Scoring the 2022 Dragon Awards Nominees

2021 Dragon Award trophies. Photo by Sean CW Korsgaard.

The 2022 Dragon Award Ballot came out this week, and it was interesting to see that collectively the nominees are keeping up the trend toward becoming more organic year by year – books that are widely talked about, and may even be up for other awards in the field.

While the award instructions encourage writers to campaign (i.e., “it is perfectly acceptable for you to encourage your fans to vote for you”), there’s really no way to measure the effectiveness of calls for fans and fellow writers to support people’s Dragon Award ambitions – detailed voting statistics are never published.  Therefore, since the award was launched, File 770 has looked at the number of Goodreads ratings received by the finalists as a means of exploring how extensive their fan bases might be.

The 2022 ballot represents a further move away from “clique picks” and toward books that more readers are following, evident in the declining number of finalists that have microscopic totals of Goodreads ratings from readers. Here’s a year-by-year summary of the Dragon Award book finalists with fewer than 100 ratings as of the time the ballot came out:

2017 – 24

2018 – 11

2019 – 8

2021 – 3

2022 – 0

(I didn’t research the numbers in 2020.)

This year is the first time that none of the finalists have had under 100 Goodreads ratings. And altogether, only four books have fewer than 500 ratings.

Here is a list the 2022 Dragon Awards nominees with their date of publication and the number of Goodreads ratings as of August 15

1. Best Science Fiction Novel

33,404Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey (11/21)
19,002The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (3/22)
1,119Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky (8/21)
960You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo (11/21)
773Goliath: A Novel by Tochi Onyebuchi (1/22)

2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

22,686Book of Night by Holly Black (5/22)
10,832Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (9/21)
9,789Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher (4/22)
9,375Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee (11/21)
2,101Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James (2/22)
1,584Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham (2/22)

3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

43,917Gallant by V.E. Schwab (3/22)
41,084Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (9/21)
6,858Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko (8/21)
2,485A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger (11/21)
1,838Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor (1/22)
701A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell (9/21)

4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

4,376Backyard Starship by J.N. Chaney, Terry Maggert (9/21)
3,467Citadel by Marko Kloos (8/21)
1,094Against All Odds by Jeffery H. Haskell (4/22)
942A Call to Insurrection by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Thomas Pope (2/22)
716The Shattered Skies by John Birmingham (1/22)
560Resolute by Jack Campbell (6/22)

5. Best Alternate History Novel

32,142She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (7/21)
5,724When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (5/22)
2,046*The King’s Daughter by Vonda N. McIntyre (9/97)
969Invisible Sun by Charles Stross (9/21)
862The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley by Mercedes Lackey (1/22)
1271637: Dr. Gribbleflotz and the Soul of Stoner by Kerryn Offord, Rick Boatright (9/21)

(*) Goodreads apparently includes cumulative ratings from original 1997 publication.

6. Best Media Tie-In Novel

6,269Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil by Timothy Zahn (11/21)
4,017Star Wars: The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray (1/22)
456Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller (8/21)
449Star Trek: Coda: Oblivion’s Gate by David Mack (11/21)
238Halo: Divine Wind by Troy Denning (10/21)

7. Best Horror Novel

65,806The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (7/21)
17,404My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (8/21)
13,779The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig (7/21)
10,706The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (10/21)
10,706Hide by Kiersten White (5/22)
2,438Revelator by Daryl Gregory (8/21)

(Note: The two entries with 10,706 votes are not a mistake of duplication.)

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6 thoughts on “Scoring the 2022 Dragon Awards Nominees

  1. Regarding the numbers for The King’s Daughter, I don’t know if there’s a better/faster way, but you can figure out how many ratings are for specific editions, versus the usual overall number of ratings. If you click “Rating details” on the book page, in addition to the number of reviews at each star-level, the final line of the pop-up box gives the specific numbers for “This edition”.

    There appears to be 5 editions with the King’s Daughter title on Goodreads, with 15 ratings total (only 2 of the editions had any ratings).

    I know far too many people who don’t pay any attention to the specific edition they add to their Goodreads shelves, though, so I have no idea how much stock to put into edition-parsing like this.

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  3. Interesting. Those also look like a plausible spread of values for the 2022 finalists (i.e. one with a very high figure and then proportional drops. Also, what I call the “headline” categories (Science fiction, fantasy, horror – categories with equivalent major awards for whole genres) tend to have bigger figures than sub-genre categories – what we’d expect from an organic set of choices.

  4. For what it’s worth, ISFDB says there’s been only one printing on Jo Fletcher Books in the U.K. this year. There’s also been two epubs.

    In the UK, the book title is The King’s Daughter: Now a major motion picture.

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