As you read this, the Dragon Awards come barreling down upon us like a freight train. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t think that I’ve ever really gotten over the whole Hugo Awards thing from 2015. I know I should, and a better person would, but I’ll be the first to admit to being a spiteful man who had been through too much in his life to easily forgive personal attacks.
That being said, it’s Dragoncon weekend and I won’t be there. Why? Well for multiple reasons, but the main one is there are just too many people.
Like many authors, I don’t do too well around large groups of people. Now, I’ve been in front of a few hundred people to over a few thousand at one time without problem. How, you might ask? Because I’m not in the middle of said crowd with wall-to-wall people crushing down on me. I’m on the outskirts, looking in.
I’m not quite certain where this dislike of large crowds came from. When I was in high school and college I had no issue with concerts, sporting events, or even a pep rally. It was just a thing that I was going to, no big deal. Even while in the Navy I was okay with being crammed in a tiny space with a bunch of other people and nowhere to go for weeks on end.
Nowadays I hate being in the middle of any group larger than 15. I’ve spoken with many other authors who feel the same way and I’ve started to wonder if being an author requires them to be anti-social. I know most authors are not the, uh, easiest to get along with (“cantankerous old bastard” is the term used most often) but is it because we’re just curmudgeonly by nature or is it something else? Is it that we are required to live in worlds of our making for so long that when we delve out into the “real” world we turn sour because the real world sucks?
I’ve dealt with this feeling for years, personally. I watched Back to the Future Part II when I was younger and damn it all to Hell I wanted my flying Delorean! It’s 2017 and the best we got is a fidget spinner so yeah, I’m severely disappointed with the way our “future” is going. To counter this I got back into novels where the future is hopeful and promising.
Perhaps this is why I’m not a fan of the trend in YA for dystopian futures? It’s almost like the authors are telling kids “don’t dream because while you may have two hot hunks chasing you the future sucks”. Many authors in the MGC are in the same boat, eschewing dystopia for a more hopeful future. Not all, though, but most. I think it’s a common thread between us that we all write about brighter futures because that’s what we want.
(ed. note: while Jason prefers heroic space operas, he has dipped his toe into some dystopian features, so he’s not truly innocent in this… but we do know that he’s really wanting to avoid falling into this trap)
Coming back full circle, though, I think that this is why I love the idea of Dragoncon and, relatedly, the Dragon Awards.
Fans go to most conventions to meet their favorite authors and actors. Dragoncon provides both, but also provides an atmosphere which takes any fan back to a time of hope and celebration. A person can dream again at these cons. It’s… refreshing to see that in a time of volatility we can still come together and have fun.
The Dragon Awards seem to celebrate this, allowing fans to vote midst a wide voter pool and celebrate what they actually like. For famous authors and not-quite-there-yet authors alike, the chance for a coveted Dragon is affirmation that not only is their stuff read, but it is popular at one of the largest conventions around. It’s a chance for the dreamers to see their stories honored, no matter what their beliefs are. It can put together guys like Larry Correia and Eric Flint and say “Both of you are worth celebrating.”
It’s a dreamer’s dream come to life. I, for one, will join in on the celebration from afar.
Enjoy your Dragoncon, everyone. Hoist one for me.
Jason is re-releasing his first ever novel, Corruptor, on September 8, 2017. The sequel, Devastator, will be coming out in November. In the meantime, he wants to show off the cover for Wraithkin’s sequel, titled Darkling. He’s weird like that.