Category: Dragon Awards

Dragon Award Finalists: A Preemptive ‘No Award’ for Rabid Puppies?

Very interesting. Bad news for the more obvious slates and bad news specifically for the Rabid Puppies who appear to have reached the final inevitable stage of hydrophobia as a campaign. Some obviously popular stuff but also some relatively obscure works and authors.

There are some odd results. Chris Kennedy is the most interesting person on this list. Four hits and two misses in total for works he promoted. The hits include two in the headline categories of Best Science Fiction (as an author) and one in Best Fantasy.

My crystal ball not only didn’t do a good job of predicting finalists it also got whole categories wrong in strange places. Notably:

  • Michael Anderle, Craig Martelle – Nomad’s Galaxy, didn’t get a nod in Best SF but a different book by the same authors did in Best MilSF (which is a very crowded category for the Dragons). I assume I missed a post where they promoted that one?
  • Robert Kroese’s Vikings with a spaceship story Dream Of The Iron Dragon got a fair bit of promotion for Best SF but is actually a finalist in Best Alternate History. I assume the admins rejig votes across categories which would be the fair thing to do but as always, it’s not clear if that is done or no. With lots of works being arguably eligible in multiple categories it would also create some dilemmas for admins.

In books/comics, the only work on the Rabid Puppies slate to get a nod is Before the Storm by Christie Golden, which isn’t associated with VD or Castalia in any way. Likewise, Happy Frogs was a complete bust in books and comics. I can see two basic hypotheses:

  • Neither slate had enough votes. Not implausible but it isn’t like all the categories are only full of hyper-popular stuff.
  • Votes were disallowed. Not implausible but I’d have thought somebody would have raised a stink if they suspected that.

Who knows? Aside from the admins, nobody.

I’m really surprised that Nick Cole and Jason Anspach’s Galaxy’s Edge series didn’t get a nod somewhere. The books have had a lot of hype in the wider Puppysphere and have cross-factional love amid rightwing SF circles, as well as an active fanbase. Possibly, voters were unclear about which volume was eligible?

Who declined a nomination? One pseudonymous person has said they did. Larry Correia may have or maybe his fans knew that he would decline so voted for other things. Others, presumably did but who knows?

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • It Takes Death to Reach a Star by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones
  • Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
  • The Mutineer’s Daughter by Chris Kennedy and Thomas A. Mays: Projected Chris Kennedy
  • Win by Vera Nazarian
  • Sins of Her Father by Mike Kupari: Semi-projected [Late promotion] Larry Correia
  • Artemis by Andy Weir

Not finalists:

  • John C. Wright – Superluminary: The Lords of Creation NOT A FINALIST  Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Robert Kroese – Dream Of The Iron Dragon [DIFFERENT CATEGORY] [see below]
  • Richard Fox, Josh Hayes – Terra Nova NOT A FINALIST Josh Hayes, Richard Fox
  • Kal Spriggs – Prisoner of the Mind NOT A FINALIST Kal Spriggs
  • Michael Anderle, Craig Martelle – Nomad’s Galaxy NOT A FINALIST  Craig Martelle (Price of Freedom by same authors is a finalist in Best MilSF)

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • Shoot the Messenger by Pippa DaCosta
  • War Hammer by Shayne Silvers: Projected Shayne Silvers Den of Freaks’ fan group
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Land: Predators by Aleron Kong
  • The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston
  • A Tempered Warrior by Jon R. Osborne: Projected Chris Kennedy

Not finalists

  • John C. Wright – Tithe to Tartarus NOT A FINALIST  Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Lindsay Buroker – Dragon Storm NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs
  • Russell Newquist – War Demons NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs
  • Larry Correia – Monster Hunter Siege NOT A FINALIST  Kal Spriggs
  • Max Floschutz – Shadow of an Empire NOT A FINALIST  Max Floschutz
  • Christy Nicholas – Call Of The Morrigú NOT A FINALIST  Christy Jackson Nicholas
  • L. James Rice – Eve of Snows (Sundering the Gods Book 1) NOT A FINALIST  L. James Rice
  • Rob Hobart – The Sword of Amatsu (Empire of the Sun and Moon Book 1) NOT A FINALIST Rob Hobart

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Cold Bath Street by A.J. Hartley
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  • When Tinker Met Bell by Alethea Kontis
  • Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Not finalists

  • Rod Walker – Young Man’s War NOT A FINALIST Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Keira Drake – The Continent NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs
  • L.Jagi Lamplighter – The Awful Truth About Forgetting NOT A FINALIST Declan Finn
  • Jason Cordova – Devastator NOT A FINALIST Chris Kennedy
  • Kal Spriggs – Valor’s Calling NOT A FINALIST Kal Spriggs
  • Kal Spriggs – Valor’s Duty NOT A FINALIST Kal Spriggs

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Communications Failure by Joe Zieja
  • Points of Impact by Marko Kloos
  • Ghost Marines: Integration by Jonathan P. Brazee
  • Price of Freedom by Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle [Not projected but a different novel by the same authors was]
  • Legend by Christopher Woods
  • A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn and Thomas Pope

Not finalists

  • G.D. Stark – Wardogs Inc. #1 Battlesuit Bastards NOT A FINALIST Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy – A Fiery Sunset NOT A FINALIST Chris Kennedy
  • Nick Cole, Jason Anspach – Galactic Outlaws (Galaxy’s Edge Book 2) NOT A FINALIST Galaxy’s Edge Fan Club
  • Daniel Humphrey – A Place Called Hope NOT A FINALIST Daniel Humphrey/Declan Finn
  • Richard Fox – The Ibarra Sanction NOT A FINALIST Josh Hayes/Richard Fox
  • Jon Del Arroz – The Stars Entwined NOT A FINALIST  Declan Finn
  • Kal Spriggs – Ghost Star NOT A FINALIST  Kal Spriggs
  • Nick Cole, Jason Anspach – Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge) [possibly not eligible] NOT A FINALIST Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai
  • Peter Grant – An Airless Storm NOT A FINALIST Peter Grant
  • Christopher Woods – Legend (Four Horsemen Tales Book 1)
    NOT A FINALIST Chris Woods

Best Alternate History Novel

  • Dark State by Charles Stross
  • The Sea Peoples by S.M. Stirling
  • Witchy Winter by D.J. Butler
  • Uncharted by Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt Projected High Mad Genius, Kal Spriggs
  • Dream of the Iron Dragon by Robert Kroese [Projected in the wrong category] Happy Frogs, Declan Finn
  • Minds of Men by Kacey Ezell Projected Chris Kennedy

Not finalists

  • Kai Wai Cheah – Hammer of the Witches NOT A FINALIST Very High Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Hans Schantz – A Rambling Wreck NOT A FINALIST Medium Happy Frogs, Declan Finn

Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
  • Before the Storm by Christie Golden: Projected Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
  • Fear Itself by James Swallow
  • Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck
  • Desperate Hours by David Mack

Not a finalist

  • Seanan McGuire – Deadlands: Boneyard NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs (trolling by JDA I assume)

Best Horror Novel

  • Beneath the Lighthouse by Julieanne Lynch
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • A Time to Run by Mark Wandrey Projected Chris Kennedy
  • The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
  • Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry

Not finalists

  • Nate Crowley – The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack NOT A FINALIST  Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Russell Newquist – War Demons NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs/Declan Finn/Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai
  • Declan Finn – Good to the last drop NOT A FINALISTDeclan Finn/Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai

Best Comic Book

  • Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron and James Harren
  • Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
  • Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe
  • Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader by Charles D. Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Not finalists

  • Alt-Hero #2 Rebel’s Cell – Alt-Hero Arkhaven Comics NOT A FINALIST Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Mark Pellegrini/Timothy Lim/Brett R. Smith – My Hero MAGAdemia #1 NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs
  • Kōhei Horikoshi – My Hero Academia Vol. 13 (English translation) NOT A FINALIST Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai
  • Jonathan David Baird – Dark Maiden NOT A FINALIST Very Low Jonathan David Baird

Best Graphic Novel

  • Chicago Typewriter: The Red Ribbon by Brandon Fiadino
  • Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson
  • Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
  • Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu
  • Vision (The Vision) by Tom King
  • Paper Girls Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang

Not finalists

  • Gary Kwapisz – Rebel Dead Revenge Dark Legion Comics NOT A FINALIST  Vox Day/Rabid Puppies
  • Matt Kindt/Tyler Jenkins – Grass Kings Vol 1 NOT A FINALIST Happy Frogs

Why yes, this is another post about the Dragon Awards that doesn’t say very much

As people probably have realised, I was late arriving at SJW Headquarters a few months ago when the grand global conspiracy to ruin everything was giving out assignments. Due to that and my frequent (but comical) clumsiness around our hi-tech SJW spy gadgets, I was given the least popular gig: “Keep an eye on the Dragon Awards, there’s a good fellow.” I was told by George Soros.

Anyway, it might not be the most glamorous task but I’m determined to do it well in the hope that one day HQ will give me a beloved genre franchise from people’s childhood to wreck by giving characters agency or something.

The latest report is this. I got an email saying that the finalists will be announced this upcoming Tuesday (presumably US time). Don’t all get too excited at once.

Thems the rules

“ONLINE VOTING: One (1) vote in each category is allowed per person. The most popular Entries, as determined by number of nomination submissions during the Nomination Period, will be featured on the Website between 9:00 A.M. ET on August 1, 2018 and 11:59 P.M. ET on August 31, 2018 (hereinafter, “Voting Period”). Voting shall occur in a manner as determined by DRAGON CON.”

Currently it is 8:55 pm 1 August 2018 Eastern Time and there’s no sign of the nominees on the website (or their Facebook page). Maybe they just forgot this year. I guess “between” can mean “no earlier than X and no later than Y”?


The Dragon Award Rule Change I Missed

We should see who the finalist are some time tomorrow for the Dragon Awards. In the meantime here is a change I missed.

What’s the minimum length for a novel in the Dragon Awards (not including YA)? Did you say 70 thousand words? Well you have good reasons for saying that. Here’s what the “Process” page says on the website (archived October 2017)

“Qualifying is any book that is at least 70,000 words long, containing a single story (no anthologies), and has been first released in print or ebook format between 7/1/2016 and 6/30/2017 containing and based upon scientific or science and engineering premises or technology.” [CF: My emphasis]

But in November 2017 when the nomination period for the 2018 awards began the text had changed:

“Qualifying is any book that is around 70,000 words long, containing a single story (no anthologies), and has been first released in print or ebook format between 7/1/2017 and 6/30/2018 containing and based upon scientific or science and engineering premises or technology.” [CF: My emphasis]

However, on the nomination form itself (no longer available on the live site because nominations have closed) the older wording was used for the helpful category tip (hover over the question mark).

“Qualifying is any book that is at least 70,000 words long, containing a single story (no anthologies), and has been first released in print or ebook format between 7/1/2017 and 6/30/2018 containing and based upon scientific or science and engineering premises or technology.” [CF: My emphasis]

Now both wordings suggest a size for a novel of 70 thousand words but the difference between “at last” and “around” is a significant one. Under the old rules a 69 thousand word novel doesn’t qualify and on the new rules it might (depending on what “around” means). I think there is also an unintended implication with “around” where a novel substantially longer than 70 thousand does NOT qualify e.g. a 140 thousand word novel is clearly NOT “around 70,000 words”.

For most people nominating works, I doubt this is a major issue as I haven’t seen people paying much attention to word counts in what they nominate. Even so, having two different eligibility criteria on the site is weird, as is an unannounced change.

I’ve sent an email via the contact page to find out.

On the process page the novel length criteria for best SF novel changed from ‘at least 70,000’ words to ‘around 70,000 words’. That looks like a sensible & flexible rule change but the wording on the nomination page didn’t change – it said “at least 70,000′ during this years nomination period.

Is the rule ‘at least’ or ‘around’ 70 thousand words? It’s a small change in wording but has some impact on what is eligible. Also what kind of parameters are you using for “around”?

Lastly, “around 70,000” implies much longer novels are NOT eligible. I assume that was not what was intended? Can you clarify that? Are novels significantly long than 70 thousand words eligible?

Yours curiously,
Camestros Felapton

I guess the other interesting question is whether any works have been deemed ineligible but I’m guessing they won’t tell me that.




Dragon Award Finalists Appearing Bit by Bit

File 770 reports that some nominees for the Dragon Awards have been notified ( ).

“Finalists are not being asked to hold back the news until the release of the final ballot. Here are links to some of the announcements”

Robert Kroese, Mark Wandrey, Chris Kennery, Thomas A Mays, Sarah Hoyt, Kevin Anderson, Shayne Silvers, Jon Osborne, Craig Martelle, were in my set of projections. Dave Butler wasn’t on my set of projections but probably should have been based on past nomination [note to self: previous nominees with an eligible work are obvious future nominees]. Names I’m not familiar with include Vera Nazarian and Aleron Kong.

Aleron Kong seems to have got right to the spirit of the Dragon Awards here:

Hello my wonderful Mist Villagers!
The Land: Predators is a Finalist for Best Fantasy Novel!!!
PLEASE take 60 seconds and sign up! You’ll be sent a confirmation to your email. Click the link and that’s it! 🙂
If you comment that you voted, you’re entered to win signed copies of The Land!
Extra points if you post a screen shot of you registering!
Extra EXTRA points if you post a screen shot of you voting when the ballots come!
Even more points if you tag a friend in the comments!

[That’s not a criticism. That’s well within the rules as far as I can tell and the awards are about self-promotion and mobilising a fan base. So good on him.]

There’s a whole pile of people who haven’t said they were nominated yet. Knowing the Dragon Awards, there probably won’t be an official list until after people start voting…

[ETA: David Weber, Tim Zahn & Tom Pope’s novel “A Call to Vengeance” is also a finalist  – I didn’t have this on my list. ]

[ETA Cameron Johnston The Traitor God (Angry Robot) in Best Fantasy – not on my list ]

Just What Does DragonCon do with Dragon Award Nominations?

…is an interesting question. Greg H raised some points on the past post that sent me digging to double check what the process is said to be.

Firstly we have the official rules page ( ). Unfortunately, although entitled “Dragon Award Official Rules”, these are primarily website/application terms and conditions. However, there is some pertinent info:

“HOW TO NOMINATE: Go to during the Nomination Period and submit nominations including your complete name and your primary e-mail address (“Entry” or “Entries”). One (1) nomination may be submitted in each of the categories. One (1) set of nominations is allowed per person. All Entries must be received by 11:59 P.M. ET on July 20, 2018.”

One nomination in each category and only one set of nominations per person. What happens to those nominations is not addressed in this paragraph. With the voting section there is a more clear statement of process with the nominations:

ONLINE VOTING: One (1) vote in each category is allowed per person. The most popular Entries, as determined by number of nomination submissions during the Nomination Period, will be featured on the Website between 9:00 A.M. ET on August 1, 2018 and 11:59 P.M. ET on August 31, 2018 (hereinafter, “Voting Period”). Voting shall occur in a manner as determined by DRAGON CON. [empahsis added CF]

I think that does imply that it is a straight count of nominations that have been deemed legitimate. Although, the determination of the winners based on the voting is less clear:

SELECTION OF WINNERS: All decisions regarding the voting process and selection of winners shall be made by DRAGON CON in its sole discretion, shall be final, and shall not be subject to challenge or appeal”

Obviously there is voting but how the votes turn into winners is another question. Greg raises the question of whether they make use of Survey Monkey’s polling skills – which would be kind of neat (i.e. treat the voting like a survey) but who knows? As far as I can see there’s no commitment in the rules to use the VOTES to determine the winners.

Which takes us to a different page, the more informal page entitled “The Process” ( ) A lot of this page is fluffy promotion but there are two salient bits:

There are two administrative periods, nominations and voting:

  1. Nominations will open in October or November of every year.  The nomination period will last until middle to late July.  You don’t have to nominate in all fifteen categories at once; nominate just in the category you choose and return later if you’d like! But choose wisely, you only get one nomination per category and it cannot be changed later.
  2. Your nominations are gathered and reviewed to create a final ballot.  Ballots are issued in batches twice a week during the voting period, during mid-week and at the beginning of the week for anyone that registers after voting has begun.  The initial batch of ballots will be released in early August by our ballot provider SurveyMonkey.  You must not be “opt-out” with SurveyMonkey or they will not issue you a ballot.  You can “opt-in” with SurveyMonkey at this URL: The winners will be announced at Dragon Con, always held over the Labor Day weekend in Atlanta!

Point 1 is definitely what happens and is the public part of the process. Point 2 tells us the mechanics. Nominations are “gathered” and “reviewed” to “create” a final ballot. I think this is a clear commitment to base the final ballot on nominations recieved but in what way is unclear. The number of nominees per category is mutable. It isn’t at all clear that the works with the most nominations go on the ballot. I think it would run counter to the spirit of what is written in the rules for them to include on the final ballot a work that recieved zero nominations but otherwise this does seem to give the carte-blanche to pick and choose nominees.

Point 2 goes on to describe the mechanics of voting with Survey Monkey but…there is a missing step between getting ballots and the winners being announced. What do they do with the ballots? I guess calling them “ballots” does imply the winners are determined by the ballots but 🤷‍♂️?

The process is a black box and perhaps a “close elevator door” button. Now, that’s sort of OK, so long as people get that DragonAward nominating/voting may be a kind of advisory role. Perhaps in a world of rule-gaming trolls, this is the only viable way to run a free online participatory vote?

The opaque nature of the process should influence how results are interpreted but as I’ve said before about any awards – the actual proof is in the longterm provision of the pudding. An award that produces interesting results via bizarre or opaque rules > than an award the produces dull results by a transparent process BUT ONLY if it actually produces interesting results.