2017 Dragon Awards

Dragon Awards trophies from 2016. Photo by Fran Wilde.

The Dragon Awards winners were announced today at Dragon Con in Atlanta.

Dragon Con President Pat Henry told the audience there were around 8,000 final ballots, twice as many as last year (although no voting statistics were released last year.)

The voter participation was enough to lift the playing field above the reach of organizing efforts by the Rabid Puppies, Happy Frogs, and campaigning Superversive authors, as the only winners they backed were items that probably didn’t need the help — Jim Butcher’s graphic novel, and the game Pokémon GO.

  1. Best Science Fiction Novel
  • Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
  1. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
  • Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo
  1. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
  • The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
  1. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
  • Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox
  1. Best Alternate History Novel
  • Fallout: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
  1. Best Apocalyptic Novel
  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
  1. Best Horror Novel
  • The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  1. Best Comic Book
  • The Dresden Files: Dog Men by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo
  1. Best Graphic Novel
  • Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
  • Stranger Things, Netflix
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
  • Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by Nintendo
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
  • Pokemon GO by Niantic
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk by Avalon Hill
  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
  • Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon by Wizards of the Coast

The presenters included Jerry Pournelle, Kevin Anderson, Jim Vince, Larry Correia, Mercedes Misty Knight, Eric Flint, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Gil Gerard.

[Story with an assist from RedPandaFraction livetweets.]

149 thoughts on “2017 Dragon Awards

  1. Congrats to all the winners. Maybe next year, some folks will give greater consideration to their own readers (evidently there were a huge number of nominating votes [~140,000]) and not withdraw from the award.

  2. @Michael —

    You’re the second person I’ve seen quoting that 140,000 number. Do you know where it came from? Given the number of final votes — claimed at 8000 — I’d suspect that one or two decimals were misplaced in the nomination claim.

    At least the admins are being somewhat more forthcoming about numbers than last year, but if we could get some hard data, that would be great.

  3. @Michael A. Rothman

    Maybe next year, groups won’t try to use innocent bystanders as a cudgel to accomplish their own goals.

  4. The number came from someone who was at the event and evidently that was one of the numbers that was said by the President at the podium.

  5. Ok, some of the Winners such as Babylon’s Ashes are fine as a novel within a series, but overall I’d say the Hugos are far, far superior to what won and/or wa chosen by the Administrators.

    I’ll stick with y’all making truly recommendations, bless you.

    Now reading Gregory Frost’s Shadow Bridge in large part because someone here said good things about it.

  6. Yes, it definitely makes a lot of sense that 140,000 people would come up with a ballot including obscure indie works whose circulation is in the hundreds! Truly a heavyweight of facts and logic has arrived with us today

    I’m pleased to hear their voter numbers have increased, although of course it’s meaningless without release of the supporting data. But it’s no bad thing to have another popular choice award apparently functioning as intended.

  7. Ok, some of the Winners such as Babylon’s Ashes are fine as a novel within a series, but overall I’d say the Hugos are far, far superior to what won and/or wa chosen by the Administrators.

    I’ll stick with y’all making recommendation, thank you.

    Now reading Gregory Frost’s Shadow Bridge in large part because someone here said good things about it.

  8. Michael Rothman – Those that withdrew did so not out of being inconsiderate to their readers but because they didn’t want to be associated with a specific campaign or due to the way other nominated authors were using their works.

    Maybe next year the Award runners will help authors out or drop authors who use the nomination to campaign against other nominated authors rather than to promote their own work.

    But no author is obligated to participate in something they do not want to.

  9. @Mike —

    Yup.

    OTOH — I myself made three nominations in the same category using three different email addresses (I nominated Horton Hears a Who, I Wish that I Had Duck Feet, and The Cat in the Hat, all in the science fiction novel category), just to prove that it could be done. But I didn’t vote in the final. So if they counted all three of my fake nomination votes in their “140,000” number — and other fake votes like mine — then I can see how they might come up with something wildly inflated like that.

  10. @Matt I’m personally not up on the politics of this, nor do I care about them.

    The idea that someone could make someone drop out so simply by doing something in public they find distasteful is nuts. If an author chooses to be so manipulated, so be it – but I find it ludicrous that they’d (author) give the miscreants such power. Why bother even acknowledging undesirable behavior?

  11. It is difficult to go from 140,000 nominating to only 8,000 final votes without reflecting again on the process of one email address, one vote. Or their reluctance to provide any info on the numbers.

    Also ‘Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge’ by Larry Correia and John Ringo. Hmmm.

  12. Betrayal is an odd choice, considering its an expansion. But it was designed by various voices of the gaming community, Anita Sarkeesian among them. So its not really a puppy choice (which would have been Gloomhaven).

  13. Seems like a pretty reasonable set of results given what the nomination stage produced, and they seem to have pushed their voting numbers up above the level that the various campaigns were capable of gaming themselves to. Having been sharply critical of them in the past, I ought to say that they seem to have pulled it out of the bag here. They’ll need to get that effect to roll-over into nominations next year though.

  14. Michael –
    No one made them drop out. They made their own decisions based on what they felt comfortable with. I mean you can read their own reasons in their own words if you like, of which they all explained their rarionale and thanked their fans.

    The undesirable behavoir existed and they chose to not participate in it or the awards.

    Do you feel that they shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision on the matter or that it’s not their decision to make?

  15. @Nightly Nerdly News

    I speculated elsewhere that given the paucity of any real blockbusters in the Fantasy category the Monster Hunter book was probably the genuine frontrunner, so I don’t think any hmmm’s are required in this particular case.
    You are very right about the numbers though – although I’d really like to hear those confirmed. One point – last year they gave the total number of nominations in the sense of counting each nom in each category, so that 140k number could well be based on the same metric, and therefore be quite similar. 140k divided by 15 categories is a little over 9,000, which immediately looks more sensible when compared to final votes.

  16. Nightly Nerdly News says It is difficult to go from 140,000 nominating to only 8,000 final votes without reflecting again on the process of one email address, one vote. Or their reluctance to provide any info on the numbers.

    I voted using three different addresses to see if it was possible which it was. In contrast, my Buy Local campaign limited it one vote per IP address which means I do vote and take it seriously. These Awards are crap in all aspects.

  17. @Nightly —

    “Also ‘Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge’ by Larry Correia and John Ringo. Hmmm.”

    Well, ya gotta compare it to the nomination pool — not to the total output of fantasy novels in 2016/2017.

    It’s a middling high seller, and selling better than most of the other nominees. For example, A Sea of Skulls has been floating around 75,292-121,874 in the Amazon paid rankings over the last couple of weeks (the last two or three days Vox has been playing around with making the book free and free on KU, so today the ranking has jumped artificially), while Correia’s book has been in the 16,246-33,752 range; Faith Hunter’s book has been 17,347-21,548.

    Today Heartstone Thief is #111,261; Dangerous Ways is #327,745. Beast Master is also on Kindle Unlimited and appears artificially inflated today, but I haven’t been tracking its sales figures; perhaps it’s actually more popular than I suspect (it has 635 GR reviews, while Blood of the Earth has 2958).

  18. @Matt Choosing to acknowledge any miscreants gives them power. Using them as a reason why you’d potentially disappoint fans by withdrawing gives them even more power. (I’d further note that any message the author gives on their blog is not necessarily going to be viewed by nominating parties of the Dragon award. I’d wager very few readers [of the whole] hang out on author blogs.)

    My point is simple. Don’t give the miscreants any power, and whatever they’re doing will simply be ignored and ultimately go away.

    This is kind of like what one’s taught in primary school. Seems silly to empower people who dislike you or that you dislike.

  19. @Michael —

    “My point is simple. Don’t give the miscreants any power, and whatever they’re doing will simply be ignored and ultimately go away.”

    Sorry, Michael, but ignoring bad deeds/bad intentions/bad people doesn’t make them go away. That ostrich routine doesn’t accomplish anything constructive.

  20. Michael –
    And pretending like they don’t exist makes them believe there is no consequences to their behavoir and ignoring that someone is using your work to promote their own agenda allows them to do so.

    The authors who dropped created work I enjoy but I also accept that if they don’t want to put up with unnecessary bullshit it’s their right to choose not to.

    It’s easy for you to say what you think their decision should be when they’re the ones who have to deal with it. I’m disappointed that they have to face such a decision at all and respect the choices they made and as a reader don’t feel like they were inconsiderate at all. In fact they seemed to consider their decisions very carefully.

  21. Oh, gosh, my enjoyment of Scalzi’s books is ruined! ruined! because he wasn’t in the running for an award.

  22. I’ve not seen any confirmation of the 140 thousand nominations but the 8 thousand voters figure is in the official press release. http://mediarelations.dragoncon.org/

    Now if the first figure is “Nominations” rather than individuals, then the two figures look more similar (i.e. if you nominated 10 works then that’s 10 nominations but if you voted for 15 things that is 1 voter).

  23. Jamoche on September 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm said:

    Oh, gosh, my enjoyment of Scalzi’s books is ruined! ruined! because he wasn’t in the running for an award

    Right? Like it shouldn’t need to be said that if you nominate an author for an award and they drop out and you get angry and try to make it about yourself maybe the author isn’t the inconsiderate one in the situation.

  24. So the 8k figure is a reliable one then. In absolute numbers it’s a good level of participation, but relative to DC attendance it’s about 10% at best – assuming all voters were attendees, which we know isn’t correct. They clearly have a lot more work to do getting their own attendees involved.

  25. These look like a good set of results to me. The awards are doing what I always hoped they would do. Personally, I prefer the sort of work that turns up in the Hugos, which go more for distinctive and innovative things, and so are more useful as recommendations. But as an award which simply aims to honour successful writers, these seem to be working well. They aren’t going to replace the Hugos, but they can complement them, by filling a different kind of niche, and this may be good for the Hugos, by relieving them of the pressure to be all things to all people.

    The voting figures certainly look a bit odd. That there would be some drop between nominations and final voting is understandable, given the ‘vote for the thing you already a fan of’ ethos of the awards; if the thing you are a fan of doesn’t make the shortlist, there’s no reason to vote in the final. I could believe in a drop from 14000 to 8000. There’s a natural suspicion that 140,000 nominations might not mean 140,000 nominators; but in that case it’s not clear why the final vote would not be similarly inflated. So until there’s further evidence, I’m going to suspect a misprint.

  26. @Andrew —

    “The awards are doing what I always hoped they would do. Personally, I prefer the sort of work that turns up in the Hugos, which go more for distinctive and innovative things, and so are more useful as recommendations. But as an award which simply aims to honour successful writers, these seem to be working well.”

    I don’t think they’re working well YET — just look at the nonsense in many of the nominated categories — but if the admins get their acts together on voter controls, they might develop into something interesting.

    Just think Oscars vs. People’s Choice Awards. There’s a place for both.

  27. The 8 thousand number is plausible. Start with the assumption that Vox could weild by fair means or foul a thousand minions.

    Starship Liberator by B.V. Larson and David VanDyke was a Rabid/Castalia pick in Best MilSF. That category was a fairly even category in terms of the work and Larson/VanDyke have a following beyond Castalia.

    The actual winner (Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox) wasn’t that more notable than the other nominees – so it isn’t unreasonable to assume that the winner didn’t massively out perform the other nominees. Now as they beat the Rabid nominee then they must have got more than a thousand votes and as the rest of the nominees may have done relatively similar then we can assume that several thousand votes were cast in Best MilSF. If the other 6 nominees only got 500 votes each on average that would still be 3 thousand votes plus a thousand rabids and a thousand+ for the winner.

  28. Andrew M on September 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm said:
    There’s a natural suspicion that 140,000 nominations might not mean 140,000 nominators; but in that case it’s not clear why the final vote would not be similarly inflated. So until there’s further evidence, I’m going to suspect a misprint.

    Do we have a source for the 140,000 figure? Nobody seems to know where it has come from.

  29. @Camestros —

    Someone somewhere said it was a figure announced at the awards — maybe even on this thread? I’m not going back through all the posts — but who knows?

    Yes, it would be great to see actual numbers. But given last years’ utter lack of official reporting, I’m not gonna hold my breath.

  30. Thanks!

    140,000 nomination VOTES
    15 nominating CATEGORIES
    1 vote per category

    Therefore perhaps 9300 nominating VOTERS.

    Of course, not every voter will nominate in every category, and as with my earlier example, we don’t know if they’re counting both valid and invalid nominations or only valid ones.

  31. On the other hand, that source also announced “Victoria LaValle” and “Ricky Riordan” as winners, so I wouldn’t assume either “140,000” or “votes” are accurate (or, to be fair, inaccurate) without confirmation.

  32. Yes, I think Camestros’ suggestion may well be right; 140,000 votes could (legitimately) be as few as 10,000 voters, though it’s probably a bit more than that, which makes the drop to ‘more than 8000’ (which is presumably less than 9000) unsurprising.

    Which raises the question how many individual nominations there were in the Hugos. (The raw figure would presumably be a lot more, since you get five nominations in the Hugos, and only one in the Dragons. But if we took ‘nomination’ to mean ‘nomination ballot in a particular category’ we would be comparing like with like.)

  33. @Camestros —

    “The actual winner (Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox) wasn’t that more notable than the other nominees – so it isn’t unreasonable to assume that the winner didn’t massively out perform the other nominees.”

    Current Kindle paid rankings:

    The Span of Empire by Eric Flint and David Carrico — #56,542
    Starship Liberator by B.V. Larson and David VanDyke — #6,086 (KU)
    Caine’s Mutiny by Charles E. Gannon — #117,864
    Invasion: Resistance by J.F. Holmes — #53,291 (KU)
    Cartwright’s Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey — #1,657 (KU)
    Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz — #98,076 (KU)
    Aliies and Enemies: Exiles by Amy J. Murphy — #60,688 (KU)
    Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox — #3,388 (KU)

    So according to sales rankings, only Iron Dragoons and Cartwright’s Cavaliers would really be in the running, perhaps Starship Liberator as a distant third.

    It’s also been interesting to see how many of all the Dragon nominees have been available on KU.

  34. Congratulations to all the Dragon winners!

    I hope Dragon con releases detailed figures this year.

  35. I doubt they ever will, as I have a feeling that in year 1, things were abysmal/embarrassing and if they were to reveal that, it would likely cast doubt on any other claims made, such as “this year had twice as many…”

    It’s a bullshit award and it will always be a bullshit award. Congrats to the winners.

  36. @Camestros —

    “Thanks Contrarius. I think both Gannon and Flint would get some name recognition as well though.”

    It doesn’t look like. Here’s the alt-history category with current sales rankings:

    Breath of Earth by Beth Cato — #214,998
    Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler — #96,331
    Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli — #224,577
    No Gods, Only Daimons by Kai Wai Cheah — #95,171 (KU)
    A Change in Crime by D.R. Perry — #770,720
    1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint — #36,767
    The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville — #100,668
    Fallout: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove — #74,702

    Pretty low sales for all of these, but the winner is again in the top 2 per current Amazon rankings.

    IMHO the Dragon admins really oughtta cut down on the number of works in their shortlists for next year. This cluttered field just muddies things up, and the winners appear to be coming from the top two or three selling books in each category.

  37. It’s a bullshit award and it will always be a bullshit award. Congrats to the winners.

    I have to say that those are very nice looking trophies.

  38. I’m not interested in any award whose electorate voted a Correia/Ringo collaboration as “Best Fantasy Novel” of the year. A matter of personal taste I know.

    Looking at the “alt-history” sales rankings as provided by Contrarius, a couple of thoughts: I quite liked Fallout, currently reading its successor, Armistice. “alt-history” seems the perfect category for Turtledove, Mieville not so much. I guess The Last Days of New Paris qualifies, but it’s not really the same sort of thing.

    Writing this comment on a rainy afternoon in 4236, my first experience of File 770 time travel.

  39. @Stephen —

    “I’m not interested in any award whose electorate voted a Correia/Ringo collaboration as “Best Fantasy Novel” of the year. A matter of personal taste I know.”

    Yeah, but again ya gotta look at what the final-round voters had to work with.

    Like with our Hugos in the puppy years, it looks like the nominating round was much easier to game than the final vote round. Most likely a lot of higher-quality works got shut out because of various campaigns and possibly from vote scamming. But once that final list was set, the final-round voters were stuck. From what I’ve looked at so far, the final round results look pretty predictable — the winners are coming from the top two or three sellers in each category, which is what you’d expect from a people’s choice award.

    But if the Dragons want to be taken seriously in the long haul, they really need to clean up their nominating round.

  40. Oh, as a minor point, The Last Days of New Paris was ineligible under their word count rules. Good job for them it didn’t win.
    Hopefully they’ll put “check eligibility” on next year’s to-do list, right behind “tell the authors”.

  41. This is the last one, I promise. Just in case somebody out there isn’t already bored to death by the numbers —

    Here’s the sf novel category. Again, the winner comes from the top two in current Kindle sales ranking — in this case, the Corey is far outselling anything else that made the shortlist.

    This is what we call a pattern. 😉

    A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers — #15,731
    Space Tripping by Patrick Edwards — #642,997
    Rise by Brian Guthrie — #747,598
    Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli — #165,122 (KU)
    The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi — #10,714
    Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey — #4,815
    Death’s End by Cixin Liu — #10,767
    The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier — #102,048 (KU)

    No more, no more, I promise!

  42. @Contrarius

    I think the argument that it turned the corner into pure popularity in the finals is proven. As that’s what they said they wanted, then good for them.

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