2020 Dragon Awards

Well, I can say what I like about the Dragon Awards but their livestream award announcement beat the Hugo Award in terms of efficiency and general presentation.

The winners (I missed the games) are:

  1. Best Science Fiction Novel: The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
  2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal): The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel: Finch Merlin and the Fount of Youth by Bella Forrest
  4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel: Savage Wars by Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
  5. Best Alternate History Novel: Witchy Kingdom by D. J. Butler
  6. Best Media Tie-In Novel: Firefly – The Ghost Machine by James Lovegrove
  7. Best Horror Novel: The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
  8. Best Comic Book: Avengers by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness
  9. Best Graphic Novel: Battlestar Galactica Counterstrike by John Jackson Miller, Daniel HDR
  10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series: The Mandalorian – Disney+
  11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by J. J. Abrams

Also Siobhan Carroll won the Eugie Award for He Can Creep which was a personal favourite.

27 thoughts on “2020 Dragon Awards

    1. Apparently when they actually count the votes and there’s no canine thumb on the scale, genuinely popular works that lots of people have read win!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Yay for the Eugie! Well-deserved. And YAY! for Wombat!

    Those are some pretty solidly middle of the road winners. I suspect closely conforming to Goodreads again. And most people still love Star Wars.

    The movie award is going to be interesting next year, what with cinemas being closed for so long all over. I know for myself and Mr. LT, like many others, “Rise of Skywalker” was the last movie we saw in a theater. And so many movies that were supposed to come out this year didn’t.

    Also, Wakanda Forever. (Such a loss)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Magic the Gathering: Throne of Eldraine won a gaming Dragon, which I voted for and makes me happy, since I’ve been a Magic player for some twenty-five years. The world-building for that game deserves an award by itself, and so does the overall art direction, aside from the individual pieces. It’s frankly astonishing that a game older than my college-age son still comes out with fresh and exciting additions several times a year, and is bigger than ever.

    I’ll stop gushing now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tapestry won best boardgame. Probably a testament of good timing and a solid fanbase. Its neither very genre, and I doubt anyone will talk about it in 5 years. But hey – someone already mentioned “Middle-of-the.road-winners”. Its OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m somewhat awestruck by an original Battlestar Galactica tie-in winning Best Graphic Novel despite fairly strong competition. That trademark Dragon Awards weirdness showing me what the heck I know about anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That one surprised me, too, especially since the new Battlestar Galactica has faded into irrelevance and the original one has faded even more.

      Did I read that right that the winning graphic novel is a tie-in to the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica, not the early 2000s travesty? Cause that’s even weirder, since I suppose the majority of Dragon Con attendants will never even have heard of the show.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. FWIW, the Battlestar Galactica comic was published by Dynamite, who have a strong track record at the Dragons — with four wins, they’re tied with Marvel. (To put that in context, the only other comic publishers to win are DC and Image, who have just one Dragon each)

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh my word. Well, while the legitimacy train has not yet arrived at its destination, I think we can safely say that it’s firmly left the station. Congrats, Red Panda, go have some virtual toasts of champagne.

    Of course, full legitimacy for the Dragons still depends on the person administrating the awards changing (which may have happened — no one seems able to say, we have signs both ways on that;) the sweepstakes rules being tossed for a legitimate full vote count (no definite sign of that yet;) continued increased participation by members of DragonCon as well as online voting (the decreased number of votes mentioned this year doesn’t definitely indicate this;) and continued enthusiastic author participation and promotion of the awards by non-Puppy, non-conservative authors that we saw this year (rather than the lock of Puppy or Puppy-approved authors they wanted for the Dragons as a clubhouse.)

    The Puppies most cared about the SF award and the Military SFF award, two areas they see as their purview politically, with some interest in the just Fantasy Award, mostly due to Larry C., and Alternate History (where conservative/libertarian authors are not uncommon.) Their interest in Horror and YA/Middle School was high the first year, but then rapidly waned or at least was not enough to overcome horror and YA/Middle School fans who voted. The hope seemed to be to have either Puppy nominees or at least big name authors who were conservative/libertarian/perceived as politically puppy friendly. They were most successful at it in Year 1 and some last year, Year 4.

    This year, the SF category was awash in liberal elitist authors and the winner is Puppy proclaimed nemesis Scalzi. This isn’t as much of a surprise as it might have been, though it is pretty funny that the guy Brad tried to call gay as an insult wins after him. But Scalzi’s history with the Dragons is partly a reflection of the history of the Dragon awards and the pressures on it towards legitimacy. In the first year, the year when the Puppies were most able to A) still assemble voting blocks and B) pressure the Puppy-friendly administrator to toss them nominations and wins through the sweepstakes admin rules, Scalzi still ended up on the ballot in Military SFF and won the award. N.K. Jemisin was also a nominee for Fantasy, which she simply ignored. This was a result of non-Puppy voters trying out the Dragons to see if they were legitimate and voting for popular authors like Scalzi and Jemisin and of the admin trying to make the awards look kind of legit by not bouncing authors like Scalzi and Jemisin while still boosting Puppies, many of whom were largely unknown to most SFF fans.

    The second year, as we know, based on the results of Year 1, the stated rules that the admin decides things with votes used as a consultation and the behavior of those running the awards, the Dragons were not seen as particularly legitimate. An author nominated wanted to drop out, as did Jemisin. The admins, clearly pressured by DragonCon to keep big name authors in and make the awards look respectable, refused to let the authors withdraw. This prompted Scalzi to say he’d also withdraw his nomination for that year. The admin begged him to stay as a big name and he bargained that he would if they let authors who wanted to drop out go ahead and drop out, making a change in the rules towards legitimacy. So with Scalzi voters being counted and getting Scalzi noms, he’d been a regular vote getter, even though he was squeezed out in Year 3 and 4. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise that he got a new nomination in SF with the end book in his latest trilogy. None of the other nominees in that category were as big as him in name except Margaret Atwood, who isn’t a regular SFF writer, so in that particular field, his winning isn’t a sudden thing, but it does mean trends of Year 4 did not continue.

    In Fantasy, the winner, Erin Morgenstern, has a gay protagonist and it’s the kind of book the Puppies hate overall. The field was filled with authors the Puppies regard as academic elitist SJW cabalists, except perhaps for Brent Weeks, who I don’t think they’d even qualify as a libertarian though I don’t know his politics. In Military SFF, they had essentially still a win with Nick Cole’s co-authored work, so it will be interesting to see what happens next year in that category. In Alternate History, D.J. Butler, who had a nomination for this series in Year 1, won the award. That’s probably okay with the Puppies, as he’s a Baen author, though I don’t know if he is Puppy-friendly, libertarian, etc. In YA/Middle Grade, Bella Forrest won, which shows that the outside self-pub contigent is still able to bring in voting blocks and this year mostly was not facing down big name license published authors that soon overwhelmed the Puppies in this category. In Horror, the Wombat, loosely considered part of the SJW cabal who supposedly rigged the Hugos, won the category, huzzah. None of the other nominees live in Puppy territory. The Puppies haven’t ever pressed too much about the other media and film/t.v. awards past Year 1. Star Wars was not unseated, etc., and most of the choices are big name properties well known to large groups of fans.

    I haven’t heard much about the online ceremony, but lots of authors were doing the congrats to the winners and all the nominees/my fellow nominees thing on the Web, and while that hasn’t been fully absent from past years of the Dragons, there was a lot more of it this year/weekend. Which means that with five years under its belt, the Dragons are being accepted as an established award of DragonCon by authors. Even if it hasn’t quite reached legitimacy in operation, there is now mass pressure on the awards to fix that and keep attracting a wider range of popular authors and, importantly, their participation in the awards. And that means more media coverage, which means more awareness of the awards by DragonCon attendees, etc., and now it is much more unlikely that DragonCon will pull the plug. There are still plenty of issues — will they ever get their website together, which probably did reduce some vote turnout this year, etc. — but there’s a lot of momentum now. There is no way for Puppies to reclaim their clubhouse, even if they occasionally get a nomination or win. The big selling self-pub authors look like they may continue to be a force in the awards with big voting blocks, which is not necessarily a bad thing in a popular vote award with wide participation. So the next several years may not be as dramatically interesting but will probably be focused on increased legitimacy/reliance on vote count.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops, I read a line wrong/forgot. Scalzi declined his nomination the first year, and thus did not win Military SFF, David Weber did. I guess that was part of the admin’s Year 2 freak out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cooper! My favorite on The Walking Dead. That cost some money. Again, more pressure/DragonCon shaping to move the awards forward to more legitimacy as the con’s established lit/media awards.


    2. ///The field was filled with authors the Puppies regard as academic elitist SJW cabalists, except perhaps for Brent Weeks, who I don’t think they’d even qualify as a libertarian though I don’t know his politics.///

      I took a look at his website when the finalists were announced. He’s studiously non-political there, although he states, without further elaboration, that he graduated from Hillsdale College—an explicitly right wing institution that makes a big deal out the fact that they refuse any and all federal funding.

      So, I imagine I disagree with him about pretty much everything, but he passes the “not known to me to be a humongous asshole” test so I’m not ruling out reading him at some point.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. The puppies are celebrating D.J. Butler’s win, probably because he’s a Baen author, though I’ve never heard anything about his political views one way or another. But then I’m only aware of the existence of D.J. Butler, because he keeps getting nominated for Dragon Awards.

      Interestingly, I have also seen some puppy support for Bella Forrest. Not because she’s a political fellow traveller or writes anything they remotely care for, but because she’s a popular self-published author (rumoured to be really a ghostwriting content farm for ages) with a huge following. And since the puppies have fully bought into the traditional vs. indie publishing rhetoric of approx. five years ago by now, they seem to feel obliged to embrace every self-published author, especially if those self-published authors have the success that eludes them.

      Nick Cole is also the one puppy affiliated author who has fans beyond the puppy bubble and his Galaxy’s Edge series with Jason Anspach appeals to the military SF readership on Kindle Unlimited, which leans conservative politically, but doesn’t give a damn about pretentious religious blather, but just wants pew pew.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The indie versus big houses was the fallback position of the Puppies and the complete opposite of what they started out with as their rationale for starting the Sad Puppies around Larry C., which was that conservative/libertarian authors were the truly popular, commercial majority of the fandom, and the SJW cabal were unpopular, literary and having to rig the system because out in the real world of a popular online vote they wouldn’t win, concentrating on the short fiction Hugo categories.

        When it was pointed out to them by many that the nominations and winners were bestsellers by commercial publishers, including books by Baen authors (Bujold,) they started having to shift the rationale and became a lot more combative, losing a lot of sympathetic big names. The Puppies fished around through several iterations to find a new rationale. A lot of the authors who attached themselves to the Puppy cause or were used for short fiction entries on the slate were Baen authors or small press/self-pub authors, not particularly well known to most of fandom (plus of course the infamous Chuck Tingle mistake.) And here is where part of Beale’s takeover impacted — he used the Gamergate voters he collected to vote for his small press offerings, forcing both Rabid and Sad Puppy groups to move away from the “we’re the real popular authors who people really care about focus” that Larry C. and John C. Wright had used and making the cause almost entirely about him and what favors he might dole out to conservative/libertarian authors. The litany became that Tor and the other big, popular presses were rigging the Hugo vote for the sake of their SJW authors against the plucky Baen and self-pub/small press conservative authors, who apparently owned/invented all of self-publishing, even though some Puppy authors were published by Tor and other big houses.

        The bigger names on the Puppy roster walked off with Hugo nominations and partly distanced themselves, leaving the Puppy pit to those smaller authors who often relied on self-publishing and so it became more and more of the leftover Puppy brand of bringing down the industry (big publishers) with self-publishing and more friendly houses like Baen. For the first few years of the Dragons, Puppies could vote for big name authors who weren’t part of the Puppies but were Puppy-approved for vaguely to definitely conservative/libertarian views and count those as a win. As the Dragon Awards gets established and spreads out into a wider spread of big name authors, that’s been harder to do, so clinging to the self-published authors who have made some headway and are popular enough to get big enough voting blocks on the Dragons lets them bridge the divide between popular bestselling commercial authors from big commercial houses and plucky indies struggling against the supposed squeeze out of popular, commercial big houses. As we can see, this fits the tendency of conservative/libertarian views to hold two contradictory things to be true at once — SJW’s are both weak and powerful at the same time, the conservatives rule the majority but are also persecuted at the same time, Scalzi is a big bestseller with a large multi-year book deal and a t.v. series in development plus an army of minions and also completely a failure as an author who for some reason Tor/Macmillan keeps spending a fortune to prop up, etc. And the Puppies are both the only really popular, mega-selling authors and also the plucky indies struggling against the system at the same time.

        They are going to have quite a psychological dance to do about the Dragons in the years to come, assuming DragonCon keeps doing them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. @Kat G:

        Puppies, like all right-wingers, do not suffer from cognitive dissonance. They can’t even see it when it’s pointed out. They’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

        So any evolution of the Dragons will turn out just exactly how they wanted somehow — either supporting them or giving them something to bitch about.

        Liked by 2 people

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