2019 Dragon Award Nominations

The 2019 Dragon Award Ballot was posted on August 7.

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
  • A Star-Wheeled Sky by Brad R. Torgersen
  • Europe at Dawn by Dave Hutchinson
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  • Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • House of Assassins by Larry Correia
  • Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
  • Armageddon Girls by Aaron Michael Ritchey
  • Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
  • Imposters by Scott Westerfeld
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  • The King’s Regret by Philip Ligon
  • The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • A Pale Dawn by Chris Kennedy, Mark Wandrey
  • Order of the Centurion by Jason Anspach, Nick Cole
  • Marine by Joshua Dalzelle
  • Sons of the Lion by Jason Cordova
  • The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
  • Uncompromising Honor by David Weber

Best Alternate History Novel

  • Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling
  • Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
  • The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Iron Codex by David Mack
  • The World Asunder by Kacey Ezell
  • Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove, Nancy Holder
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher
  • Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray
  • The Replicant War by Chris Kennedy
  • The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack
  • Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Best Horror Novel

  • Cardinal Black by Robert McCammon
  • Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
  • Riddance by Shelley Jackson
  • We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
  • Zombie Airman by David Guenther
  • 100 Fathoms Below by Steven L. Kent, Nicholas Kaufmann

Best Comic Book

  • Batman by Tom King, Tony S. Daniel
  • Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart
  • Mister Miracle by Tom King, Tony Daniel
  • Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man by Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
  • The Batman Who Laughs by Scott Snyder, Mark Simpson

Best Graphic Novel

  • Berlin by Jason Lutes
  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarret J. Krosoczka
  • I Am Young by M. Dean
  • Monstress Vol. 3 by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
  • On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
  • X-Men: Grand Design – Second Genesis by Ed Piskor

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Game of Thrones, HBO
  • Good Omens, Amazon Prime
  • Lucifer, Netflix
  • The Orville, Fox
  • The Umbrella Academy, Netflix
  • Star Trek: Discovery, CBS All Access

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Alita: Battle Angel by Robert Rodriguez
  • Aquaman by James Wan
  • Avengers: Endgame by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Captain Marvel by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home by Jon Watts
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Apex Legends by Electronic Arts
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odysssey by Ubisoft
  • Life is Strange 2 by Dontnod Entertainment
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 by Rockstar Games
  • Outer Wilds by Mobius Digital
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth by Blizzard

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Cyber Hunter by NetEase
  • Elder Scrolls: Blades by Bethesda Softworks
  • Grimvalor by Direlight
  • Harry Potter: Wizards Unite by Niantic, WB Games San Francisco
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones by Nerial
  • Sega Heroes: Puzzle RPG Quest by SEGA

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Architects of the West Kingdom by Garphill Games
  • Betrayal Legacy by Avalon Hill Games
  • Cryptid by Osprey Games
  • Everdell by Starling Games (II)
  • Nemesis by Awaken Realms
  • Root by Leder Games

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

  • Call of Cthulhu: Masks of Nyarlathotep Slipcase Set by Chaosium Inc.
  • Fallout: Wasteland Warfare by Modiphius Entertainment
  • Keyforge: Call of the Archons by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Magic: The Gathering Ravnica Allegiance by Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic: The Gathering War of The Spark by Wizards of the Coast
  • Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team by Games Workshop

49 thoughts on “2019 Dragon Award Nominations

  1. Well, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel categories are certainly “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others”. 😀

    I’m especially glad to see Dave Hutchinson’s and Robert Jackson Bennett’s novels being recognized.

  2. That looks like a pretty organic ballot to me. I guess the Dragon Awards are maturing and building up a sizable voter-base. Gratz to the nominees!

  3. @JJ

    My thoughts exactly. Each category has 5 Big Names…. and one who had to mobilise their fanbase for this.

  4. Comparing current Amazon Kindle sales rankings in the sf novel category:

    A Memory Called Empire — #10,784
    A Star-Wheeled Sky — #131,090
    Europe at Dawn — #206,122
    Record of a Spaceborn Few — #13,912
    Red Moon — #62,490
    Tiamat’s Wrath — #2,142

    Ummmm, yeah, okay…..

  5. @JJ and @Mark —

    My thoughts exactly. Each category has 5 Big Names…. and one who had to mobilise their fanbase for this.

    Actually, those Correia fantasy books have been selling very well for a while now.

    Current sales rankings in the fantasy novels:

    Deep Roots — #122,884
    Foundryside — #22,491
    House of Assassins — #12,959
    Lies Sleeping — #28,726
    Spinning Silver — #9,306
    The Raven Tower — #20,638

  6. With the exception of the Torgersen and Correa novels, the Best novel categories are quite exceptional this year. I’m pleased to these Awards are becoming mainstream in who nominates them.

  7. @Contrarius

    Well in which case I’ll amend my statement to “mobilised his fanbase even though he might not have needed to”

  8. Ha —

    I was just reading some reviews for A Star-Wheeled Sky, and one of them actually complains because the story has too many female characters in positions of power. LOL! I may have to check out this book after all!

  9. Larry didn’t “mobilize his fanbase”. I’m a member of said fanbase. He specifically told us not to nominate him.

  10. Is there really any science fiction/fantasy in Red Dead Redemption 2? Zombie cowboys? Alien cow rustlers? Valley of the Gwangi dinosaurs?

    A quick web search suggests there’s at least a vampire scenario. Kinda like Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. (Remember: Billy the Kid is the hero in that movie. He’s the victim of bad publicity.) I guess that might get it into the category.

    Anything else? Might have gone with the Spider-Man game instead.

  11. @Jack Lint: Is there really any science fiction/fantasy in Red Dead Redemption 2?

    You have to go off the beaten path, but I’ve run across crgebtylcuf sebz na napvrag grpuabybtvpny pvivyvmngvba and something that appears to be gur fprar bs n Urnira’f Tngr fglyr phyg fhvpvqr.

    I still say those trophies look like bottled turds.

  12. @Chris Chupik

    Well, let’s look at the sequence of events. Larry promoted the Dragon Award in general, and himself in particular, in the first couple of years. He got nominated. He then moved to just promoting the awards to his fans, but saying not to nominate him. He got nominated again.

    I guess there might be a bunch of people who like Larry enough to nominate him but not enough to ever read his blog, but it seems to me that the simplest answer is that Larry knows exactly what he’s doing.

  13. Closer to what looks like a normal distribution in the sf and fantasy sections. The real problem is still their one email address = one vote method of restricting voting and a contingent who already uses multiple email addresses to bogart polls.

  14. Correa did manage to get a perfectly legitimate Hugo nomination before the whole kerfluffle started. It was only the fact that he didn’t win that caused his massive ego to spiral out of control.

  15. Christopher M. Chupik on August 7, 2019 at 10:09 am said:

    Larry didn’t “mobilize his fanbase”. I’m a member of said fanbase. He specifically told us not to nominate him.

    Larry Correia isn’t a real fanbase mobilizer 😉

  16. How are those finalists selected again? I’d appreciate a pointer. I agree, some impressive choices.

  17. Sfadb says his novel Warbound was a Hugo finalist in 2014. It lost to Ancillary Justice, which probably has a lot to do with why the puppies were so obsessed with badmouthing that one.

  18. I’m almost tempted to vote for Machines Like Me, if only because the idea of Ian McEwan winning a Dragon Award amuses me. Though I’ll probably vote for The Calculating Stars in the end.

    In general, it’s a good ballot. The self-promoters managed to hold Best Military SF and usually get one token finalist in every category. Though Larry Correia has a big fanbase, even though his work isn’t to my taste at all, so his nomination isn’t exactly a surprise. Not sure how big Torgersen’s fanbase really is these days.

  19. Since Ian McEwan did not hit the Booker Prize longlist this year, he gets a Dragon nomination as a consolation prize. Which is sort of tradititional for the award.

  20. Thinking about it, DC has a strong contingent of Baen fans, and Larry is a familiar face at the con, so it’s feasible that this is just the workings of the particular constituency at DC.

  21. Cora Buhlert: In general, it’s a good ballot. The self-promoters managed to hold Best Military SF and usually get one token finalist in every category.

    Yes, it looks to me as if it’s a carefully-curated ballot. For the novel categories, 2 or 3 of the novels from the Most Popular lists (hence the MacEwan), 1 or 2 novels by Puppy authors, and 1 or 2 novels by self-published authors; any fan group which managed a significant showing in the nomination submissions got at least one finalist. It’s an attempt to appeal to as wide a constituency of fans as possible.

    I once attended a retreat for an organization with which I was involved, where one of the exercises was taking an abbreviated version of the MMPI. The way it was scored was by rubbing the chosen item number on the answer sheet with a coin, revealing the “classes” of the choices, which were identified by symbols such as a star, a circle, a square, etc. I noticed while I was taking the test that if you tilted your answer sheet against the light, you could see the faint outline of the shape associated with each possible choice without actually rubbing it first. But I went ahead and answered exactly as corresponded with my real-life responses — because when you cheat on something like that, the only person you’re cheating is yourself.

    One of the team members was someone for whom I held little respect; they were what I would call a self-promoter, bullshitter, and person of little conscience and fewer scruples. During the evaluation of the test results, their result ended up having exactly the same number of choices in each of the categories, equally spread across each “class” — in other words, a completely-balanced personality (which does not happen in nature). They were quite shocked and alarmed when their assessment, rather than being a personality profile such as the rest of us got, was “your life is likely in flux right now, and thus an accurate assessment is not possible; try re-taking the test a few months from now”. Which is to say, the test called “bullshit” on their responses.

    That’s exactly what this Dragon Awards ballot reminds me of.

  22. I think JJ is spot on. Correia might not have asked to be nominated, but he does mentor a lot of the Kindle Unlimited writers who showed up at Dragon Con last year so…

  23. @Stephen —

    How are those finalists selected again? I’d appreciate a pointer. I agree, some impressive choices.

    Nobody really knows how they get chosen. That’s a large part of the problem. Their rules very clearly state, multiple times, that the award’s admins can change the votes however they like, for any reason they like, with no allowance for protest.

    General question: are any of the listed indie authors from the 20booksto50k crowd?

  24. Christopher M. Chupik on August 7, 2019 at 10:09 am said:

    Larry didn’t “mobilize his fanbase”. I’m a member of said fanbase. He specifically told us not to nominate him.

    Chris is correct. There is something odd there. Larry has been a consistent promoter of the awards and has also been clear that he doesn’t want to be nominated. The promotion of the awards, in general, has been thin and hence I’d think the most likely way fans of Larry’s would be reminded to vote would be because of Larry’s promotion of the awards on his blog and facebook where he overtly asked people not to nominate him. Also, weren’t the Dragon Awards notifying authors in advance now and checking whether they wanted nominations?
    So not a deep mystery but still a little odd.

  25. Contrarius on August 7, 2019 at 2:22 pm said:

    General question: are any of the listed indie authors from the 20booksto50k crowd?

    No. There’s a cluster of authors around Chris Kennedy, whose not 20booksto50k per-se but a similar publishing approach to LMBPN and some overlap.

  26. Thanks, Cam. I’m surprised they didn’t mobilize for the Dragons the way they did for the Nebulas.

  27. Contrarius comments that Nobody really knows how they get chosen. That’s a large part of the problem. Their rules very clearly state, multiple times, that the award’s admins can change the votes however they like, for any reason they like, with no allowance for protest.

    So they are the Schodinger’s Kitten of selection rules? H’h. Well the results this year suggest the kittens even if they cannot be observed were for the most part both well-behaved and quite intelligent.

  28. If there’s no transparency to the nominating process, it seems quite possible, looking at the “Best Science Fiction Novel” and “Best Fantasy Novel” lists, that they are the product of an intelligent top-down “curating” process, with Torgersen and Correia included to placate the puppy constituency. That’s more or less what it looks like to me.

    edit — I see their site solicits nominations and says they are “gathered and reviewed to create the final ballot”.

    On another note, I’m pleased to see Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land in the “Best Alternate History Novel” category. I’m currently reading and enjoying it.

  29. Pingback: The 2019 Dragon Award Finalists: Mainstream Respectability at Last? | Cora Buhlert

  30. StephenfromOttawa says : If there’s no transparency to the nominating process, it seems quite possible, looking at the “Best Science Fiction Novel” and “Best Fantasy Novel” lists, that they are the product of an intelligent top-down “curating” process, with Torgersen and Correia included to placate the puppy constituency. That’s more or less what it looks like to me.

    That’s actually a quite reasonable explanation. Otherwise the presence of just one Puppy friendly nomination makes not a lot of sense. Neither one of them stands any chance of winning, so they’re simply tokenism at its very worse.

  31. @Cat —

    Neither one of them stands any chance of winning, so they’re simply tokenism at its very worse.

    I would not faint if Correia won. Looking at those sales figures (and other sales figures that I’ve occasionally saved since the books were published), it’s clear that a lot of people have been reading this new fantasy series of his. They obviously aren’t popular with the Hugo crowd, but they’re popular with somebody.

    I don’t expect him to win, but I wouldn’t faint.

  32. The board game category looks fairly mainstream too. Here are the Best Board Game entries sorted by their ranking on BoardGameGeek (based on the game’s average rating by users):

    (44) Root by Leder Games
    (86) Architects of the West Kingdom by Garphill Games
    (144) Nemesis by Awaken Realms
    (163) Everdell by Starling Games (II)
    (387) Cryptid by Osprey Games
    (576) Betrayal Legacy by Avalon Hill Games

    I’ve seen fairly extensive discussion of most of these games; Nemesis is the only one I hadn’t heard of, and I probably just missed it. Keyforge, in the collectible card-game category, is ranked at #251. Root is the second-highest ranked game published in 2018; the #1 game according to BGG is Brass: Birmingham, which isn’t SF/fantasy. (Although Architects of the West Kingdom isn’t fantasy; it’s just in a medieval setting.)

    Overall this list seems to match the tastes of current boardgame players pretty well.

  33. I’m not sure why the presence of just one puppy-friendly work per category should be seen as improbable. Given that nominators have one vote each, you can’t (without conspiracy) have a faction taking over all or a large portion of the ballot, as you could (and to an extent still can) in the Hugos; you would expect the ballot to represent a balance between different factions, and that is what we find.

    One thing that surprises me a bit is that the YA/MG category has no overlap at all with the Lodestar. Although it’s not an area I know much about, the Lodestar ballot struck me as fairly mainstream, with Ireland and Black, at least, being leading figures in the field, so I am wondering why the divergence.

  34. Contrarius says reCorreia that I don’t expect him to win, but I wouldn’t faint.

    I would. That series got much worse with each subsequent novel. I made it through the third novel before giving up in utter disgust and never went back. I’ve skimmed later novels at the local Books-A-Million to see if maybe they got better but the writing got even worse.

  35. @Andrew M

    One thing that surprises me a bit is that the YA/MG category has no overlap at all with the Lodestar. Although it’s not an area I know much about, the Lodestar ballot struck me as fairly mainstream, with Ireland and Black, at least, being leading figures in the field, so I am wondering why the divergence.

    Part of the reason may be that the odd eligibility period of the Dragons kicked out some Lodestar finalists. But the YA/MG ballot, which was the most mainstream category at the Dragons, is a bit weird this year with three broadly popular works, two fairly obscure indie books and one mainstream book which neither seems to be particularly popular (and YA books can be hugely popular) nor sell particularly well.

    Regarding Correia, what are bugs to us are apparently features to his fanbase.

  36. Cora Bulhert sagely opines that Regarding Correia, what are bugs to us are apparently features to his fanbase.

    Quite true. I’m not much of a fan. I’m a reader, so I’ll rarely read the complete oeuvre of any writer. If a novel doesn’t appeal, no matter how much I like that author in general, I just don’t read it, ie I still haven’t read Territory by Emma Bull even though I’ve been told it’s great as the idea doesn’t appeal to me.

    I had great hopes for another novel I just gave up on as the first person narrator became incessantly whiny and that was a definite turn-off. Kritzer’s forthcoming Catfishing on CatNet is my current novel. And Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted is my current graphic novel.

  37. @Cat —

    I would. That series got much worse with each subsequent novel. I made it through the third novel before giving up in utter disgust

    The currently nominated Correia book is not part of the Monster Hunter series. This is a new sword-and-sorcery fantasy series, and the nominated book is book 2 in the series. And as I said, they’ve been selling very well — much better than his Monster Hunter books are currently doing.

  38. Contrarius says The currently nominated Correia book is not part of the Monster Hunter series. This is a new sword-and-sorcery fantasy series, and the nominated book is book 2 in the series. And as I said, they’ve been selling very well — much better than his Monster Hunter books are currently doing.

    I’ll bite. Have you read them? If so, how are they? Selling fast doesn’t make them good. There’s lots of books that sold fast which are pure merde such as almost anything Clive Cusler did past Night Probe.

  39. @Cat —

    I’ll bite. Have you read them? If so, how are they? Selling fast doesn’t make them good.

    I’ve got both of them in audio (bought when on sale, because they’re narrated by the wonderful Tim Gerard Reynolds), but I haven’t listened to them. And I haven’t made a single claim about whether they’re any good — only that a lot of people are purchasing them.

    Look back up at those sales numbers I posted — they’re selling faster than any book in their category except for Spinning Silver. And if a lot of people are buying them, then they have a reasonable chance of winning a popularity contest like the Dragons regardless of whether we would think they’re good or not.

    Now, obviously (if you’ve seen my earlier posts on various threads), I’m a huge fan of Spinning Silver, and I hope it wins. But as I said earlier, I won’t faint from surprise if the Correia wins instead.

  40. Contrails says Now, obviously (if you’ve seen my earlier posts on various threads), I’m a huge fan of Spinning Silver, and I hope it wins. But as I said earlier, I won’t faint from surprise if the Correia wins instead.

    Well I’ve already done my ballot and my vote was for Spinning Silver. The only categories I didn’t vote in were the gaming ones as I’m not a gamer. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse got my film vote and Record of A Spaceborn Few got my SF novel choice.

  41. Pingback: The 2019 Dragon Award Finalists: Mainstream Respectability at Last? | Cora Buhlert

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