DragonCon is a convention that takes place every year over the Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, GA. It is, by all accounts, the largest sci-fi and fantasy convention on the planet Earth. If you don’t believe me, their minimum attendance every year is 60,000. It has been suggested that their attendance is over the six-figure mark, but they don’t say as much because they’re afraid that the fire marshal will shut them down. Every year, the DragonCon parade brings in about 100,000 people, who come in and watch the parade march down Peachtree Avenue.
This year is the first time that DragonCon has decided to have their own award, the Dragon. I keep calling it the Flight of Awards, but I fear that no one gets that particular reference.
The timing of this particular award is interesting, in that the award itself was only announced in April of this year. This was the month after WorldCon’s Hugo awards were voted on. The deadline for voting on the Hugo nominations was March 31, and the Dragons were announced about a week later.
The timing is also interesting when one considers that last year’s Hugo Awards presentation was a bit of a train wreck. Entire categories were nullified by a massive influx of votes insisting that no award be given in those categories where the nominees were just too conservative. These nominees were only nominated due to the effort of the Sad Puppies 3 campaign – a movement dedicated to having diversity of thought in the Hugo awards, where good fiction was promoted over “good think.” The response to that was downright Soviet in execution. Only this time it was history repeated as farce. The people behind the Hugos had a Dalek (a genocidal space Nazi from the series Doctor Who) come out and support one of the good SJWs who opposed the Puppies. Someone who won the “fan writer” award thanked a professional editor (who happened to be an SJW and Puppy Kicker) for his success.
Then, after years of people suggesting that DragonCon host their own award, they decide to start an award for their 30th anniversary. It also happens to be the year after several “Big Dogs” among the Sad Puppies were guests at DragonCon in 2015. The timing is interesting.
After the Dragon Awards were officially announced, Brad Torgersen, the leader of Sad Puppies 3 last year, had this to say
And so: the final nail in the coffin of the Hugo awards. Looks like the Dragon Award is basically going to be doing everything Sad Puppies was hoping to get the Hugos to eventually do, but Dragon Con is doing it without having to wade through all the histrionic, caterwauling drama that resulted from the self-appointed defenders of Worldcon correctness and propriety throwing the genre’s all-time biggest temper tantrum. I raise my glass to this, and predict that within ten years, a gold-foil DRAGON AWARD label on a book is going to routinely replace both NEBULA and HUGO labels.
The Dragon award nominees are finally in. What do they look like?
1. Best Science Fiction Novel
Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon
Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm by John C. Wright
Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Two interesting points come from this. One, Somewhither, by John C. Wright happens to be one of the Sad Puppy 4 picks for best novel from this year. And, while Ann Leckie’s work did make the Sad Puppy 4 recommendation list, Leckie is generally considered on the side of the anti-Puppies.
For the record, I picked John C. Wright because his book is amazing.
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams
Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
On the one hand, I do not understand why there are only five novels here. Here, we see three Sad Puppies picks from the list – Correia, Freer, and Butcher all ended up for Sad Puppies 4, which tells you that, while those books were just that good, this is not a list driven entirely by the Sad Puppies.
Dave Freer has insisted that his fans, in a tossup between him and Correia, give the award to Correia, as Freer is also in another category, YA. However, I split the difference by voting for Jim Butcher.
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
Updraft by Fran Wilde
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Eight nominees, which means that this category is truly blowing up something fierce. The nominees are from all over the place, and I don’t even know if a single one of them has an ideological opinion. Which means I can only conclude that – gasp! Shock! Horror! – they were voted on because of merit.
I have no horse in this race … I’d usually knee-jerk and say Pratchett, but I want Dave Freer to get something. He’s awesome. And Sir Terry wouldn’t mind. He’s dead, he’s past awards.
And no, I don’t really know the others.
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy
The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Chains of Command by Marko Kloos
Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber
Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels
Several things about this category.
First of all, in the comments section of the Puppy Kicker hangout, the website File 770, they disparaged every last nominee here, except for their hero, fellow Puppy Kicker John Scalzi. This is amusing since David Weber has been writing military science fiction for over 25 years, and practically invented half the concepts in modern scifi space combat.
Though the good SJWs among the Puppy Kicks are probably upset because, at the very least, this Weber series is deeply religious.
Second, at the start of the year, John Scalzi announced that he would refuse being in any and all award nominations, and insists that he refuses this one as well.
5. Best Alternate History Novel
1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
Germanica by Robert Conroy
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt
This isn’t really a surprise. Eric Flint’s 1632 series has been around for nearly a decade. On the other hand, expect it to go to Harry Turtledove, who has been doing alternate history for decades.
I suspect the 1635 and 1636 books will cancel each other out, or they’ll have to coordinate before they decide.
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel
Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole
A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey
Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann
Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine
The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This is interesting, since three of the novels here are written by conservatives: Cole, Wandrey, and Fontaine are certainly no liberals.
NK Jemisin, however, is one of the Puppy Kickers, and a racist who seems to dislike white people, and Native Americans.
7. Best Horror Novel
An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
Souldancer by Brian Niemeier
Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
Alice by Christina Henry
Honor at Stake by Declan Finn
Brian Niemeier is another Sad Puppy choice this year. In fact, he’s one of the bigger crossovers between two different set of Puppy lists – he was nominated by both the recommended reading list of Sad Puppies 4, and the Rabid Puppy list of author and publisher Vox Day.
The only other person from the Sad Puppies list happens to be Honor at Stake, by this fellow named Declan Finn. Finn is known for being a troublemaker online, including his constant taunting of SJWs and Puppy Kickers in his Sad Puppies Bite Back series of parodies. He’s a little annoying, but he has my vote in this particular round.
When Vox Day commented on the list, going into elaborate explanations for most of the votes, his only commentary here was “Sorry Declan, you are screwed.” Which is sort of amusing.
Yes, I am Declan Finn. And I know I have no chance, but I’m going to try anyway.
Brian Niemeier’s Souldancer and Honor at Stake actually have deeply religious themes, with the former having a premise of “Space Pirates go to Hell,” and the latter using theology and Thomistic philosophy to go into vampires.
Yes, the File 770 SJW crowd does not like either pick. Tough. To be honest, I haven’t even heard of the others.
Many of the others are fairly apolitical choices, which is interesting.
8. Best Comic Book
Civil War II
DC Universe: Rebirth
I’ll say Astro City. Why? Because the art alone is amazing, and the concepts are fairly well executed.
9. Best Graphic Novel
The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman
Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
Chicago by Glenn Head
Virgil by Steve Orlando
No idea. I won’t even discuss Neil Gaiman.
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
The Expanse – Syfy
Daredevil – Netflix
The Flash – CW
Outlander – Starz
Game of Thrones – HBO
Doctor Who – BBC
Jessica Jones – Netflix
Daredevil. Definitely Daredevil. I will never suggest Jessica Jones, and I haven’t seen Doctor Who in years.
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War. Because Ant-Man was week, I could barely get through Deadpool, and I’m sure Star Wars will get there eventually.
What’s that? Why not The Martian? Because I liked the book much, much better. The film was directed in such a way I thought that someone wanted to recreate 2001 with the sweeping landscape eating up precious minutes that could have included, you know, SEGMENTS OF THE BOOK.
Ahem. But that’s just me.
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
Undertale by Toby Fox
XCOM 2 by 2k Games
Metal Gear Solid. Because Kojima.
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
Quaser One by Emre Taskin
PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts
Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
For the record, Fallout Shelter is addictive as all heck.
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
Talon by GMT Games
Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil
Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games
Mousguard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane
Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
If you desire to vote in the Dragons, go here, click the link, and register with the Dragon Awards. You’ll get your ballot in the mail.
I will now suggest to you that you go out and purchase the DRAGON AWARD NOMINATED NOVEL FOR BEST HORROR, HONOR AT STAKE!
That is a really bizarre spread of games in the PC/Console games category. Wonder if there would be any way to split them out, the way that comics and graphic novels are split.
MGSV: from what I understand, it’s a movie with stealth action sequences in it. 😉 With a big, complicated, grand story, very linear game.
Darkest Dungeon: a survival/resource management game that draws on traditional D&D and Lovecraft aesthetics; no real overarching plot but a ton of atmosphere.
Overwatch: a storyless multiplayer competitive FPS in a bright, post-superhero sci-fi world.
Fallout 4: a sprawling, sandboxy FPS/RPG in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a lot of plot and a lot of exploration.
Undertale: a small homage to console JRPGs with a surprisingly subversive and heartfelt story and characters. Quirky and minimalist.
X-COM 2: a management and strategy game (with storyline included) in a dark sci-fi setting.
The games have divergent themes, divergent gameplay, divergent game lengths, divergent audiences…there’s very little that ties them together, other than the fact that they are, in fact, games. (I think Overwatch being on the list surprises me the most; competitive games are totally dissimilar from other games in how they approach gameplay and narrative.)
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