A lot of things are absent from the Dragon Awards ballot that I expected to see there.
Some of them I don’t miss. Some of them I do.
Best Novel Hugo Finalists: None of the 2018 Best Novel Hugo finalists made the ballot in any of the Dragon Awards’ seven novel categories. Update: As pointed out in comments, the 2018 Dragon Award eligibility period ran from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Only two of the Hugo finalists were released in that window of time, Provenance and The Stone Sky.
Did someone decline, and that’s why there’s no overlap? Not that I’ve found out so far.
Last year there was an issue whether some authors who wanted to withdraw would be allowed to do so, and in the end N.K. Jemisin withdrew, while John Scalzi changed his mind and left his book on the ballot.
I reached out to as many of the 2018 Best Novel Hugo finalists as I could to ask this question. Mur Lafferty (Six Wakes), Ann Leckie (Provenance), and John Scalzi (The Collapsing Empire) answered – and none of the three declined a Dragon Award nomination. (I also queried Jemisin’s agent, and hope to get an answer later.)
As a whole, the Hugo finalists seem like strong prospects to show up on a popularly-chosen award ballot because they have high numbers of Goodreads ratings – a lot of people have read these books.
Best Novel – total Goodreads ratings in parentheses (ineligible books
lined out) The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor) (19,217) New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit) (5,485)
- Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit) (6,907)
Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) (3,167) Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit) (6,220)
- The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) (22,285)
Slate Nominees: Also missing are nearly all the items recommended by the “Happy Frogs” and by Vox Day.
In May the “Happy Frogs OFFICIAL 2018 Dragon Awards Nominating Slate” was posted by Jon Del Arroz. Of their recommendations in 15 categories, only 2 items made the Dragon Awards ballot.
Their pick for Best Science Fiction Novel, Robert Kroese’s Dream Of The Iron Dragon, made it, although moved to the Best Alternate History category.
And their pick for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game, Middle Earth: Shadow Of War, is a finalist. However, that game has been a successful contender for other game awards, so the slate’s support may not have anything to do with the outcome.
In July, Vox Day posted his recommendations for the 2018 Dragon Awards, many of them published by Castalia House, and of the 15 things on his list just these 3 items made the ballot, none of them published by him. And the TV and movie entries that made the ballot already had widespread support.
Best Media Tie-In Novel
Before the Storm (World of Warcraft)
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series, TV or Internet
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Even for those who think the 2018 ballot is much better without most of the slate nominees, it surprises me that somebody with Vox Day’s track record of drumming up Hugo votes would have a problem repeating that success with an award where you don’t have to pay to vote. If that is, in fact, the case. (I’ve asked Vox Day for his reaction to the ballot.)
2018 Dragon Awards Finalists – How Many Goodreads Ratings? The 2018 Dragon Awards ballot’s seven novel categories contain the now-familiar range of bestsellers and little-known books (e.g., a nominee with only 8 Goodreads ratings).
Here is the number of Goodreads ratings for every Dragon Awards finalist (number in parentheses).
Best Science Fiction Novel
- It Takes Death to Reach a Star by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones (41)
- Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey (13,834)
- The Mutineer’s Daughter by Chris Kennedy and Thomas A. Mays (31)
- Win by Vera Nazarian (1,385)
- Sins of Her Father by Mike Kupari (65)
- Artemis by Andy Weir (90,847)
Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
- Shoot the Messenger by Pippa DaCosta (874)
- War Hammer by Shayne Silvers (973)
- Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (52,931)
- The Land: Predators by Aleron Kong (3,320)
- The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston (115)
- A Tempered Warrior by Jon R. Osborne (8)
Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
- Cold Bath Street by A.J. Hartley (44)
- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (47,737)
- When Tinker Met Bell by Alethea Kontis (145)
- Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne (1,142)
- Warcross by Marie Lu (37,703)
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (32,834)
Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
- Communications Failure by Joe Zieja (226)
- Points of Impact by Marko Kloos (3,300)
- Ghost Marines: Integration by Jonathan P. Brazee (125)
- Price of Freedom by Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle (243)
- Legend by Christopher Woods (74)
- A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope (1,003)
Best Alternate History Novel
- Dark State by Charles Stross (888)
- The Sea Peoples by S.M. Stirling (447)
- Witchy Winter by D.J. Butler (27)
- Uncharted by Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt (66)
- Dream of the Iron Dragon by Robert Kroese (142)
- Minds of Men by Kacey Ezell (33)
Best Media Tie-In Novel
- Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray (5,045)
- Before the Storm by Christie Golden (1,346)
- Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson (5,333)
- Fear Itself by James Swallow (123)
- Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck (117)
- Desperate Hours by David Mack (1,177)
Best Horror Novel
- Beneath the Lighthouse by Julieanne Lynch (42)
- Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (10,276)
- A Time to Run by Mark Wandrey (16)
- The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (3,935)
- Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (33,575)
- Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry (343)
Other Views: Camestros Felapton analyzes how his own predictions broke down in “Dragon Award Finalists: A Preemptive ‘No Award’ for Rabid Puppies?”
Update 08/07/2018: Noted books released before the Dragon Awards eligibility period.