Dragon Awards 2021

Phew! Glad I got that Debarkle chapter done in time.

The ballot has just landed in my inbox. Looks suspiciously readable…Declan won’t be happy but the MilSF is more your classic Dragon Award. I’ve not crunched the numbers but the gender split looks better. Two Red Wombats? Space Sweepers!

1. Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow
  • Machine by Elizabeth Bear
  • A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
  • Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  • Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • Dead Lies Dreaming by Charles Stross
  • Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips
  • A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
  • The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Gun Runner by Larry Correia, John D. Brown
  • Orders of Battle by Marko Kloos
  • Demon in White by Christopher Ruocchio
  • Fleet Elements by Walter Jon Williams
  • Direct Fire by Rick Partlow
  • Sentenced to War by J.N. Chaney, Jonathan Brazee

5. Best Alternate History Novel

  • Daggers in Darkness by S.M. Stirling
  • The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris
  • Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
  • A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
  • The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 1637: No Peace Beyond The Line by Eric Flint, Charles Gannon

6. Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • MacGyver: Meltdown by Eric Kelley, Lee Zlotoff
  • Penitent by Dan Abnett
  • Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
  • Firefly: Generations by Tim Lebbon
  • Shadows Rising World of Warcraft: Shadowlands by Madeleine Roux
  • Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy by Timothy Zahn

7. Best Horror Novel

  • The Taxidermist’s Lover by Polly Hall
  • The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
  • Synchronicity by Michaelbrent Collings
  • True Story: A Novel by Kate Reed Petty
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

8. Best Comic Book

  • Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett
  • X-Men by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar
  • Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward
  • Once & Future by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora
  • Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
  • Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto

9. Best Graphic Novel

  • Pulp by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips
  • Dracula, Motherf**ker by Alex de Campi, Erica Henderson
  • The Book Tour by Andi Watson
  • The Green Lantern Season Two by Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp
  • The Magicians: New Class by Lev Grossman, Lilah Sturges,
  • Pius Bak The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Shadow & Bone, Netflix
  • The Expanse, Amazon
  • WandaVision, Disney+
  • Star Trek: Discovery, Paramount+
  • The Nevers, HBO
  • Resident Alien, SYFY
  • Loki, Disney+

11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Tenet by Christopher Nolan
  • Justice League by Zack Snyder
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music by Dean Parisot
  • Space Sweepers by Sung-hee Jo
  • Godzilla vs Kong by Adam Wingard
  • The Old Guard by Gina Prince-Bythewood
  • Wonder Woman 1984 by Patty Jenkins

12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Ubisoft
  • Star Wars: Squadrons, Electronic Arts
  • Hades, Supergiant Games
  • Ghost of Tsushima, Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Crusader Kings III, Paradox Interactive
  • Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt

13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • South of the Circle, State of Play Games
  • Genshin Impact, miHoYo
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, Ustwo & Plug in Digital
  • Empire of Sin, Paradox Interactive
  • Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells, Zynga
  • Orwell’s Animal Farm, The Dairymen Ltd.

14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Pandemc: Legacy Season 0, Z-Man Games
  • Sleeping Gods, Red Raven Games
  • Dune: Imperium, Dire Wolf Games
  • Curious Cargo, Capstone Games
  • Oceans, North Star Games
  • Marvel United, CMON Games

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

  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Soulbound Role-Playing Game, Cubicle 7
  • Magic: The Gathering, Zendikar Rising, Wizards of the Coast
  • Pokemon TCG: Champion’s Path Elite Trainer Box, Pokemon Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic: The Gathering, Strixhaven: School of Mages, Wizards of the Coast
  • Cyberpunk RED, R. Talsorian Games

71 responses to “Dragon Awards 2021”

  1. I’d say half of the SF, Fantasy, and Alt History novels are deserving of an award. Apart from the WJW novel, the MilSF category looks like it needs to be renamed “Best Gun Porn SF or Fantasy Novel”.

    I’m planning a night of drinking sweet, sweet Puppy Tears later this week. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I mean the boardgames are just “Best boardgames” at this point. Pandemic Legacy has Cold War Spy them, but OK, you could see that as genre adjacent, since its a prequel to the SF ones.

    Curious Cargo is an abstract puzzle, with the theme of laying pipes (ahm, not a euphimism)

    Ocean is a scientific game about evolution, so it might seen as Fantasy in the conservative parts of the US…

    So yeah half of the nominees fit the description.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Azul and Photosynthesis were both nominated in 2018, and neither of those had any SF/Fantasy elements either. Some of the Deep Cards in Oceans aren’t realistic, like Gargantuan or Cthulhu Leech, so it has least a little genre flavor. I guess it’s like the Hugos: if the voters selected it, it’s automatically deemed to be genre.


  3. Has Ernest Cline really added “Project” to his surname or is that a typo?

    Otherwise, the Dragon Awards of course have to release their 2021 finalists when I have no time to deal with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Black Sun is fantasy. Like very fantasy. Like not even a little science fiction. To be a little fair, when I saw the cover, I thought it was going to be a sci-fi book, but once I read the synopsis I figured it out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, and I see they followed the Hugo Award’s error of calling A Deadly Education YA despite it being published by an Adult imprint.


      • Ron Payne: I see they followed the Hugo Award’s error of calling A Deadly Education YA despite it being published by an Adult imprint.

        It’s not an error. Imprint is irrelevant. I’ve read A Deadly Education, and it is very definitely YA.

        A lot of genre books are published under non-genre imprints. It would be foolish to try to determine award eligibility and category based on imprint.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Young Adult is a marketing category, not a genre, and it’s not an opinion-based metric. The to tell whether or not a book is Young Adult is if the publisher is marketing it as Young Adult.


          • “Young Adult” is one label that’s used to describe two different things: a marketing category, and a type of fiction.

            Marketing categories are arbitrary, and irrelevant to awards.

            Types of fiction are determined by readers and award nominators, according to their own judgment.

            No publisher or marketer – or author, for that matter – gets to dictate to readers and award nominators what they perceive a book’s fiction type and category to be.

            I mean, sure, they are free to try to dictate to readers and award nominators what they perceive a book’s fiction type and category to be – and readers and award nominators are free to tell them to f*** off.

            Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that is a really odd entry and I think it is evidence of list curation rather than simple popular vote. I don’t doubt that people voted for it given its popularity in other awards but I do doubt many people listed it under Best Science Fiction who had read the book and had “best fantasy” as a categoy available to them.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I assume it won’t be too long before he weighs in. He’s basically been writing the same column for months now, so all he has to do is find and replace X with 2021 Demonic Dragon Awards, where X is How Disney is using Captain America to turn You against God, or something.

        Liked by 2 people

        • It’s all the fault of the Pop Cult a.k.a. the Death Cult who use Gen Y nostalgia to turn people against ultra far right Catholicism, don’t you know?


          • I think in his weird little mind the two cults are two distinct entities– not that any of it makes any sense. That quibble aside, you have just written his next column!


          • Indeed. The key moments of history from Niemeier’s perspective is Emperor Constantine converting to Christianity up to Thomas Aquinas writing Summa Theologiae being the main good times, lacking only in one regard: insufficient anime. Then things get bad with a. the Protestant Reformation b. the Enlightenment c. Vatcian II & Pope John 23rd (which all sort of happened at once) and then a last gasp of Western civilisation during his teenage years in which the books, films, music, comic books, games & (most importantly) anime were produced that were all good but which then all stopped being good in the mid 1990s, presumably due to Vatican II and demons and feminism or something.

            If somebody could work on fabricating a fake late 80s anime which will appear to be a Gundam series featuring a team of Japanese teens who are all Scholastic philosophers punching demons that look like Martin Luther, then I think we could make Brian happy.

            Liked by 4 people

            • Ha ha ha! Truly excellent! You have really captured his worldview.

              Maybe this anime simulacrum would finally make him happy again and he would leave the rest of us alone.

              Liked by 3 people

            • “but which then all stopped being good in the mid 1990s, presumably due to Vatican II and demons and feminism or something”

              Most likely, they just stopped being good, because Brian grew up and everything that had seemed fresh and new a few years before suddenly no longer seemed quite so fresh and new.


            • “If somebody could work on fabricating a fake late 80s anime which will appear to be a Gundam series featuring a team of Japanese teens who are all Scholastic philosophers punching demons that look like Martin Luther, then I think we could make Brian happy.”

              Clippy: It sounds like you’re writing Neon Genesis Evangelion. Would you like some help? (well okay they’re punching angels and they don’t look like Martin Luther but still.)

              Liked by 4 people

  5. The griping begins:




    I doubt there’ll be as much rage this year, though. Most of the novel categories have at least one author they’re generally cool with (Butcher, Weir etc) so I imagine they’ll go back to their usual stance of hailing the Dragons as the most prestigious honour in SFF while dismissing the bulk of the finalists as undeserving trash.

    Liked by 4 people

      • I alternate between feeling angry that people like Finn, who are so profoundly limited in their experience and enjoyment of genre fiction, have set themselves up as arbiters of The Good, and sad that people like Finn are missing out on how much genre fiction has to offer these days.

        In other words, Finn, you don’t know what you’re talking about, I wish you and your ilk would stop telling other people what to do, and you are very much depriving yourself of some excellent stories. Go finish reading Immortal Hulk. You’ll feel better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s quite stunning, really, how Finn proudly brandishes his ignorance about the current state of SFF, as if he thinks not knowing jackshit about the genre today is something to brag about. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Puppies never connected Kingfisher with Red Wombat, so never put the effort into discovering some reason why they need to regard her books as terrible, so they like her books because they are good.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I don’t think she’s ever tried to hide that she’s Kingfisher. In fact I’m sure on Twitter her name is Kingfisher & Wombat, and posts quite publicly about both her Vernon and Kingfisher works.

          Just pointing out how incredibly obvious it is that she’s Kingfisher. For reasons.

          Liked by 2 people

          • True and she was cited as an example of somebody who missed out in 2015 and she won an Alfie but the Puppies didn’t really ever make the connection for some reason.


          • Ursula Vernon = T. Kingfisher is that obvious. “Red Wombat” isn’t any sort of secret, but someone who never looked at her art sales page might not think of it.

            Such a person — which is most people — might see “Kingfisher and Wombat” and think that “Wombat” is for the Ursula Vernon books, and maybe think of Digger of Unnecessarily Convoluted Tunnels, but not the “Red Wombat” handle on File770.

            Given the Puppies’ tendency to conspiracy theories, it’s probably a good sign that they aren’t connecting dots all over the map.

            Liked by 3 people

  6. Oor Wombat FTW, I hope.

    I think I’m going to have to dig up my email just for her and for WJW. And WandaVision. I mean, I lurved Loki as much as the next person, but it didn’t affect me so deeply in the feels.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Somewhat related to the thread about Witchfinder Brian that I started but can no longer respond to: in his latest column he has dropped all pretense and gone full Christofascist/ethno-nationalist. I’m sure nobody here will be surprised, but it was something to see it all in one place.

    Liked by 1 person

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