First Dragon Awards Presented

Dragon Con announced the winners of the inaugural Dragon Awards at a ceremony on September 4 emceed by Bill Fawcett.

John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Terry Pratchett and Naomi Novik were among the winners.

In terms of victories for publishing houses, Vox Day’s Castalia House picked up two awards, Baen, Tor and Del Rey one each, and a self-published book won.

Sad Puppy Declan Finn was shut out again – though only because Superversive’s Brian Niemeier won the category they were both nominated for.

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)

Best Fantasy Novel

  • Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)

Best Alternate History Novel

  • League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Best Apocalyptic Novel

  • Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)

Best Horror Novel

  • Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (Self-published)

Best Comic Book

  • Ms. Marvel

Best Graphic Novel

  • The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Game of Thrones

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • The Martian

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games

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

  • Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.

Fran Wilde posted a photo of the awards ready to be given out.

Ray Radlein made a funny. (There was no category File 770  could have been nominated in.)

591 thoughts on “First Dragon Awards Presented

  1. On Southern naming:
    My whole family is pretty much strictly Southern going back a loooong way. We have examples of all the customs people have mentioned. I and my mother have feminized forms of our fathers’ names. I have an aunt who’s first name was a man’s name – her uncle, my great-uncle, plus female cousins with feminized or exact male names. Many of us primarily use our middle names, including my mother, her father, me, my father’s mother, my son (Yes, I did the same thing to him that I’d complained about my whole life! Tradition. who knew?), etc.

    We’re not as big on the double names, but it was common to address someone by first and middle name. At home I got both names only if I was in trouble, but many in the family and among friends just used both my names every time I was addressed or discussed. They also did this to a large percentage of all family and friends.

    I was moderately involved in genealogy for a while (still dabble some), and naming traditions were a boon and a bane. One bane was called English naming convention (or similar) where the first born son was named after the father’s father, second son after the mother’s father, third son might be after the father, and daughters were reversed – mother’s mother, then father’s mother, etc. Since everyone tended to stay in the same rural area you end up with 4, 6, even 8 men in the surviving records with the exact same name at the same time. (Middle names don’t show up until the late 18th to early 19th centuries in Southern records.) Occasionally there’s a Junior or Senior, but those weren’t used just to denote father/son, sometimes just older and younger men (who might be uncle/nephew, cousins, or unrelated!)

    The boon is that starting with middle names, they did often preserve the mother’s maiden name. Since women’s given names weren’t even always used in the 17th century (just ‘wife’ or ‘daughter’), and their maiden names weren’t always listed, even on marriage records – it can be impossible to trace maternal lines passed a certain point. So these middle names (usually for sons) are sometimes the only way find a great-grandmother’s family.

    My maiden name is ‘Smith’ (I’ve been chuckling about all the Smith snark recently) which, as you can imagine, can be hard to trace back in time. I got incredibly lucky that someone had found a 17th century Virginia traveling preacher’s notebook about marriages he performed that included one marriage where the woman had an unusual surname and the man, a Smith, had an unusual given name and, apparently, her whole family and this new son-in-law all moved to new territory that eventually became Kentucky. He was the only Smith (with his sons) that were in that area for many years!!!! Since I could positively trace Smith ancestors back to that county, I was able to jump back to the end of the 17th century in Virginia! (This is what makes genealogy so much fun for me. It’s like a detective hunt.) But I haven’t been able to trace the Smith line any further back. We call this a ‘brick wall’. Most of the reason I only dabble now is because I’ve hit walls in all my other hunts, too.

    Wow! I seem to have written a book. Oh, well, it’s File 770. Anything can happen here, maybe the shoggoth will show up behind one of my walls.

  2. For relief from the pain of misspelling I offer you Aspirin. Spotted this in the wild a few minutes ago. Guess which publisher. Yes, Bean again!

    It’s spelled correctly everywhere else on the book.

  3. Aaron: Congratulations of stopping the deliferate mistale.

    (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. If the Baenistas catch on they’ll claim they meant to do it.)

  4. What most occurred to me after the Dragon awards was what Spock said in Amok Time: “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”

  5. rcade: I don’t want to oversell the point, but if an avid reader of fantasy in the 1980s told me she had never heard of Dragonlance I’d be surprised.

    Ah, but that’s my point. It isn’t a question of whether an avid reader of fantasy had heard of them — it was a question of whether they would actually have read them.

    I considered books in series such as Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms to be media tie-in books to gaming. They were often, even usually, shelved by gaming stuff rather than by SFF books. And they had the appearance (at least, to me) of being extruded fantasy product — which I had absolutely no interest in reading. And therefore, I took no interest in who was doing the extruded fantasy art on their covers.

  6. @Magewolf

    Oh yeah, I know about Elmore now, after the sla^H^H^H nomination was announced. It’s just that it’s entirely possible for someone to have been an avid Dragonlance reader, and not know Elmore’s name.

  7. And they had the appearance (at least, to me) of being extruded fantasy product — which I had absolutely no interest in reading.

    I was an avid RPGer in the 1980s (come to my house and I will show you my extensive collection of TSR products, alongside my Traveller, Rolemaster, DragonQuest, and other 1980s RPGs) and I didn’t bother with the Dragonlance books for much the same reason. As I recall, I was put off of all game-related fiction for an extended period of time after I read Gygax’s Saga of the Old City.

  8. A friend loaned me the first Dragonlance trilogy. As I recall, it was an okay extruded-fantasy-product except it had huge holes in it. “Insert Game Module Here”. My impression of it was half of the climactic scenes were more told about in retrospect than actually shown (because Game Module). My memory may be mistaken, but that’s the impression I took away from the book, and that stopped me from buying any TSR imprint books afterwards.

  9. It’s only been over the last couple of years I’ve paid any attention to who did cover art. I read books. I might buy or not buy a book because of a cover but I didn’t take time to find out the artist. Most of the time that’s still true. It’s only stunning covers of this year’s SFF I take time to note/track down an artist for Hugo nominations.

    I avoided TSR books like the plague in the 1980s and ’90s both due to covers and because of who published. I assumed in my tweens they’d be boring and probably male adventure oriented as well as repetitive. I didn’t play D&D. *gasp she’s a fake geek*. Media tie-in books didn’t make sense until recently as a concept… Well I did read my brother’s Conan books when we were little kids but I didn’t know they were media tie-in at the time. Fanfic made more sense when I was introduced to the concept in my 30s.

    We did play games caroms, scrabble, monopoly, sorry, UNO, LOL. I don’t remember names of stuff on PS2, Atari, or Apple 2c/e. #NotRealGamer

  10. Red Wombat mentioned ” the rather strange novel ‘Heroing.’ ”

    “rather strange” is a very polite way to describe it. I usually just refer to it as the classic example of a male writer trying to write a bad-ass female character by writing a male character with the genitalia filed off. I only got a few chapters in before my eyes rolled so far up in my head I couldn’t see the pages anymore.

  11. I was in bookselling in the 1980s and for a long time the Dragonlance novels sold very well – hatefully well because it meant they ended up crowding out much of the rest of my stores’ small SF sections. Much later, I think the bottom did fall out, but they did very well for a long time.

  12. Somehow Paul’s comment reminds me that I once ran a PBEM Amber game (using Everway) that flamed out as spectacularly as any PBEM has ever flamed out. Made me scared to GM in meatspace for a solid two years afterward. Now that is gaming cred, people.

  13. I’m not sure if I was aware of the Dragonlance novels in the 1980s or if they were even available where I lived, since living in a non-English speaking country means that the pre-internet selection of English language books was limited, though we had a bookstore was a pretty good selection and a whole spinner rack of English language SFF books. And while visiting English speaking countries, I probably noticed that “Hey, this Dragonlance series is sure popular”, but they wouldn’t have been a priority to buy with so many other books available.

    Though I have the occasional media tie-in from the 1980s and 1990s (early Star Wars books, a novelisation of the TV series V), which suggests you could find them. I also have a Buck Rogers book that might have been a gaming tie-in, if there was a Buck Rogers RPG during the time (I bought it because I recognised the name Buck Rogers), and a Battletech book I bought while stuck at an airport, because it was the most readable thing available.

    I certainly hadn’t heard of Larry Elmore before he was nominated for a Hugo this year and my book on fantasy art from the 1980s does not include him. However, when I looked at Elmore’s page during the Hugo voting, I recognised his style, so I must have seen his work somewhere.

    But whether Elmore was big in the 1980s and 1990s or whether we knew him before voting is irrelevant, because his Hugo nomination was for work done in 2016, not for work done in the 1980s and 1990s. And his 2016 work was one rather underwhelming book cover. I didn’t no award him, but I ranked him fairly low on my ballot.

  14. Cora: I didn’t no award him, but I ranked him fairly low on my ballot.

    He did not provide links to any other 2015 work, and if that rather underwhelming book cover was the only pro work he published in 2015, in my opinion, he did not belong on the ballot. So I no-awarded him, and I don’t feel bad about doing so.

    With regard to the Hugos, I’ve gotten more self-confident with my judgment over the years to the point now where, if I find myself thinking, “Well, I guess this work is okay…”, then it goes below No Award. For me the Hugos are intended to recognize excellence, not okayness. I know that other people are more kind and generous than me in that regard, and that’s fine. À chacun son gout.

  15. @IanP: Piano delivery for you, sir, if you’ll just stand here on this big red X to receive?

  16. Hampus Eckerman on September 7, 2016 at 6:42 am said:

    rcade:
    “The Dragonlance novels were as much a literary project as a gaming one, and the look of that entire line and many of the early covers were by Elmore.”

    Did anyone who wasn’t into D&D read Dragonlance?

    I guess the discussion has moved on days ago, but I read a lot of Weis & Hickman stuff even though I never really cared for gaming. I suppose you could sorta see the die rolls there, but the first trilogy was still among the best newer fantasy books that were available here in translation at the time. They also had the coolest covers because they used the Elmore artwork, so I definitely recognized (and also ended up voting for) him.

  17. Popular opinion at the time was that the second Dragonlance trilogy (the one where they were no longer running the story parallel to the RPG modules) blew the first one away and was actually some decent stuff despite its RPG tie-in status. I know I liked the first one a little better because more women and I didn’t like the twins that much, but I also could see they were worse as books even as I enjoyed more about them. Early training in “good” vs. “I like”.

    I’d be terrified to try either now, or any of the follow ons. I think I’d have a much harder time getting past the “Blonde NDN* Princess”, or the clunks in writing.

    *Native American or First Nations people properly, but not for this misuse.

  18. Yeah, there were a lot of other stuff by Weis and Hickman that I just absolutely loved – Rose of the Prophet, Death’s Gate, heck, even Darksword had it’s moments – but Chronicles and Legends were both really….weak. Overall, as well as in comparison to some of the other stuff that the Dragonlance books had going on

  19. @Lenora Rose: Pretty much ALL of the Dragonlance books after the first trilogy were an improvement. Until TSR realized how much money there was in the Dragonlance Mine, and they were pushing six DL books per month …

    I was a crazy-active library user at the time, but I still have a ton of those out in the garage.

  20. I’m actually re-reading Chronicles at the moment and… yeah, I think things have moved on in the fantasy genre since it was written. I can’t really comment on the quality of the writing as I’m reading it in Turkish this time, but the plotting and characters don’t stand up to a lot of scrutiny.

  21. My comment recommending the P*rnokitsch post about the Dragonlance’s influence on later fantasy was stuck in moderation. Maybe it was the name of the site or the link to the article that raised flags, but you can find it with Google if you like, I guess.

  22. spacefaringkitten on September 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm said:
    My comment recommending the P*rnokitsch post about the Dragonlance’s influence on later fantasy was stuck in moderation. Maybe it was the name of the site or the link to the article that raised flags, but you can find it with Google if you like, I guess.

    Thank you, interesting article.

  23. @SFK

    Yup, the *adult film* bit of the url throws it into moderation, had the same problem myself. You can pass it through an url shortening service and post that to get round it.

  24. Much later, I think the bottom did fall out, but they did very well for a long time.

    IIRC, DL was a victim of TSR overproduction and the false impression that fans would buy any EFP TSR published.

    I think it was Stackpole who wrote about late TSR’s no stars policy, where any author the fans asked for by name got dropped, because fans were supposed to be loyal to TSR, not e.g. R.A. Salvatore. This made sense because they were getting minimal returns on everything. Well, until the day of the million dollar return, when all the returns that had been piling up in Random House warehouses were sent back in one massive shipment.

  25. @SpacefaringKitten – thanks for that article. Very interesting. Maybe a year ago I re-read the first dragonlance book and, wow was the writing awful. I loved it as a kid, though, and still appreciate some of the elements.

  26. Ah, but that’s my point. It isn’t a question of whether an avid reader of fantasy had heard of them — it was a question of whether they would actually have read them.

    That feels like moving the goalposts to me.

    The original question under discussion was whether non-gamers who followed SF/F in the 1980s would have heard of Elmore, who the puppies posited was “everywhere” back then. I think you’ve seen plenty of evidence in this discussion that he had reach in SF/F beyond just RPG gamers.

    Whether someone has read an author or has just heard of an author is irrelevant when we’re talking about how well known they are.

    (Pedantic nit: No one was reading Elmore. He’s an artist.)

    And they had the appearance (at least, to me) of being extruded fantasy product — which I had absolutely no interest in reading. And therefore, I took no interest in who was doing the extruded fantasy art on their covers.

    That’s your right, but for me in the 1980s there was no separation between media tie-in SF/F and other SF/F. They were all just SF/F.

  27. I think it was Stackpole who wrote about late TSR’s no stars policy, where any author the fans asked for by name got dropped, because fans were supposed to be loyal to TSR, not e.g. R.A. Salvatore.

    Wow. I’ve never heard about that before. One of the things I couldn’t understand about RPG gaming in the 1980s boom was how game designers never got the star treatment in hobby magazines that pros did in comics.

    Ask fans to name famous RPG designers and their list began and sometimes ended with Gary Gygax.

    Ask the same question in comics and several dozen people would be named.

  28. Eric Franklin on September 9, 2016 at 4:09 pm said:

    I should have known there was a Dragonlance board game.

    Looks like you can get it in “Very Good” condition for about $20 if you’re in the US.

    More info on the game itself.

    @Camestros Felapton – was it any good?

    A flatmate bought it second hand in a charity shop mid/early 1990s. Yes, it was fun. I can’t remember how you played other than the stacking discs – which really impressed me as a game play either. Actually three-dimensional movement.

  29. Rcade:

    “The original question under discussion was whether non-gamers who followed SF/F in the 1980s would have heard of Elmore, who the puppies posited was “everywhere” back then. I think you’ve seen plenty of evidence in this discussion that he had reach in SF/F beyond just RPG gamers.”

    I have actually seen evidence that he was absolutely not everywhere. He seems to only have been involved in games and tie-ins to games.

  30. @Eric Franklin:

    I should have known there was a Dragonlance board game.

    Looks like you can get it in “Very Good” condition for about $20 if you’re in the US.

    That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than Squad Leader, which runs about 10x that.

  31. I have actually seen evidence that he was absolutely not everywhere. He seems to only have been involved in games and tie-ins to games.

    A link upthread to ISFDb shows Elmore did 58 covers in the 1980s. Twenty five of them were not game-related, including covers of novels by Keith Laumer, David Drake, C. J. Cherryh , Mercedes Lackey and S. M. Stirling.

    I think the puppies are right that Elmore had a reputation in SF/F beyond gamers in that decade. Why that means he should have won a Hugo in 2016 remains a mystery.

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