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Inaugural Dragon Awards Winners Announced

Dragon_AwardDragon Con is a 30-year-old SF convention held in Atlanta every year and attended by about fifteen to twenty times as many warm bodies as WorldCon, and it gave away its first awards on Sunday.

The inaugural Dragon Awards includes categories which cover SF and fantasy (traditionally the domain of the Hugo Awards), comics books, Horror (Bram Stoker Awards), video games, and tv/movie works.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Dragon Con on the number of voters and participants, so here’s a rundown on the basic facts.

Rather than focus on the length of a work and crown a single title the "best" in categories defined by word counts, the Dragon Awards went for a more granular approach in its first year and instead awarded prizes for SF, alternate history, fantasy, military SF&F, apocalyptic, horror, YA, and comic book.

There were a total of fifteen categories this year, and yes, several of the categories overlapped (Novik’s Dragon title, for example, could have been nominated for alternate history and military SF&F). There were no awards for best writer, editor, or related work.

Unlike the Hugo Awards, which more or less had a poll tax (voting was limited to con members) the Dragon Awards featured an open nomination and voting process this year.  Anyone with a web browser and an email address could nominate a title, and then later vote for that title.

That obviously raises the question of stuffing the ballot box, but there’s no evidence of that at this time.

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • The Life Engineered, J-F. Dubeau (Sword & Laser)
  • Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller (Far Future Enterprises)
  • Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

Best Fantasy Novel

  • Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
  • Asteroid Made of Dragons, G. Derek Adams (Sword & Laser)
  • Blood Hound, James Osiris Baldwin (Gift Horse Productions)
  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Grave Measures, R.R. Virdi (Self-published)

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo (Holt)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley (Tor Teen)
  • Trix and the Faerie Queen, Alethea Kontis (Self-published)
  • Carry On, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Calamity, Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte)
  • Updraft, by Fran Wilde (Tor)

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
  • Blood in the Water, Taylor Anderson (Roc)
  • Chains of Command, Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Wrath of an Angry God, Gibson Michaels (Arc Flash)
  • Allies and Enemies: Fallen, Amy J. Murphy (Self-published)
  • The End of All Things, John Scalzi (Tor)
  • The Price of Valor, Django Wexler (Roc)

Best Alternate History Novel

  • League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
  • 1635: A Parcel of Rogues, Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis (Baen)
  • 1636: The Cardinal Virtues, Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt (Baen)
  • Deadlands: Ghostwalkers, Jonathan Maberry (Tor)
  • Bombs Away: The Hot War, Harry Turtledove (Del Rey)

Best Apocalyptic Novel

  • Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
  • Chasing Freedom, Marina Fontaine (Self-published)
  • Dark Age, Felix O. Hartmann (Self-published)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Desert and the Blade, S.M. Stirling (Roc)
  • A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchmen)

Best Horror Novel

  • Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (Self-published)
  • Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
  • Alice, Christina Henry (Ace)
  • An Unattractive Vampire, Jim McDoniel (Sword & Laser)
  • Chapelwood, Cherie Priest (Roc)
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (William Morrow)

Best Comic Book

  • Ms. Marvel
  • Astro City
  • Civil War II
  • Daredevil
  • DC Universe: Rebirth
  • Providence
  • Saga

Best Graphic Novel

  • The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • Chicago, Glenn Head (Fantagraphics)
  • March: Book Two, John Lewis & Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Virgil, Steve Orlando (Image)
  • Sacred Heart, Liz Suburbia (Fantagraphics)
  • Killing and Dying, Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Game of Thrones
  • Daredevil
  • Doctor Who
  • The Expanse
  • The Flash
  • Jessica Jones
  • Outlander

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • The Martian
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Crimson Peak
  • Deadpool
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
  • Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
  • Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
  • Undertale by Toby Fox
  • XCOM 2 by 2k Games

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
  • Quaser One by Emre Taskin
  • PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
  • Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
  • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
  • Talon by GMT Games
  • Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
  • Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

  • Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
  • Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
  • Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
  • Mouse Guard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane
  • Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games

The Verge

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Peter September 6, 2016 um 11:04 am

I’d say that just looking at the list of "winners" is prima facie evidence of ballot stuffing (which was trivial to do.)

Fjtorres September 6, 2016 um 12:46 pm

The nomination list featuring a good sprinkling of Baen titles suggests the process was reasonably legit. At a minimum, the nominated titles are really SF&F, unlike more than one Hugo.

The choice of categories is pretty good too.

Fjtorres September 6, 2016 um 1:04 pm

The only improvement I can imagine at this point would be to add three categories:
– translated SF&F
– retro-culture piped dreams
– SJW screeds

That would be inclusive enough. 🙂

(And end the catfights.)

Shirley Dulcey September 6, 2016 um 1:22 pm

Wouldn’t you also have to have a category for anti-SJW screeds?

Fjtorres September 6, 2016 um 3:00 pm

That’s the retro-culture category.
They can nominate each other and leave the other categories for SF&F fans. 🙂

Bruce A September 7, 2016 um 10:05 pm

If the puppies want to remain true to form, that would be "Best Related Work".

Shirley Dulcey September 6, 2016 um 1:19 pm

A look at the winners in three of the novel categories strongly suggests that the Puppies have had their way. Two Castalia House titles and one by Larry Correia (that he got published by Baen) are highly suggestive. The Puppies were able to go with name authors in the other novel categories and the graphic novel because there were already people writing things they like.

I don’t see any clear Puppy influence in the game categories. Perhaps they’re not interested in games. And The Martian is clearly the best SF film of the year (sorry, Star Wars) so the influence of the voting blocs is irrelevant.

The Dragon Awards define the eligibility period differently than the Hugos. Theirs ran from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. That affected the lists of nominees in some categories; for example, the list of films includes Deadpool but not Mad Max or Ex Machina.

AmyCat =^.^= September 6, 2016 um 2:19 pm

When a vanity-press*-published work by John C. Wright beats Kim Stanley Robinson, Ann Leckie, and Charles Gannon, it’s pretty clear there WAS some ballot-box stuffing going on. 😛

However, if it means V.D.’s trolls will f*ck off and leave the Hugo awards alone, that’s fine with me. Stuff away! After all, a lot of us kept telling the Puppies that, if they didn’t like what WorldCon members were nominating & voting for Hugos, they should start their own awards. Can’t blame them for taking that advice! 🙂

*"Castalia House" is V.D.’s vanity press. His other recent releases include such gems as “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness and his own epic "SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police".

Nate Hoffelder September 6, 2016 um 2:46 pm

Your claim that Castalia House is a vanity press is bullshit; (I know too many author-owned small presses.

But yes, that title is proof of ballot stuffing; it has only two reviews on Amazon. There’s no way a title that obscure won legitimately.

Fjtorres September 6, 2016 um 3:07 pm

There were several Indies nominated and at least one APub title.
That is a heck of a lot better than the Hugos.

The list actually looks like the stuff that is selling, with a proper mix of notable authors: Novik, Butcher, Weber, Turtledove, and yes, Correia.

Fjtorres September 6, 2016 um 3:12 pm

By the way, don’t assume the lack of reviewes on the Castellia title automatically means ballot stuffing.
1- puppies actually like the stuff they nominate and there’s a lot of them
2- if I remember correctoy, the catfight spilled onto the reviews and might have had to remove reviews.

I don’t particularly care who won; just that the titles surfaced look to be, by and large, legit contenders.

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2016 um 4:21 pm

"if puppies actually like the stuff they nominate and there’s a lot of them"

If something is really popular then it would already have a lot of reviews from fans before it is nominated.

gingeroni September 7, 2016 um 4:13 pm

I see 83 reviews for "Somewhither" and 299 for "Ctl Alt Revolt". Castalia House also has reprints of Jerry Pournelle’s work and has restarted his classic "There Will Be War" anthology.

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2016 um 4:15 pm

Those reviews must be from after the award.


gingeroni September 7, 2016 um 4:22 pm

The newest review for "Somewhither" is 4 days ago, next is 11 days so pre-reward.

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2016 um 4:31 pm

That’s odd. I looked before I commented about only finding two reviews. That’s all I found.

I wonder if Amazon imported the reviews from Goodreads?

Bruce A September 7, 2016 um 10:14 pm

Do most of the other author-owned small presses primarily publish the author and one or two of their friends? When I look at Castalia House at Amazon, it looks like most of the books are by Vox Day or John C. Wright, or reprints of Pournelle’s There Will Be War anthologies. I don’t follow many small presses, and the ones I do, I generally have no idea who their publishers are.

I think they probably had far fewer nominations than the Hugos, there were a couple of nominees that had under 100 goodreads reviews. I think all of the Hugo nominees had at least 8000.

Bruce A September 7, 2016 um 10:27 pm

Sorry to reply to myself, but since the Hugos were all published last year, and I think that it was a much longer time period between nominations announcement and announcement of awards for the Hugo, it’s possible that some of the Hugo nominees had much fewer goodreads reviews at this many days between the time the nominees were announced and the the time between the Dragon nominee announcements and today. Still, my guess is that all of the Hugo nominees probably had several thousand reviews at that point, compared to the hundreds of reviews by some of the nominees (and winners!). That’s got to cast doubt on the number of ballots cast, the real popularity of some of the nominees and winners, and the depth of the fan base voting. I look forward to DragonCon learning some lessons and eventually developing into awards that can actually be used by genre fans to use for recommendation lists.

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2016 um 10:28 pm

According to the Author Earnings report, a good fraction of the titles on the Kindle Store’s best-seller list come from "single-author publishers".

It is that common, yes, and it is why I objected to throwing around the term vanity press.

Frank September 7, 2016 um 9:18 am

Nate, you forgot to use bold text for the mobile game Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks.
The Sad Puppies had some influence on these awards, but they picked good works so it is not so bad.

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2016 um 9:23 am

whoops, thanks for pointing that out.

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