2018 Dragon Awards


The 2018 Dragon Awards were presented September 2 at Dragon Con.

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Artemis by Andy Weir

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope

Best Alternate History Novel

  • Uncharted by Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt

Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Best Horror Novel

  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Best Comic Book

  • Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron and James Harren, Marvel Comics

Best Graphic Novel

  • Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius M. Gopez, Dynamite Entertainment

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Game of Thrones, HBO

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War by Monolith Productions

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery by Jam City

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Red Dragon Inn 6: Villains by Slugfest Games

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

  • Magic: The Gathering Unstable by Wizards of the Coast

The award presenters included Larry Niven, Steven Barnes, Katherine Kurtz, Eric Flint, Cat Rambo, Laurell K. Hamilton, Paul Jenkins, Emily Goodman, Peter Kalamis, Bill Fawcett, and Michael Capps.

[Thanks to Red Panda Fraction for livetweeting the event, and Cora Buhlert and Mark Hepworth.]

68 thoughts on “2018 Dragon Awards

  1. Congratulations to Andy Weir; Artemis was great! Also congratulations to everyone involved with “Black Panther”; I enjoyed it a lot!

    Of the rest, I haven’t played “Red Dragon Inn” in a long time, but I used to play it occasionally and I’m not surprised it’s up to #6. 😉 I haven’t read Uncharted, but I’ve been interested in trying it out.

  2. Congratulations to all the winners. Looks like the Dragons are getting over their “who the heck are those guys issues”.

  3. Anytime Kevin J Anderson wins an award means there’s something fishy going on. The only writing award he should win is one for boring people to death.

  4. @rochrist: Well, it’s co-written by Sarah Hoyt. Depending on how the collaboration looked like, it might more follow Hoyt’s style of prose, which for me is more likely to induce excessive eye-rolling. But to each their own.

  5. It looks like a fine selection – not exactly the works I would have given awards to, but then, I’m not the voting body, am I? Congrats to all!

    (And can we not do this thing? ‘No one can really like [thing]; they must be voting for it because [other thing]’ keeps being said, and it’s never true. Some people say it about N.K. Jemisin et al., and others say it about Connie Willis. But tastes differ. In my own brief acquaintance with Anderson, in the Puppy incursion of 2015, I found him distinctly unexciting, but he’s a bestselling author, so clearly not everyone feels as I do.)

  6. @Michael —

    why is that? He’s a Tor author. Why’s he on this group’s shit list? Or more to the point, why is he on your shit list?

    Michael, puppy types are the only ones who obsess much about who published what. The rest of us are perfectly capable of judging the merit of works regardless of their publishers.

    As for Anderson — the only Anderson I’ve tried to read lately was The Dark Between The Stars, which I quickly gave up on. But the guy obviously has talent, as he has written and sold a buncha stuff.

  7. @Michael A. Rothman

    Interesting that you can’t take the stated reason (“boring”) at face value. Personally I don’t see the attraction of KJA’s work either – what I’ve read definitely qualifies as boring – but in fairness I don’t think there’s anything fishy about his appearance here: he’s a successful author who clearly has an audience that likes what he does and that’s what the Dragon Awards are all about.

  8. I noted Tor only inasmuch as to indicate he’s not exactly self-pubbing material. He’s a professional. And I find it fascinating why anyone would call Anderson out specifically – sure, I get the Sarah quip in this audience due to her associations, but Anderson seems a neutral and to gain what seemed a visceral reaction seemed odd. Was wondering what I was missing.

  9. rochrist must be the Official Filer Hive Mind Representative for today, because clearly one Filer having an opinion means that every Filer has that opinion.

    Gratz to the winners, and commiserations to the runners-up!

  10. @Michael A. Rothman

    To chime in with what others have said: I too tried to read The Dark Between the Stars when it was gamed onto the Hugo ballot, and I quickly gave up on it. I’ve rarely found a book that has so epitomized the meaning of the Eight Deadly Words, and it pretty much turned me off ever reading anything of his again. However, I own Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves, and if enough of her writing style rubbed off on Anderson, I imagine that lifted the book into the realm of readability (if not awardability, in my opinion, for either of them, but their style obviously suits the Dragons).

  11. @michael I don’t know about this group, although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar feelings expressed. But as for me, I’ve sampled a fair number of his works over the years and found them uniformly unbearable. I’ve never ever encountered another writer as adroit at taking the most exciting SF setups and turning them into pure drudgery.

    PS: Fishy as in ‘what on earth were they thinking’ as opposed to something nefarious going on.

  12. Well, that’s fair. The worst of things are often lauded and best of things denigrated on a regular basis. I’d mistook your statement (rochrist) as something I’d otherwise missed somewhere.

    That’s evidently not the case.

  13. Michael —

    I noted Tor only inasmuch as to indicate he’s not exactly self-pubbing material.

    Why should this be relevant? Remember, Andy Weir started out self-pubbing; so did another of my personal favorites, Michael J. Sullivan. There are plenty of good, “professional” authors self-pubbing out there.

    And I find it fascinating why anyone would call Anderson out specifically – sure, I get the Sarah quip in this audience due to her associations, but Anderson seems a neutral and to gain what seemed a visceral reaction seemed odd.

    Why would this surprise you? Reading devotees often have quite strong reactions to authors whom they perceive to be somehow less talented than their sales success would indicate. For instance, you’ll see intense reactions to EL James’s writing, even though her “50 Shades” books have sold bazillions of copies. Has nothing to do with James’s politics, or lack thereof — only her skill in writing, or lack thereof.

  14. Michael A. Rothman on September 2, 2018 at 4:11 pm said:
    Note I was responding to the person who called the win fishy

    Meanwhile, earlier…

    “Why’s he on this group’s shit list?”

    I can’t speak for the “group” but
    1. I don’t find his win with Sarah Hoyt remotely fishy, indeed I expected it to be nominated without any shenanigans
    2. Like many people here I found the Dark Between the Stars to be really, really dull – I found ITS nomination for a Hugo award to be extraordinarily fishy that I wonder if even its supporters had read it (a speculation that only increased when nobody nominated its sequel for Sad Puppies 4). However, just because an author wrote one very dull book doesn’t mean all their other books are dull and KJA’s capacity to make a good living writing books certainly indicates that there are plenty of people willing to pay him to write more.
    3. I didn’t have a third point.
    4. No but seriously Dark Between the Stars was so, so boring

  15. Greg Hullender: It shows that if we nominated and voted for the Dragons instead of boycotting them, we could make a difference.

    Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence. No one knows why any book made the final ballot or won. No one knows what makes a difference in which books make the ballot or win.

  16. Michael A. Rothman: why is that? [Kevin J. Anderson is] a Tor author. Why’s he on this group’s shit list? Or more to the point, why is he on your shit list?

    Well, that’s the problem with the Puppies cheating a bunch of crap onto the Hugo ballot: a lot of Hugo voters read those works (or tried to). So now we get to have opinions. Prior to the Puppy campaigns, I knew John C. Wright only as the author of a fantasy series in the early 2000s which apparently did fairly well. Now I — and a lot of other people — know him as the author of bloated, preachy, pretentious, message-fiction drivel. He got a result from the Hugo cheating, all right — but it probably wasn’t the result he was aiming for.

    Anderson’s Dark Between the Stars was a tedious succession of a hundred tiny chapters (averaging 6 pages each), featuring dozens of characters, all made of thoroughly-inedible, two-dimensional cardboard. I tried to read it, I forced myself to read it, but after (IIRC) close to a hundred pages, I gave up waiting for a character I cared about to appear, or something interesting to happen. The Puppies would have been better off cheating a good Anderson book onto the ballot. What they accomplished with this book was putting me, and a lot of other people, off ever reading anything by Anderson again.

    I’ve read Hoyt’s paranormal urban fantasy series. In contrast to her wildly irrational and utterly incoherent blog posts, it was readable and I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have nominated it for an award, but I read lots of books which I enjoy but don’t feel should be nominated for an award. All that matters is whether I enjoy them.

    I think it’s entirely possible that the two of them, with a competent editor, might have written a book I would enjoy. But given that this book was published by Baen, who openly admits to not editing their books, the odds in this particular case are not good.

    I’m sure that there are plenty of fans who enjoyed this book, and now it’s got a Dragon Award. The books making the Dragon Award ballot don’t appear for the most part to be books that I would enjoy. That’s okay; I have issues with the books that make the shortlists of a number of other awards, including the Clarke, the Campbell, and the BSFA. The trick is that I have figured out which awards are most likely to offer up finalists I would enjoy, and the Dragons are not among them.

  17. In accordance with the principles of FilSoc we hate Tor authors like Anderson and JCW and we love Baen authors like Bujold and Hodgell. And we have always been at war with Eastasia.

    I also found KJA to be unbearably dull but I sell enough of his books to know that there are many who like his stuff enough to pay hardcover prices for them.

  18. From JJ —

    Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence. No one knows why any book made the final ballot or won. No one knows what makes a difference in which books make the ballot or win.

    What JJ said. Nobody knows what would or would not make any differences, because we have no idea how any of the books were actually selected.

  19. There was no mention of how many votes or anything about the process at the Dragon Awards ceremony today.
    As for boycotting the Dragon Awards, why not nominate and vote? Its winners now match pretty well with the Goodreads awards except for the weird nomination period.

  20. I’m not sure who the “we” who boycotted the Dragon Awards are. I’m a regular reader of File 770, a very occasional commenter, and I voted. I am especially thrilled by the win for MtG:Unstable, as I’ve been a Magic player for over twenty years.

  21. Red Panda Fraction: As for boycotting the Dragon Awards, why not nominate and vote? Its winners now match pretty well with the Goodreads awards except for the weird nomination period.

    What you call “boycotting”, I call “just not participating”.

    The Dragon Awards, like the GoodReads Awards, hold little interest for me. The Dragon Award nominating and voting system is completely opaque, and I have no confidence that my nomination or vote has any meaning. Unless and until that changes, I feel no need to participate.

    The problem with awards which recognize big sellers is that the mass market taste and my taste have little correlation. While I agree with maybe only 30-40% of the Hugo and Nebula finalists, those awards at least have the virtue of frequently highlighting works which are unusual or groundbreaking in some way — much more so than awards which recognize the big selling novels, which are often the 15th novel in a series which holds little interest for me.

  22. @JJ Fair enough. I wouldn’t use almost the whole list of DA nominees to guide my reading.
    Greg mentioned boycotting. That was all.

  23. JJ: If the Dragon Award organizers didn’t want people’s votes to matter, they wouldn’t ask people to vote. Opaque process or not, the only thing that not participating insures is that your opinion will not be a part of the final result. As for “big sellers,” Uncharted currently has sales rank 100 in Alternate History.

  24. Hyman Rosen: If the Dragon Award organizers didn’t want people’s votes to matter, they wouldn’t ask people to vote.

    The second does not prove the first. It’s entirely possible that they ask people to vote to give the award the appearance of being selected by popular acclaim, when in fact all of the finalists and winners may be selected by the organizers behind the scenes based on whatever criteria they decide to use. That’s the problem with a completely opaque system for which the rules specifically say that the organizers can select the finalists and winners by whatever means they wish.

     
    Hyman Rosen: As for “big sellers,” Uncharted currently has sales rank 100 in Alternate History.

    If you read here frequently, you know that Amazon Sales Rank is for the most part meaningless, and you know why. If you don’t know why, some Googling will reveal discussions, at File 770 and elsewhere, as to why that is the case.

  25. The problem with the Dragons continues to be One Email Address = One Vote both for the nominees and final ballot.
    A number of the puppy contingent also appear to be members of other groups who bogart online votes with their list of email addresses. It may also possible to hack the voting itself similarly to what was done to PollDaddy and Blogger in the past when I paid attention to that type of thing. For example, here is one method to hack Survey Monkey which Dragon uses a quick search returns that may still work:
    http://devinmancuso.com/blog/2015/using-selenium-to-mess-with-survey-monkey.html
    .
    The winners are almost predictable from among the nominees based on Goodreads popularity, however. Like the Hugo Awards it is easiest to get crap nominated, difficult to win if legitimate popular books make the nominee list.

  26. Even ignoring all of the other problems, the Dragon voting period is less than a month long. That’s simply not enough time to read through and vote for more than maybe two of the novel categories, at least for me.

  27. As for the Dragon Awards, I received a ballot and voted in two categories for the two books I considered awardworthy amongst the nominees. Neither of those books won. I am currently reading ‘Artemis’ and finding it competent but not exceptional. I hope it improves.

  28. It is clear that the Dragon Awards need to do a lot of work before they become relevant at all, if ever. Transparent voting, better management and from a fan’s perspective, I want a Dragon Award shaped like a dragon.

    Kevin J Anderson is not a terrible person by any accounts. He has published 120+ Novels, including the early Star Wars Expanded Universe and the expansion of Dune and that’s not nothing but Puppies tend to point at him saying,”He should get an award for all that!”. Filers tend to well…file KJA in the garbage because among his 120+ novels…none of them are particularly interesting or inventive.

    I personally have only ever read one book by KJA, his book on his writing process as part of a StoryBundle a few years ago. This book told me everything I need to know about how he got 120 Published books…aside from the number of shared universes and novelizations of films he writes:

    His process is to go Hiking and tape record himself talking about the book, then send the tape to a typist who writes down his outlines from those tapes. That little nugget was just the first chapter of the most cookie cutter writing process I have ever encountered. He stresses getting projects done as efficiently as possible and just getting books out. No real sections on making the project pitchable, risk-taking, creativity, passion, ensuring quality or careful writing craft, just get as many books done as fast as possible. And Larry C prides himself on that specific advice from KJA, which he likes to remind people every chance he gets.

    Filers I think just want good books. High-quality books. Imaginative, risk-taking fiction that moves, entertains or whatever its intention, self-pubbed or otherwise. Cookie-cutter books won’t do it for us, we want better books than that.

  29. @Nightly Nerdly News

    The winners are almost predictable from among the nominees based on Goodreads popularity,

    Interesting point. Mike noted some goodreads stats here. You’re right, the winners came from the top two in GR, except Children of Blood and Bone was 3rd in YA and the KJA/Hoyt book was only fourth in the alt-history category per GR, and was also the least-popular of the winners (although alt-history is generally the least-popular category).

    @Goobergunch

    Yeah, there’s clearly no expectation that you will read through the categories, it’s a popular vote not an informed one.

  30. Asimov had a very vivid and fruitful imagination. He wasn’t a great prose stylist by any means. The books stay interesting because his ideas were interesting

    Writing *process,* John. Not writing *style*.

  31. He stresses getting projects done as efficiently as possible and just getting books out. No real sections on making the project pitchable, risk-taking, creativity, passion, ensuring quality or careful writing craft, just get as many books done as fast as possible.

    Ah, the Lahaye/Jenkins writing process. (I understand there is, in their method, also no rewriting or editing.)

  32. @Red Panda Fraction

    Greg mentioned boycotting. That was all.

    That’s because each time the Dragon Awards come up, JJ and a few others actively lobby people not to vote. It’s not, as she implies, just a matter of her personally choosing not to vote. They pressure others not to vote and not to talk about it if they did vote. That’s a boycott.

  33. @Greg —

    They pressure others not to vote and not to talk about it if they did vote. That’s a boycott.

    Phhhhht.

    Greg, sometimes I think you say sensible things. This isn’t one of those times.

  34. @Greg
    That’s not the impression I’ve got at all. Some folks don’t want to participate in the Dragon Awards and that’s okay. But I’ve never felt pressured not to participate.

    Personally, I do nominate and vote for the Dragons, if only to make my voice heard and drown out the puppies and the KU writers.

  35. I didn’t want to participate this year, because of the shitstorm some writers got last year.
    On the other hand I am not sure if winning or getting nominated for a dragon is actually somethink that helps a writer.
    And the vote feels bad, because it is in no way an informed vote. (I did read 2 of the winners, I am okay with them winning, in so far that I like both works)
    I don’t see the point of doing somethink to defend ideals that I don’t feel good about and don’t know if it does somethink good.
    This is just my 2 cents.

    About JJ that is voicing her opinion, but what power does she have that she could presure you? I see a perhaps strongly voice opinion, not more.

    Now I believe that probably this are the real results, because if a puppyfriendlygroup would doctor it, there would be more than the win in Best Alternate History Novel and perhaps Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel for the puppies. (No Sandersons win is not a puppywin) Even if they wanted not to be obvious, that seems not enough to believe it is completly pro-puppymanipulated.
    JJ is right that we have no proof at all what happened with the Dragons (we also have no reason to trust them) but from the results it could very well be honest voting and probably is.

  36. @Cora

    >”drown out the puppies and the KU writers”

    I understand the puppies reference, but what is the KU reference about? Kindle Unlimited? If so, what’s the concern there? I miss the relevance.

  37. The Dragon Awards people should be open about their process. In the absence of any actual information, my own guess is that it’s some kind of more or less informal “juried” thing. I imagine they take into account the nominations and votes they solicit but aren’t bound by them. But who knows.

  38. Pingback: 2018 Dragon Awards: Big-Name Winners and Little Controversy - Women Write About Comics

  39. I wouldn’t have given an award to any of those books or authors; the best I thought of any of them was “fine.” Still, different strokes for different folks. The one that strikes me as truly unearned is Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, since the only thing I’ve ever heard about it is how terrible the game play is.

  40. @Michael A. Rothman
    The KU reference is indeed about Kindle Unlimited. It refers to prolific self-published writers and writing collectives. Most of these writers are Amazon exclusive and due to Amazon’s algorithms privileging Kindle Unlimited books by treating a borrow like a sale, they rank highly in the Kindle store, but are little to unknown outside the Kindle Unlimited ecosystem. Many of these writers are canny self-promoters and have big mailing lists. And the Dragon Awards are very vulnerable to self-promoters getting their fanbase to nominate them, several of these writers got nominated, even though they aren’t all that well known in the wider world of fandom.

  41. The best military SF book winner was the one I voted for and the one that won.

    The Alt-History category was somewhat weak this year. Stirling was nominated in the nth book of that series and The Sea Peoples was not well received. Nothing else really stood out. The Witchy Eye world is not that great. The winners may have been the best of a weak year for this genre.

    However, Stirling published Black Chamber last July in a new Alt-History world where Teddy Roosevelt was elected President multiple times in a row and WW1 is going differently. That book is excellent.

    It is amusing that out of all of the genre awards which are reported here, The Dragon Awards gets the most whining.

  42. I haven’t participated in the Dragon awards, but that has nothing to do with JJ’s opinions regarding the awards, however strongly they are voiced.

    I find Hugo voting a lot of work and stress out about doing it properly. That makes me less interested in other awards, particularly awards that aren’t run transparently, may not be run securely, and have rules that allow for unreported overriding of votes. Then there’s the origins of the awards, and the founders’ statements echoing fatuous SP arguments, which isn’t appealing. I participated in the recommendation process for SP4 and regretted it afterward for various reasons: authors who’d been attacked by Puppies weren’t necessarily thrilled to be recommended on a SP site; some Puppies could use those authors’ supporters as evidence that the Rabid/Sad movement was always inclusive; other Puppies could claim the “SJWs” were attempting to game SP4 and falsely compare that to the Rabid/Sads gaming the Hugos.

    Anyway, my “boycotting” (ie, not participating) has nothing to do with JJ’s or anybody else’s opinions about the Dragon Awards.

  43. I would not assume that the nominated KU authors are entirely separate from the puppies. At a couple of con panels, it appeared that at least some of the KU folks who got nominated are proteges of Larry Correia and/or KJA

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