2020 Dragon Awards

The winners of the 2020 Dragon Awards were announced today during the virtual Dragon Con.

The convention’s press release says more than 8,000 fans cast ballots.

1. Best Science Fiction Novel

  • The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Finch Merlin and the Fount of Youth by Bella Forrest

4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Savage Wars by Jason Anspach & Nick Cole

5. Best Alternate History Novel

  • Witchy Kingdom by D. J. Butler

6. Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • Firefly – The Ghost Machine by James Lovegrove

7. Best Horror Novel

  • The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

8. Best Comic Book

  • Avengers by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness

9. Best Graphic Novel

  • Battlestar Galactica Counterstrike by John Jackson Miller, Daniel HDR

10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • The Mandalorian – Disney+

11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by J. J. Abrams

12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Respawn Entertainment & Electronic Arts

13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Minecraft Earth – Mojang Studios & Xbox Game Studios

14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Tapestry – Stonemaier Games

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

  • Magic: The Gathering: Throne of Eldraine – Wizards of the Coast

40 thoughts on “2020 Dragon Awards

  1. 1. Best Science Fiction Novel

    The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

    I haven’t read it (yet), so I can’t say anything substantive, but a Scalzi win is hysterically funny. ;-D

    2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

    The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

    I thought the writing was beautiful, though the plot was a bit of a mess. But certain to set puppy teeth on edge, so there’s that.

    7. Best Horror Novel

    The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

    Yay, Wombat!

  2. Rob Thornton: Over half of the categories are Best /X/ Novel. Did you mean Best Science Fiction Novel? The usual suspects are probably unhappy to see a Scalzi win, but I doubt they’d have been much happier to have the novel about a clique of time-travelling feminists defending women’s rights against evil time-traveling men be the winner either.

    I was going to vote this year, but my local library didn’t quite have all of the nominees in any category, and many of the Best SF Novel candidates were sequels to books I hadn’t read. In one instance, the nominee was #3 in a series, and my library had #1 and #3 but not #2.

  3. @ Contrarius

    I haven’t read it (yet), so I can’t say anything substantive, but a Scalzi win is hysterically funny. ;-D

    Totes agree. 🙂 I read the first two books in that series but I just wasn’t entertained by them, so I dropped out. I am beginning to believe that Scalzi’s targeted audience is exactly the same one as Baen except without the political baggage. Fine by me, but I don’t belong to that audience. Whatever works for you, right?

  4. @Rob —

    I read the first two books in that series but I just wasn’t entertained by them, so I dropped out. I am beginning to believe that Scalzi’s targeted audience is exactly the same one as Baen except without the political baggage. Fine by me, but I don’t belong to that audience. Whatever works for you, right?

    In general I find Scalzi books middling interesting. I liked Red Shirts much more than a lot of people (meta, people, think meta!), and I enjoyed his rendition of the Fuzzy story, and I got a few chuckles from Agent to the Stars. OTOH, I hated the central conceit of Old Man’s War (personal pet peeve — I also hated the same conceit in Altered Carbon and other books as well), and I only read a couple in that series. But I did like Collapsing Empire except that it went over the top on the snarking, and I’ll be reading this one eventually.

    But, of course, the real fun is in watching puppy heads explode without any effort from me at all, as they spent so much time and effort in trying to make ours do. ;-D

    Oh, and PS — Finally the Dragons are actually representing popular taste. These winners (sf, fantasy, milsf, horror are the ones I’ve checked) are selling very well — right up there in the same range as the Hugo nominees.

  5. Pingback: Announcing the 2020 Dragon Awards Winners – Scifi Advisor

  6. I noticed that the Dragon Con Media Relations press release for the awards includes the line, “The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.”

    If they had only said “most popular” I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.

  7. @Mike —

    I noticed that the Dragon Con Media Relations press release for the awards includes the line, “The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.”

    Yeah, they just give themselves all sorts of outs. Anyone who thinks these are straight public-vote awards is just deluding themselves.

  8. Contraius says of the Best Novel Award that I haven’t read it (yet), so I can’t say anything substantive, but a Scalzi win is hysterically funny. ;-D

    It certainly won’t make the Puppies happy but it also demonstrates nicely that the Dragons are now a mainstream Award as Scalzi is a safe choice final vote was determined. They’ll never be as interesting as the Hugos which can unexpectedly do interesting things due to the whims of that group of voting fans.

    I voted for A Memory Called Empire. I really didn’t expect It to win.

    Now playing: ‘Til Tuesday’s “ Voices Carry”

  9. Pingback: Some Comments on the 2020 Dragon Award Winners | Cora Buhlert

  10. Neat!

    I’ve still never been contacted by anyone at the Dragon Awards and so played a brief, confusing game of “Congratulations!” “Err…for what?” on Twitter for a bit, but I’m glad voters liked the book!

  11. I read all of the Old Man’s War series and Red Shirts and they were enjoyable, but after reading The Collapsing Empire, I felt that I had read enough Scalzi and didn’t need to read any more unless he does something different.

  12. RedWombat on September 6, 2020 at 7:32 pm said:

    Neat!

    I’ve still never been contacted by anyone at the Dragon Awards and so played a brief, confusing game of “Congratulations!” “Err…for what?” on Twitter for a bit, but I’m glad voters liked the book!

    That’s interesting. They said in 2018 they’d contact finalists but they seem to have stopped in 2019.

  13. For myself, I’ve never encountered a Scalzi book that was less than engaging and readable (and I’ve read most of them)…but I’ve rarely encountered any qualities in them that make me want to go out of my way to get ahold of them, either. I’ve read The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire, and I anticipate that eventually The Last Emperox will be a discounted ebook or in next year’s Hugo packet, and I’ll enjoy it well enough, but I won’t be sorry that I waited to get it.

  14. It is interesting to see people being glad that one fandom’s favorites winning unlike the previous years with another fandom’s favs. More important for me is that detailed statistics (like for several Hugos) is absent, we are only told about 8000 votes in the press release not their distribution

  15. My problem with Scalz at least in The Collapsing Empire is that the speech of the characters were all pretty much the same, a kind of jokey sarcastic tone. Its constant use undermined the seriousness of the situation in the book.

  16. @Meredith —

    Y’all should just visualise me defensively hugging a copy of Lock In and growling. :p

    I haven’t listened to that one yet. But I own both versions of the narration. One of these days!

  17. @Red Panda Fraction: Well, that’s just Scalzi’s style. Have you read Old Man’s War? Same issue, but he was a lot less skilled at giving his characters distinct voices.

  18. I did say above that I had read the entire Old Man’s War series. There’s nothing wrong with Scalzi’s work, I just don’t enjoy it anymore and have a lot of other SF I want to read.

  19. “The Dragons and the Helicons are where you will truly discover the best of SF/F today.”
    [….]
    “When I heard Scalzi had jumped to fiction writing I pitied his poor editor.[….]Well, the only reason why he isn’t the worst SF/F writer of all-time is thanks to the presence of Jemesin in the field.”
    archive link

    The irony, it burns.

  20. Well – that was fun, imagining puppies’ little heads exploding is worth it.

    I’m not going to say who I voted for on the Dragon awards, but I agree with some of the comments here about Scalzi’s latest output. They’re definitely readable, suitable for a light reading session but nothing to set my literary world on fire. I’ll get the last book of the series during an Amazon discount and read it w/o a lot of fuss but it’s beyond my “pre-order now” stage.

    Thinking how many books and short story mags I’ve got in my to-read queue and seriously having an avalanche problem next to my reading couch – I better not get a physical copy this time so Kindle it will be.

  21. @Oleksandr: While the Dragons have not posted detailed voting statistics, it’s my impression that there are few awards which go into as much detail in regard to the vote results as the Hugos do.

    I could be wrong, but it’s my impression that the Hugos are unusually open about their voting statistics compared to other awards, rather than the Dragons being unusually secretive.

  22. @Joshua —

    I could be wrong, but it’s my impression that the Hugos are unusually open about their voting statistics compared to other awards, rather than the Dragons being unusually secretive.

    The Hugos are unusually open, but it is still true that the Dragons are even more secretive than the average.

    You see, the Dragons won’t even reveal whether the winners are actually determined by the vote totals or not — and they make many statements which allow them the wiggle room of ignoring the votes altogether. So there isn’t any way for the public to know whether their votes mean anything, or nothing at all.

  23. I went to Paolinelli’s site to see if there was any post about the Dragon Award winners. There was, but it’s marked “exclusive content”–i.e., you have to become a “premium member” and pay $2.00 per month to see it.

    Let’s see, is that worth $2 a month?

    Naahh.

  24. @Bonnie —

    I went to Paolinelli’s site to see if there was any post about the Dragon Award winners. There was, but it’s marked “exclusive content”–i.e., you have to become a “premium member” and pay $2.00 per month to see it.

    I noticed that! Seems an… interesting way to get your opinions heard. Talk about retreating into bubbles and Safe Spaces!

  25. Bonnie McDaniel: I’d pay $2 to read that post, but only if I get the option to quote from it here. Because I have the utmost faith in Richard’s capacity for being unintentionally entertaining.

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  27. @Oleksandr
    The Dragon Awards have never posted detailed voting statistics like the Hugos (and indeed, that’s very unusual. Most awards don’t release detailed statistics), but only vague figures like 8000 or 10000 ballots.

    That’s part of the problem with the award as are the official rules which are copied from boilerplate sweepstake rules and basically allow the admins to appoint a winner of their choosing. There is no evidence that they do this, but the fact that they could is troubling.

    Anyway, it’s a long and complicated saga.

    @redpandafraction
    My main issue with The Collapsing Empire was that I read it very shortly after I read the Hail Bristol trilogy by K.B. Wagers which did the “The unwanted royal chil inherits the throne, complete with intrigues and assasination attempts” so much better than The Collapsing Empire.

  28. Contrarius: the Dragons are even more secretive than the average. You see, the Dragons won’t even reveal whether the winners are actually determined by the vote totals or not — and they make many statements which allow them the wiggle room of ignoring the votes altogether. So there isn’t any way for the public to know whether their votes mean anything, or nothing at all.

    It’s even worse than that — with most awards, you at least know who the Administrators and/or Juries are, even if they don’t release the nomination and voting totals. The Dragon Awards are completely a black box. No one will admit to being the Administrator, and the rules basically allow that person(s) to do anything they want, including selecting the finalists and winners with complete disregard to the nominations and votes.

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