Any chance of an award for short fiction? Would be great for fantasy shorts to get some love! :-)
Abandon the online voting (it's so open to abuse) and install a judging panel all the way through. That way people will actually talk about the merits of the books rather than who's got the most active fanbase. Then we celebrate quality.
It needs to have a better focus. It started out attempting to award the novel best in the spirit of David Gemmell (which, from my understanding, means Paul Kearney would win the award every time he published a book). Now, a novel such as The Way of Kings, which bears absolutely no resemblance to Gemmell's work, wins and I have *no* idea what the award means. It's just a popularity vote at this point, especially, as Anon pointed out, with open online voting. It's already clear that GRRM or Patrick Rothfuss will win next year.The DGA committee should take a step back and think long and hard about what they want to award to represent. What should it mean to have that label attached to a winning novel. Right now, it means very little.
I'd like to see a shift to a two-element judging model - 50% from popular vote, preferably on the STV system or something similar, and 50% from a panel of experts.And as Aidan said, it needs a better focus - either move back towards a Gemmellesque focus, or explicitly expand it to cover all fantasy. (Perhaps with some category awards included too.)I really like the idea of an award for cover art; my problems with the results are mostly down to the inevitable LCD factor of the popular vote, and having an artist and/or cover designer on the expert panel would certainly help that.
I would love to see a juried fantasy award analogous to the Clarke but that's not really a solution to the problem of the DGLA since it is deliberately trying to be a different beast: a popular award. But the half-arsed implementation of the online voting system needs overhauling. The Locus Awards probably offer a good example of how this could be done.
I think it would be nice to retain some element of Gemmell other than the name on the award. I agree that the 'book-most-like-a-Gemmell-book' award is probably not a good plan. I also think that the two extremes of an open vote (could just take amazon sales figures) and a judge-panel vote (can end up too cliquey & esoteric) are problematic. Perhaps if the award was voted on but one by active members of a Gemmell fan forum then you would get the book that most appeals to fans of Gemmell and is therefore in a more open sense 'like' Gemmell in some way but not constrained to be a pale imitation...
This is on behalf of Graeme Flory, who couldn't seem to post his comment!At the risk of repeating Aidan's comments... pretty much what Aidan said. Is the DGLA about recognising books written in the style of Gemmell (heroic fantasy)or is it about fantasy literature in general? Looking at the nominees I couldn't really tell so voted for Darius Hinks, the closest thing to Gemmell on the list.The award really needs to clarify what it's actually about before it gets my full backing and that's before I get onto the whole voting thing... As things stand at the moment, the author/publisher with the biggest fanbase will win whatever category they are in. Watch Black Library win again next year if they get shortlisted, you heard it here first ;o)None of this is to say that I don't like the sound of the award in general (I do); I just think it needs to sort out the teething problems sooner rather than later if it's really going to mean something in a few years time.Graeme