragons and the other literary awards. Anyone can vote in the former, while the latter lock voting rights behind a paywall or professional organization membership.

Put simply, the Death Cult can monopolize the Hugos because World Con's voter base is quite small, relatively speaking. The number of CHORFs isn't growing. In fact, they're rapidly graying. It stands to reason that an award with an open, large, and growing voter base would be immune to manipulation by an insular Cult.

And for three years, that reasoning held true. But as is its wont, 2020 threw the con scene a curve ball: Corona-chan.

The central feature of convention culture is convening. Due to the pandemic, congoers can't meet in person, which defeats the whole purpose of the event.

We're seeing the same dynamic at work in the world of sports. Conservative pundits blame the sports leagues' wokeness for the precipitous decline in ratings, but as I've often argued, that's largely reversing cause and effect. NFL viewership had been recovering after the Colin Kaepernick affair. People seemed willing to swallow a bit of Cultic dogma with their bread and circuses.

Talk to former sports fans, and they'll tell you it's the empty stands that finally made them turn off the tube. Sports are group activities, just like conventions. Take away the live social dimension, and former enthusiasts lose the drive to participate--even virtually, as we're seeing with TV sports.

But the Death Cult never sleeps. I've pointed this out again and again, but it looks like folks need another reminder. The Cult's motives have nothing to do with supporting the con scene, entertaining people, or even making money. They're religious fanatics driven by eschatological frenzy to bring everything under the shadow of their heretical anti-faith.

There's your explanation for what happened with the Dragons. The virus shut down the con, normal people tuned out, and the small but relentless Cult faction took advantage of the drastically reduced voter base to pack the ballot.

Which means Scalzi may get the Dragon he did--then didn't--then did--want after all.

And will only have taken a once-in-a-century crisis to make it happen. But as they say, never let one go to waste.

And never give money to people who hate you.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

25 comments:

  1. The irony is Scalzi will never win a Hugo again.

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    1. He saw the writing on the wall as far back as 2017. Hence his tap-dancing over accepting the nomination. I wouldn't be surprised if his handlers urged him to decline, but his ego won out.

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  2. Just how bad are Scalzi's works anyway? I've never read any of his books. But there must be something special for it to warrant having parodies made in response.

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    1. From what I can tell, his writing isn't bad (unlike Chuck 'Herkily Jerkily' Wendig), but his protagonists are as insufferably smug as he is.

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    2. Redshirts is kind of fun if you are into Star Trek fan fiction. Mostly his stuff are just riffs of other people's work.

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    3. Scalzi's first book is widely considered his best, and there's been a more or less steady decline in quality ever since. That's the exact opposite of the performance curve you'd expect. Almost every author improves as he goes along.

      Which is why I'm partial to the theory advanced in some quarters that Old Man's War was ghostwritten by someone else.

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    4. No, doesn't read like something ghostwritten. But a lot of writers ask for more advice, and get more care and help editing, with their first books. Tradpub doesn't think that writers need help with any books after that, or rather, they don't bother with anything but proofreading. (Sometimes not that.)

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    5. A lot of books have an "okay" or "good enough" state, and then a potential "holy crimoly!" state that they could reach. If the author can see how to improve or purify or heighten his own book, hopefully he does. If another pair of eyes can see it, hopefully the author can follow that person's advice and make it better. But you can have a nice career with "good enough" books, even if you never reach your full potential.

      Part of Scalzi's problem is that his books often have inherent moral dilemmas or haunting occurrences, but he never seems to let his characters deal with the obvious problems they have, or have created, or must suffer through. There are scenes basically saying, "Nothing to worry your pretty head about," and then his characters don't!

      So that's my guess as to why his books never achieve greatness. He's not comfortable with moral tension and decision.

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  3. People of Good Will have two choices: a) bar these people from good society / institutions / countries in order to rest or b) allow them to stay but accept being ever vigilant and never resting against these cretins.

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    1. If recent years have taught us anything, it's that there is no valid reason not to choose a).

      We shouldn't have to live like this.

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    2. ^ exactly. Besides, even with option a) you still have to be vigilant about infiltration and entryism...but it’s a much less exhausting vigilance

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  4. They might be doing us a favor, quite accidentally. If conventions are the corporate worship gatherings of the Pop Cult, rendering them odious and therefore pointless might just red-pill some more normies.

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    1. I've been leaning toward that conclusion as well. They may not be full-fledged Death Cultist like the World Con crowd, but most Dragon Con attendees are at least peripheral members of the Pop Cult.

      Cons are an artifact of the old entertainment industry, including New York publishing. What a lot of guys miss is that the Cult isn't a cancer that kills the patient, it's the vermin that feeds on the corpse.

      If this year's ballot turns out to be proof of Death Cult infestation, it will means that Dragon Con wasn't long for this world, anyway.

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    2. Covid-19 has made cons a non-event. But yeah, less franchise worship is a good thing.

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    3. Smaller book fairs would definitely be better for everyone over conventions. One welcomes everyone and fosters local community, and the other specializes in the fanatic and self-worship of corporations.

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    4. Sounds like a fun idea. It would also be a lot more family friendly. Normies might actually be willing to attend such a thing.

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  5. I reflexively registered to vote for Dragon awards when the invite came. Is it literally a case of "Don't bother"? Or is there someone, anyone to vote for?

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  6. I was hoping Tim Powers would get the nomination for Alternate History. I saw Howling Dark on there and voted for that one. I was disappointed by the options for the first three categories.

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  8. Great article. Scalzi, Wendig, etc., grossly overrated in terms of writing. But aside from that, they just suck as humans too. I will never support them financially. Ever. I've often felt that sci-fi readership is dying a slow death, and has been for a number of years now.

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    1. Scifi is boring. No sense of gee whizz wonder. It's a bunch of pseudo science nerds fixated on whether the screws are Robertsons or Phillips. And then spin a story from that premise

      xavier

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  9. >Wendig
    >award

    These two things do not belong together.

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  10. Any sci-fi with actual fun in it gets herded off into mil-sci-fi. Which is probably why that's the only scifi most people read anymore.

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    1. Now that you mention it, that trend is pretty apparent.

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