Dragon Award (lack of) Predictions

The nomination period for Dragon-Con’s unhelpfully named* Dragon Awards is fast approaching. In previous years I tried to track who had been promoting themselves for an award and who had been promoting others. I didn’t this year for various reasons but one reason was that I was just not seeing much activity. The most positive development was the cuddly Red Panda Fraction starting their own version of the spreadsheet of doom. Otherwise, Declan Finn is still plugging away at the idea. Vox Day appears to have lost interest and Larry Correia has occasionally reminded his readers to nominate. I don’t think 20booksto50 or LMBPN have been promoting interest in the dragons much either**.

Of course, I may well have missed stuff. Each year some eco-system of greater fandom has taken an interest in the Dragons and popped up some interesting nominees.

Perhaps this will be a year of actually organic nominees? As always the opaqueness of the process makes it difficult to tell. A wide voting base with disparate tastes will probably have a many choices with just a few votes each and an expansion of the number of voters might primarily increase the range of works nominated rather than increase the number of nominations a work gets. As we’ll never see the numbers, there’s no way of telling.

Dragon Award eligibility period makes life difficult to pick out what trad-pub books fit the criteria. However, given that the nomination page wasn’t properly available until February this year, I suspect that a casual voter not using Red Panda’s spreadsheet is more likely to nominate works published in 2019. Barnes and Noble blog has a ‘Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2019…So Far‘ feature that has some possible contenders. However, given the Dragon Award’s past record, the finalists are likely to be more male dominated than that list.

What else? My ongoing assumption has been that the Dragon Awards were established as a conciliation prize for Baen books. So, I won’t be surprised to see John Ringo, Chuck Gannon or Eric Flint appear. Sarah Hoyt’s take on Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter universe is sort-of published (not available on Amazon yet but Baen published an eArc).

Beyond Baen, Orson Scott Card has had a new series out with a co-author in yet another spin-off from Ender’s Game. I think that sounds very Dragon-awardy but it is published by Tor so I’m not sure of what the Venn diagram of award-voting fans would look like there (that’s assuming that a work needs to get any votes to be a finalist…)

I’ll be back on this when the finalists are announced.

*[Bane of doing any kind of chatter on the web about the dragon awards is all the many awards in the world called ‘the dragon awards’.]

**[ETA In my last update I mentioned Craig Martelle has asked for nominations and based on previous years I would imagine he’d be a strong contender (specifically Scorpion’s Fury by CH Gideon which is his pen name)]

24 thoughts on “Dragon Award (lack of) Predictions

  1. I will be very surprised if Inkshares and 50BooksTo50K don’t make a showing again this year, since they’ve had success in the past and have discovered that unlike the Nebula Awards, for the Dragon Awards gaming the nominations is a feature, not a bug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see several 20Booksto50K or Inkshares folks among the Dragon finalists either. True, they got a bloody nose at the Nebulas, but that is even more reason to double down on the Dragons where they are actually welcome or at least not unwelcome.


      1. Considering the way that the LMBPN and 20Booksto50K folks and many other indie authors operate and the importance of mailing lists, newsletter swaps and the like, it’s easy enough to say, “Hey, the Dragon Awards are coming up. Why don’t you nominate Book X by me, if you liked it. Here’s a nomination link. It’s free.”

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  2. The 50books folk may be a little leery after the dust-up over the Nebulas, but their authors’ fanbases should probably vote again this year.

    Of course, since it’s the Dragons, what’s more relevant is what the award administrators want to accomplish with the nominations this year. Years 2 and 3, they wanted more big name, license published authors in the nominations, to the point of trying to blackmail/hostage take some of them. They also got the 50books folk in year 3 and went with that interest, which wasn’t good news for the Baen/Puppies contingent. So which way will they jump in Year 4? What pressure will DragonCon itself possibly bring? How far will what they term liberal rot spread this year?

    I’ve got to say that the Dragons have been way more entertaining than I thought they were going to be when they started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat Goodwin: I’ve got to say that the Dragons have been way more entertaining than I thought they were going to be when they started.

      … in an “I know that it’s catering to my baser instincts to just sit and watch this slow-motion train wreck, but it’s so fascinating” sort of way. 😀

      Liked by 4 people

      1. More that it’s a microcosm lab of how people tried to set up a rigged, protected platform and then had to start collapsing it because of real life demographics, convention needs and social change. Watching how DragonCon deals with it, how the administrators balance on knife’s edge concerning respectability, and how the self-pubs came in and went for a popular vote award, throwing in a curve ball, all leads to rather interesting dynamics.

        I thought it would take a much longer time for the Dragons to head towards being a real, legitimate award, mainly by becoming known as a regular convention award that then attracts wider voter participation and forcing administrators to go for the actual votes. Instead, it’s been a more rapid clip of progress, (which ironically helps out those Puppies who won the first isolated year of the awards.) The Red Panda Faction is certainly responsible for some of that, and the more they raise questions about the awards’ organization and encourage voters/integration with the actual participants of DragonCon, the more change you’ll see, I feel.

        Who the administrators pick for the nominees and the winners just tells you a lot about what’s been going on, so it’s interesting sociologically. The issue of whether the administrators will eventually be replaced by the runners of DragonCon and the award shifted to a fully legitimate vote has been another interesting point.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I did some quick nominations, because why not.

    I’m expecting the trend towards less controversy to just continue, so fairly mainstream stuff with maybe with the occasional campaigned-for book in there.

    (My one wish is for Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade to appear in the MillSF section, because it’s a) really good SF featuring the military and b) the total antithesis of what’s generally appeared in that category for the Dragons. Not sure Hurley would actually consider that wish to be a good thing though!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also nominated The Light Brigade in the best military SF category, because a) it’s a good book and b) the sort of thing guaranteed to make puppies cry. In fact, I faintly recall that one of the Mad Genii had a freak-out about The Light Brigade, because it did not match their idea of what soldiers and military life are like.

      In fact, complaints like that about military SF novels, usually the better sort of military SF, always amuse me, because why would a military in a fictional world in the far future be organised exactly like the US Marine Corps or whatever their frame of reference is? That makes about as much sense as expecting today’s militaries to be organised exactly like a Roman legion or a 17th century mercenary army.

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  4. I don’t think ‘published by Tor’ is really likely to damage a work’s reputation among Dragon voters. There’s no evidence anyone actually boycotts Tor; people just announce that they are boycotting Tor except for the books they like.

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    1. Oh dear. I don’t know what that other dragon award is, but they’re going to be very confused. (Cam, I think we need a survey of all the dragon awards that exist….)

      And in the replies is our friend Declan realising he’s got the deadline date wrong! The poor guy can’t even spam an award properly.


      1. To be fair, Dragon Con’s hardly the only one making that slip-up. I searched Twitter for mentions of @DragonAwards (which appears to be connected to a Swedish film festival) and most of the results were talking about either Dragon Con’s awards, or the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards (for businesses in London).


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