Dragon Award 2022 Finalists

File 770 has the list. https://file770.com/2022-dragon-awards-ballot/

So, I’m surprised Eric Flint isn’t a finalist although the alt-history series he started gets a nod. No Larry Correia in Best Fantasy, is less of a surprise as he’d probably turn down the nomination based on past statements. However, I’m more surprised that the Correia/Diamond Servants of War didn’t get a spot.

Best Science Fiction looks good. Nice to see Cat Rambo get recognition. Is The Kaiju Preservation Society any good? I had the impression it was more of a light Scalzi-having-a-bit-of-fun sort of thing?

No Baen in the ballot until we get to MilSF and alt-history which is interesting.

Horror looks like it has horror books in it, which may explain why Servants of War isn’t there.

Wailing/gnashing of teeth rating from Declan Finn? I’m predicting very high.

1. Best Science Fiction Novel
Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Goliath: A Novel by Tochi Onyebuchi
You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo
Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham
Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Book of Night by Holly Black
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor
A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
The Shattered Skies by John Birmingham
A Call to Insurrection by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Thomas Pope
Citadel by Marko Kloos
Backyard Starship by J.N. Chaney, Terry Maggert
Against All Odds by Jeffery H. Haskell
Resolute by Jack Campbell

5. Best Alternate History Novel
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Invisible Sun by Charles Stross
The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley by Mercedes Lackey
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
The King’s Daughter by Vonda N. McIntyre
1637: Dr. Gribbleflotz and the Soul of Stoner by Kerryn Offord, Rick Boatright

6. Best Media Tie-In Novel
Star Wars: The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray
Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil by Timothy Zahn
Star Trek: Coda: Oblivion’s Gate by David Mack
Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller
Halo: Divine Wind by Troy Denning

7. Best Horror Novel
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Hide by Kiersten White
Revelatory by Daryl Gregory

8. Best Comic Book
Devil’s Reign by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto
King Conan by Jason Aaron, Mahmud Asrar
Immortal X-Men by Kieron Gillen, Mark Brooks
Step by Bloody Step by Simon Spurrier, Matías Bergara
Twig by Skottie Young, Kyle Strahm
Nightwing by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo

9. Best Graphic Novel
Geiger by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank
Bitter Root Volume 3 by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene, Sofie Dodgson
Dune: House Atreides Volume 2 by Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Dev Pramanik
Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phil Jimenez
Monstress, Volume 6: The Vow by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
Stranger Things, Netflix
The Expanse, Amazon
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Paramount+
Wheel of Time, Amazon
For All Mankind, Apple TV+
Halo, Paramount+
The Boys, Amazon

11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Dune by Denis Villeneuve
Spider-Man: No Way Home by Jon Watts
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness by Sam Raimi
Ghostbusters: Afterlife by Jason Reitman
The Adam Project by Shawn Levy
Free Guy by Shawn Levy

12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
Elden Ring, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Metroid Dread, Nintendo
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Bungie
Age of Empires IV, Xbox Game Studios
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, Frontier Foundry
Lost Ark, Amazon Games

13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
Diablo Immortal, Blizzard
Pokémon UNITE, The Pokémon Company
Baba Is You, Hempuli
Townscaper, Oskar Stålberg
Alien: Isolation, Sega
World of Demons, PlatinumGames

14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
Ark Nova, Capstone Games
Cascadia, Alderac Entertainment Group
Return to Dark Tower, Restoration Games
7 Wonders Architects, Asmodee
Alien: Fate of the Nostromo, Ravensburger
Star Wars Outer Rim: Unfinished Business, Fantasy Flight Games

15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
The One Ring, Second Edition, Free League Publishing
Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Evil Hat Productions
Root: The RPG, Magpie Games
Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, Wizards of the Coast
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Revised Core Set, Fantasy Flight Games
Magic: The Gathering, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Wizards of the Coast

51 responses to “Dragon Award 2022 Finalists”

  1. Backyard Starship by J.N. Chaney, Terry Maggert: entirely new to me, and I see from ISFDB that they’ve published a daunting number of books in recent years.


  2. I liked the Kaiju Preservation Society. It makes an attempt at making kaiju scientifically plausible while calling out a lot of the things that make them not, but also not letting any of that get in the way of having fun with the premise. It also does the same thing with the main character that he did with Lock In by not specifying their gender.

    You Sexy Thing was ok. A bit all over the place, but it played with an interesting setting in an odd way with a crack military outfit leaving there previous role to run a restaurant. And then hijinks ensue.

    And I agree with redpandafaction. The novels in Fantasy, SF and YA wouldn’t look out of place on Hugo and Nebula lists.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I notice that the Board Game category includes Ark Nova. I’ve played Ark Nova several times now and while it’s a very good game I can think of nothing at all that would make it the best science fiction or fantasy board game — it’s about building and managing a zoo, and is quite firmly grounded in the real world. (I haven’t played Cascadia but from what I’ve heard about it, it doesn’t have any fantastic element either.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The important thing is Oor Wombat being in there!

    A DC ballot with Scalzi but without Larry makes me want some of the former’s famous Schadenfreude Pie. I hope John and family are having one soon. I only read the sample of Kaiju Preservation Society, but I quite liked it.

    Declan, Opener of Doors (the guy, not Cora’s story) is definitely going to be having a frothing fit of madness. Why, there’s “Thirsty Sword Lesbians” right there! I don’t pay any attentions to figure/RPG/card games, and even I’ve heard of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The moaning begins!

    Liked by 1 person

        • I happened to look up the Facebook announcement of the Dragon Awards, and lo and behold, Mr. Tinney was voicing his concerns there as well:

          “Just a quick question, has the voting method, nominating criteria, weight given to nominating votes, tally method, sourcing, or anything else changed in the last few years? Rumors abound. Or, more especially, Scalzi bragged that he had a conversation with you after he crapped all over the award (saying he wouldn’t accept it) and strongly implied he was able to institute a methodology change to nominations more to his liking.”

          Anyone know what Scalzi comment he’s on about here?


          • Scalzi said he’s been talked back into taking part and the Dragon’s accepted that they should check with finalists first to see if they were OK with taking part but I’m going off memory. I love that NOW they want to know how the Dragon Awards work.


            • In 2017, he first withdrew
              and then changed his mind after talking to the administrators.
              “the folks at the Dragon Awards suggested they were willing to put in some work to listen and learn, and the honoring of Ms. Littlewood’s withdrawal request and their commitment to rethink aspects of their process was a good first step. Enough that I was willing to reconsider withdrawing from the ballot.”

              I don’t think Tinney’s interpretation is completely off the mark, Scalzi did say that the administrators would adjust the process to something “more to his liking”. However
              a. It’s unclear if the changes applies to the actual selection of finalists, or only other parts of the process – like how they tell authors they’re finalists and allowing them to withdraw.
              b. It’s unclear if the changes where urged by Scalzi or if the award admins would have done something similar on their own regardless.
              c. Tinney’s implication that it was better before this is, well, unfounded.


              • I am pretty sure from content, that the chance was only a reference where only re telling writers (I am unsure if that happens today) and withdrawing.
                From what we know there hasn’t been a chance in the method of the selection of the finalists, at last oficial.
                The reasons why some writers withdrew are just no longer there. A Dragon Awardnomination was often an invite to trouble and in the first few years not really an honour.
                This year, it is a strong set of finalists. The times have chanced.

                Liked by 1 person

            • No, Scalzi did not ask for nor get them to change the voting set-up. It’s entirely likely that he suggested they consider not doing a sweepstakes model, because lots of people told them that the sweepstakes model should be scrapped because it’s illegitimate. As we know, it has not been scrapped, though how much or how little the award administrator considers the actual votes we’ve never known for sure.

              Three authors wanted their nominations removed from the early Dragons — Littlewood, Jemisin and Scalzi. Littlewood’s reasons I don’t think are known, Jemisin’s were obvious because of the Puppies and Scalzi thought that A) him being involved in what the Puppies considered their award would cause more grief he didn’t feel like dealing with and B) his withdrawing would give other newer authors a chance to win the new awards. Littlewood wasn’t as big a name and so the administrator threw a fit at her, saying she couldn’t withdraw and very much did not want Scalzi to withdraw. So Scalzi made a deal that he wouldn’t withdraw if they let Littlewood and Jemisin withdraw, noted the withdraw officially and thereafter did not hold authors to nominations against their will. (Holding people to lists against their will is a Puppy specialty.)

              So yeah, he did enact a procedural change, but it had nothing to do with the voting, but instead talking them into a procedure that is standard in every other award. The claim that Scalzi somehow got the voting changed is the usual claim that he (and Tor) are magically manipulating everything to cheat and that’s why things are not turning out as they want. Thanks to Beale, he’s their George Soros.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the thing about the Dragon Awards is, that despite it’s origins as a puppy award release valve, what it has primarily become is an award decided by Dragon Con attendees, who are largely just SFF fans from the greater Atlanta area who share similar tastes to SFF fans from around the world. I think at this point we should all stop pointing and laughing and just say that con gives a pretty nice award, even if their rules are a little obscure and the results lack transparency.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kaiju Preservation Society makes perfect sense for this kind of award, because yes it is just Scalzi being light and having fun, but doing so in a way that is actually very similar to some of Larry Correia’s early stuff in particular — quippy adventure stuff with problem-solving and things blowing up and so on.
    For anyone who *genuinely* doesn’t care about political messages, explicit or implicit, in the book they’re reading, but likes that sort of adventure story, I can easily see them liking both that and Correia’s early Monster Hunter books for precisely the same reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I do think “Jimmy Corey” will win that category. It’s the finale of a very entertaining and successful series that spawned a TV show (ditto) and has also done well in the Hugos. The guys seemed very nice to me the one weekend I hung out with them.

    I’m one of those flaming libral gurlz and If I bother to vote, I’m probably going to vote for it. (I haven’t read the Rambo and won’t have the money to get it, but I usually love their work.)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ok, so as we know, the administrator of the Dragon Awards gets to decide who the final nominees are and who then wins the award, under the rules of the award. The administrator is supposed to at least use the votes as guidance on those selections, but since there is still no transparency of actual votes, nobody knows how much the votes count. Votes are supposed to be limited to one per email, but the system is of course perfectly easy to game if someone wants to organize voting blocks. Additionally, the administrator has not apparently had much interest in providing up to date information and publicity, making it hard for people to know about the awards, nominate people and vote for the awards. So the Dragon Awards have not been able to be fully legitimate awards.

    Early on, with a Puppy-pal administrator and little oversight, the Puppies swarmed the voting, resulting in a lot of noms, wins for their contingent and including some big names they found ideologically acceptable. But there was clearly also pressure coming from the con-runners of DragonCon to make the awards respectable and occasional media scrutiny, which led the administrator to nominate several “evil SJW” authors the Puppies disliked in the second year and then refuse to let them withdraw their nominations until Scalzi made a deal to get them to change the policy.

    After that, it was clear that DragonCon was putting more pressure on the administrator and started publicizing the awards a bit more at the convention. And the Red Panda Faction, getting the word out on the awards to DragonCon attendees, also had an effect, alerting younger, less conservative voters to join the party. As the awards have gone on and gotten more established as at least a nominal part of DragonCon, regular authors have been more willing to publicize the awards, participate in the banquet, etc., especially this year.

    So the fun times with the Dragon Awards has been seeing how much ground the Puppies could hold each year against those they considered evil SJWs through the administrator and how quickly the awards moved toward a more mainstream and legitimate set of awards due to pressures from DragonCon’s conrunners and other sources. What we know is that the administrator still gets to pick, making it not quite a real award, but that the voting has become more wide and is probably considered more in the decisions. In the most recent years, the Puppy/conservative-libertarian roster has been concentrated on some of the book categories but increasingly not all of them, indicating that they had decided some categories were less important to rally votes for, mainly YA/Middle Grade and Horror. (Or that the administrator had decided to let those categories run on the popular vote with less conservative-libertarian bias in his decisions there. We’ll never know for sure.)

    This year, we can see that this trend continues — there do not seem to be any real Puppy-favored nominees in YA/Middle Grade and Horror. Nnedi Okorafor, whom the Puppies demonized, and Chuck Wendig, considered a Scalzi-like white man betrayer, both have nominations in those categories. But what we can also see this year is that the big SF and Fantasy categories, which have been gathering a wider spectrum of big names, are now almost fully filled with the type of authors and books the Puppies accused of destroying the Hugos, including of course Scalzi but he’s been nominated before. The advantage they used to have in those categories seems to be gone, at least for this year.

    In Military SF and Alternate History, two categories still close to conservative hearts, we are still seeing some nominees who are perhaps bolstered by that voting demographic. In Military SF, the partnership of Weber, Zahn and Pope shows that the partnership of Puppies and Baen Books still bears fruit for the big names. And J.N. Chaney seems to be Puppy-friendly on the more indie side of things. In Alternate History, Baen scored a nomination for an entry in one of Eric Flint’s collaborative series. Flint was of course the counter socialist of Baen’s list but was still respected by some of the Puppies and their cohort, so that nomination could possibly have been given a boost from those voters, especially in light of his recent passing.

    So there’s a little there still. But we also continue to see the kind of names in those categories that Puppies decried as degenerative and fake — socialist Charlie Stross, Marko Kloos who turned down the Puppies’ largesse, feminist and queer writers, including Vonda McIntyre, feminist icon of counterculture SFF. If the trend continues, Alternate History will likely become further “diverse.” So the Dragon Awards seem to have completed their youthful years and headed into full adulthood as a regular convention award. But…

    We still have the sweepstakes rules that give the administrator the deciding power. The awards still require a good bit of effort from folks to follow the voting regulations and vote and the publicizing of them is still abysmal. And we still don’t get broken-down voter data to see that votes actually match nominees and winners. This has led this year to McIntyre’s posthumous nomination for a work that was published in the 1990’s and should not have qualified on the ballot. I mean, it’s kind of a media tie-in work as it’s the tie-in edition of the novel to go with the film adaptation out this year, but even that would not usually be considered legitimate. The administrator should have, under the Dragon Awards’ own rules, disqualified it, but that it stands is the epitome of the Dragon Awards still being in transition. So it’s still not quite a real award. But it’s pretending very hard to be like a real award and give more people more chances, and more people are treating it like a real award. So in a few more years, it may fully resolve into that with policy changes. My prediction was ten years, not quite there yet.

    But it does seem as if the Puppy dream of having a set of libertarian-conservative awards from a major convention that they could declare the super popular non-woke award is pretty much over. Even the Media Tie-In Fiction category is filled with woke Star Wars and Star Trek entries (albeit one from Zahn.) And they don’t have much luck in the comics or non-book categories either. So this year’s nominations show the continuing trends we’ve been viewing the past few years. If the Puppy friendly contingent is still voting in numbers, it doesn’t seem to be working, and there are indications that they’ve moved on.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I believe our pals the Red Pandas are a “fraction”, not a faction.

      Puppies can’t be bothered to do any real work, which is why their sweepstakes awards don’t get much traction.

      None of them are willing to put in the hours to start up an award of their own, which they could administer however they wanted. Several of the Sads don’t seem to be working for publishers any more (not even Baen), so they have the free time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I initially gave the Red Pandas some flak about first their name choice (fears of continual animal named groups popping up in book fandom) and then scolding them to notify authors they were putting their names on the rec list because, at that time, the Puppies were still very much pursuing their violent political campaign with Gamergaters still bouncing around. But I think I was too hard on them. They proved to be a highly effective effort to put out the word about the award to the actual regular attendees of DragonCon (who skew younger, more liberal and more diverse) and to help place cultural pressure on DragonCon conrunners to get the awards legitimatized and votes actually counted. I’m not sure that the transition of the awards would have developed at the rate that it has if they hadn’t gotten out there and shone the light, so good on them.

        But the question is whether they’ve had a change of administrator — they won’t be a legitimate award without that very easily. And then they have to change the rules to more regular award rules for popular vote awards, with transparency, proper con publicity and standardization. But as more authors treat the award as legitimate and desirable, now that it is no longer a Puppy vanity project tolerated by DragonCon but more seen as a namesake award of DragonCon, that might happen fairly quickly. Or not — that’s the big question we’ve been watching on for seven (my goodness) years. DragonCon conrunners still haven’t bothered to really step up and fix the awards that have their name on them, as one might have expected after the five year mark. But, prospects are good and the authors this year should enjoy their noms and awards.

        As for the Puppies, they were given so many opportunities over the years to get some of what they wanted and they woofed every one of them (for which I am grateful.) I’m sure that’s not how they remember it, but it has been astonishing watching them petulantly temper tantrum their way through the field and having Camestros document some of it. Even so, the main ethos of the Puppies still runs our societies, the publishing industry and SFF fandom. Cultural pressure, relentlessly holding up facts, is changing it, but very slowly. So yeah, the Puppies could create all kinds of awards and probably find other conventions to host/sponsor them. But not as many as eight years ago perhaps. At the least, the Dragon Awards helped draw the Puppies and their cohorts away from their campaign to harm WorldCon and bust up the Hugos, threatening them with Gamergaters. And now it’s another opportunity for all authors to get fan recognition and public attention, which is sorely needed these days.

        Liked by 1 person

            • I am easily swayed so I dropped LibertyCon into the twitter search bar. Turns out they’re declining to offer the Mises Caucus space, which is an interesting development. Well, unless it’s old news, in which case it was an interesting development.


              • Seeing as how it’s now the leadership of the Party, and is the Ron Paul wing, I am doubly puzzled. It’s the RWNJ wing of the libertarians, all in for Q and Cheeto Benito, which… yikes.


            • Yeah, that is certainly part of it. Winning at a conservative convention doesn’t let you “beat” the evil SJW’s out of an award. And it doesn’t lend support to the claim that your ideology is the most popular and widespread (at least in the U.S.) and righteously good against other supposed ideologies while also not really being political somehow.

              I also think that they’d be dealing with a lot of competing factions at such a convention — more conflict and effort than they would like maybe. But it would certainly be a good plan for them as they would be marketing directly to the people they are always marketing to anyways, people who really appreciate them.

              But DragonCon has a lot of status in fandom, so when they got the opportunity to set awards up there, I think they were hoping they could hold on to it longer than they managed. And I think some of them will benefit from it for years longer with the Dragons. But it will be the biggest names like Weber mostly.

              Liked by 2 people

          • I think you’re onto something. Looking at 2023’s LibertyCon, it is full of Puppy, and Puppy-Adjacent guests lined up. They could even called the “Freedom Awards” or something. Such a low-hanging fruit.

            Liked by 1 person

          • That is a good question. Obviously, they do manage to put on a con every year, so they’ve got a volunteer base. It should be easy to recruit a data wonk to run the thing — and come up with rules that don’t say “sweepstakes” and don’t let every rando with multiple email addresses stack the voting. Let just the LC members nominate and vote, find someone who can do art to come up with the physical award (probably the Statue of, minus the poem on the inside of the base that encourages immigration and was written by a Socialist woman).


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