Dragon Awards – A look at the MilSF Category

I found another error in my collated list. I had Invasion: Resistance by J.F. Holmes listed as “Organic” for some reason whereas Holmes had two books in play, the other being ZK: Fallen by J.F. Holmes. So some effective promotion on the basis of a Facebook post and some devoted fans. Again, I don’t want to sound disparaging about self-promotion – the Dragon Award encourages it and if that’s what the award is about then great.

Now the implications of that discovery are that I only have one book listed as “Organic” for that category: Cartwright’s Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey and would you believe it, it was actively promoted for a Dragon Award by its publisher and also had been reviewed at Jon Del Arroz’s site.

So that is actually a clean sweep for the MilSF category for books that had some active promotion.

What’s not there?

  • Marko Kloos’s Fields of Fire (Frontlines Book 5) was eligible.
  • Linda Nagata’s Last Good Man was just about eligible but maybe a bit late
  • David Weber had a couple of books out in November 2016?
  • A whole bunch of Baen books that didn’t get a look in http://www.baen.com/bookdata/schedule/archive (not all Military but it is a category with flexible boundaries)

Not sure what else but I’m sure there must have been some tie-in properties (other than JDA’s Star Realms card game tie in) that were eligible.

Any big books I’m not thinking of?

13 thoughts on “Dragon Awards – A look at the MilSF Category

  1. Linda Nagata’s Last Good Man was just about eligible but maybe a bit late.

    It was definitely eligible with a June 17, 2017 publication date — but obviously that didn’t leave much time to be read before the nominating deadline. Same for Tanya Huff’s A Peace Divided and Jack Campbell’s Vanguard. Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s Extinction Aftermath came out last October, though, as did Isaac Hooke’s Hoplite, and Hooke’s Bug Hunt came out in February.

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  2. Except for the Gannon and Flint books, this entire category is dominated by self-published and small press works. Some of these are popular authors like Richard Fox, David VanDyke and B.V. Larsson and Amy J. Murphy. Others are complete unknowns, at least to me.

    BTW, Cartwright’s Cavaliers was also promoted at the Castalia House blog.

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  3. As for books that are conspicuous by their absence, Ninefox Gambit wouldn’t have been eligible, but Raven Strategem was. Elizabeth Bonesteel’s Remnants of Trust was marketed as military SF. Sean Danker’s Admiral and Free Space were both eligible, though the books are little known for some reason, even though I like them a lot.

    There are also plenty of popular indie authors writing military SFF missing, e.g. Chris Fox, Christopher Nuttal, Nick Webb, Glynn Stewart, J.D. Green, Isaac Hooke (whom JJ already mentioned) and plenty of others.

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    1. There’s one more I forgot: Cold Welcome, the first in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War follow-up series Vatta’s Peace also came out early in 2017 and would have been eligible.

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  4. Cartwright’s was a great book, I loved it. Actually I’ve read most of my category and I gotta say, as a person who reads a TON of Mil SF and writes it as well, it’s steep competition this year.

    Surprised Weber didn’t make it cuz he’s Weber — but again honest, this was one of his weaker books.

    What shocked me most was the lack of Thrawn. Of which I’m lucky. That would be hard to beat.

    Of course, appreciate all support for Star Realms: Rescue Run. If you guys haven’t checked it out: http://bit.ly/starrealmsnovel and if you have, would love your vote. Thanks all!



    1. While I think it is nice for indie writers to get a signal boost via an award, I thought the Dragons would be an award were books like Thrawn or other stuff that is popular and keeps SF/F books selling get an award nod.

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      1. If you wanted Thrawn, nominate Thrawn and get others to do so. It’s pretty easy/simple to accomplish. I haven’t actually gotten around to reading that one yet. The books on the list are pretty darn popular, and this is just more popularity evidence. -shrug- There’s a few angry folk who seem to be trying to diminish them, and I don’t really get why. (well I do, but hate is an ugly thing, I try to ignore it as much as possible)


      2. I don’t *particularly* want Thrawn – it is just an example of the kind of works that I would expect if the Dragon Awards matched what they said they were going to be.

        In reality, any award will become its own thing with its own culture.

        //There’s a few angry folk who seem to be trying to diminish them//

        I haven’t encountered anybody angry about them. The commentary surrounding them here and at File770 is on the mismatch between what is being claimed about the Dragon Awards and the reality e.g. that the process is very open and transparent (it doesn’t seem to be), that they represent a popular choice (again not obvious), that they are free of cliques (the opposite seems to be the case).

        One of the big disconnects with online culture is getting that it is possible to criticise a thing and yet not HATE that thing or be motivated by negativity.

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      3. As Camestros has pointed out, it’s not about “hate”, and it’s not about being “angry”: it’s about the fact that the Dragon Awards are clearly not what they’re being trumpeted as: awards for popular books, awards which recognize what the majority of fans like, awards in which thousands of fans are participating.

        The Dragon Awards thus far aren’t any of those things. They’re an extremely poorly-promoted, low-participation program which is clearly being dominated by a number of small specially-motivated interest groups. The vast majority of the books on the final ballot are not, as you claim, “pretty darn popular”, and there is no “popularity evidence” — they’re pretty much unknown amongst the larger SFF reading fandom.

        One thing that SFF geeks are well known for is being interested in collecting and organizing data related to SFF and to fandom, and analyzing that data. And the data thus far does not reflect well on the Dragon Awards. Your pretense that this is not true is not fooling anyone.

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  5. Kangaroo Too would count as Mil SciFi.

    Thought more about the video game section and almoat find it odd Titanfall 2 got nominated. With the authors involved I just assumed they wouldn’t like competetive multiplayer.


  6. I think “bewilderment” is more the correct word than hatred. Random half-assed rules, no transparency, no publicity. It’s no way to run a legit award.

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