DragonCon is a convention that takes place every year over the Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, GA. It is, by all accounts, the largest sci-fi and fantasy convention on the planet Earth. If you don't believe me, their minimum attendance every year is 60,000. It has been suggested that their attendance is over the six-figure mark, but they don't say as much because they're afraid that the fire marshal will shut them down. Every year, the DragonCon parade brings in about 100,000 people, who come in and watch the parade march down Peachtree Avenue.
This year is the first time that DragonCon has decided to have their own award, the Dragon. I keep calling it the Flight of Awards, but I fear that no one gets that particular reference.
The timing of this particular award is interesting, in that the award itself was only announced in April of this year. This was the month after WorldCon's Hugo awards were voted on. The deadline for voting on the Hugo nominations was March 31, and the Dragons were announced about a week later.
The timing is also interesting when one considers that last year's Hugo Awards presentation was a bit of a train wreck. Entire categories were nullified by a massive influx of votes insisting that no award be given in those categories where the nominees were just too conservative. These nominees were only nominated due to the effort of the Sad Puppies 3 campaign - a movement dedicated to having diversity of thought in the Hugo awards, where good fiction was promoted over "good think." The response to that was downright Soviet in execution. Only this time it was history repeated as farce. The people behind the Hugos had a Dalek (a genocidal space Nazi from the series Doctor Who) come out and support one of the good SJWs who opposed the Puppies. Someone who won the "fan writer" award thanked a professional editor (who happened to be an SJW and Puppy Kicker) for his success.
Then, after years of people suggesting that DragonCon host their own award, they decide to start an award for their 30th anniversary. It also happens to be the year after several "Big Dogs" among the Sad Puppies were guests at DragonCon in 2015. The timing is interesting.
After the Dragon Awards were officially announced, Brad Torgersen, the leader of Sad Puppies 3 last year, had this to say
And so: the final nail in the coffin of the Hugo awards. Looks like the Dragon Award is basically going to be doing everything Sad Puppies was hoping to get the Hugos to eventually do, but Dragon Con is doing it without having to wade through all the histrionic, caterwauling drama that resulted from the self-appointed defenders of Worldcon correctness and propriety throwing the genre's all-time biggest temper tantrum. I raise my glass to this, and predict that within ten years, a gold-foil DRAGON AWARD label on a book is going to routinely replace both NEBULA and HUGO labels.
The Dragon award nominees are finally in. What do they look like?
1. Best Science Fiction Novel
Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon
Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm by John C. Wright
Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Two interesting points come from this. One, Somewhither, by John C. Wright happens to be one of the Sad Puppy 4 picks for best novel from this year. And, while Ann Leckie's work did make the Sad Puppy 4 recommendation list, Leckie is generally considered on the side of the anti-Puppies.
For the record, I picked John C. Wright because his book is amazing.
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams
Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
Changeling's Island by Dave Freer
On the one hand, I do not understand why there are only five novels here. Here, we see three Sad Puppies picks from the list - Correia, Freer, and Butcher all ended up for Sad Puppies 4, which tells you that, while those books were just that good, this is not a list driven entirely by the Sad Puppies.
Dave Freer has insisted that his fans, in a tossup between him and Correia, give the award to Correia, as Freer is also in another category, YA. However, I split the difference by voting for Jim Butcher.
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Changeling's Island by Dave Freer
Updraft by Fran Wilde
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Eight nominees, which means that this category is truly blowing up something fierce. The nominees are from all over the place, and I don't even know if a single one of them has an ideological opinion. Which means I can only conclude that - gasp! Shock! Horror! - they were voted on because of merit.
I have no horse in this race ... I'd usually knee-jerk and say Pratchett, but I want Dave Freer to get something. He's awesome. And Sir Terry wouldn't mind. He's dead, he's past awards.
And no, I don't really know the others.
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy
The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Chains of Command by Marko Kloos
Hell's Foundations Quiver by David Weber
Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels
Several things about this category:
First of all, in the comments section of the Puppy Kicker hangout, the website File 770, they disparaged every last nominee here, except for their hero, fellow Puppy Kicker John Scalzi. This is amusing since David Weber has been writing military science fiction for over 25 years, and practically invented half the concepts in modern scifi space combat.
Though the good SJWs among the Puppy Kicks are probably upset because, at the very least, this Weber series is deeply religious.
Second, at the start of the year, John Scalzi announced that he would refuse being in any and all award nominations, and insists that he refuses this one as well.
5. Best Alternate History Novel
1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
Germanica by Robert Conroy
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt