Over at Mad Genius Club, some folks are celebrating the genre stratification at DragonCon for their Dragon Awards. Rather than Best at some length category, they have split categories into Best Science Fiction, Best Fantasy or Paranormal, Best YA/Middle Grade, Best Mil-SF or Mil-Fantasy(!?), Best Alternative History, Best Apocalyptic, Best Horror, and with further breakdown along similar lines for film and gaming.
This strikes me as a terrible idea. These categories reinforce the notion that a story can be only one of these things. Where would Philip Jose Farmer’s Maker of Universes fall on this? Is Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth Fantasy, Science Fiction, Alternative History or Apocalyptic? Why break out Horror into its own category, and where would something like Matthew D. Ryan’s ‘Vampire-hunting in Drisdak’-style Drasmyr books end up?
No, no, no, no! This isn’t a victory, unless your aim is creating genre ghettos.
In response, I propose an alternative. If I ever get the reach to make such an endeavor feasible, I will give you the Brackett Awards:
Categories will include, but are not limited to, in Long and Short Form:
- Best Space Princess/Classiest Dame
- Most Dashing Swordsman/Gunman
- Creepiest Monster/Alien
- Most Exotic/Erotic Xeno-hominid
- Best Explosion
- Coolest Spaceship
- Best Empire (domineering, crumbling or otherwise)
Will these categories end up punishing certain books under the SFF umbrella? Probably, but not the most awesome ones.