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The inaugural Dragon Awards highlight the populist side of science fiction and fantasy

The inaugural Dragon Awards highlight the populist side of science fiction and fantasy


The awards appear to be an alternative to the Hugo Awards

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Tor Books

This year’s inaugural Dragon Awards were handed out today at Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. The winners show a remarkable contrast to the recipients of this year’s Hugo Award winners, one of the major awards in science fiction and fantasy literature.

The Dragon Awards were instituted earlier this year in conjunction with the convention's 30th anniversary. The award is designed to be a "true reflection of the works that are genuinely most beloved by the core audience," the larger fan world, rather than the core literary circles that help choose the Nebula Awards and Hugo Awards. The Dragon Awards opened nominations and voting to the general public.

Nominations for the Dragon Awards were open to the general public

One of the nominated authors, Larry Correia, noted on his blog that "this award isn’t for a small clique to take turns telling each other how brilliant they are. This award is for all of fandom to celebrate what they think is great." The nominees certainly encompass a wide range of works, from critically acclaimed authors such as Ann Leckie and N.K. Jemisin to enormously popular ones such as Jim Butcher and Correia.

The awards have been hailed by a pair of groups calling themselves the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, with some members vocally identifying themselves with the alt-right movement. These groups have sought to put a small, select slate of works on the Hugo Award shortlists in the last couple of years by taking advantage of the Hugo Award's voting process. This year, their groups of nominees were largely voted down in favor of non-slated works.

In contrast to this year's Hugo Awards, winners of the top categories were predominantly won by authors associated with the Puppies movements, such as Correia, John C. Wright, and Nick Cole.

The Dragon Awards appear to have become an alternative for these movements to seek recognition. However, without having direct access to the breakdown of voters for each award, it's hard to tell exactly how these movements influenced this particular vote. The results do seem to show that they have had an influence on the eventual slate of winners.

Here are the winners of the 2016 Dragon Awards (winners in bold):

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • The Life Engineered, J-F. Dubeau (Sword & Laser)
  • Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller (Far Future Enterprises)
  • Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

Best Fantasy Novel

  • Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
  • Asteroid Made of Dragons, G. Derek Adams (Sword & Laser)
  • Blood Hound, James Osiris Baldwin (Gift Horse Productions)
  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Grave Measures, R.R. Virdi (Self-published)

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo (Holt)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley (Tor Teen)
  • Trix and the Faerie Queen, Alethea Kontis (Self-published)
  • Carry On, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Calamity, Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte)
  • Updraft, by Fran Wilde (Tor)

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
  • Blood in the Water, Taylor Anderson (Roc)
  • Chains of Command, Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Wrath of an Angry God, Gibson Michaels (Arc Flash)
  • Allies and Enemies: Fallen, Amy J. Murphy (Self-published)
  • The End of All Things, John Scalzi (Tor)
  • The Price of Valor, Django Wexler (Roc)

Best Alternate History Novel

  • League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
  • 1635: A Parcel of Rogues, Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis (Baen)
  • 1636: The Cardinal Virtues, Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt (Baen)
  • Deadlands: Ghostwalkers, Jonathan Maberry (Tor)
  • Bombs Away: The Hot War, Harry Turtledove (Del Rey)

Best Apocalyptic Novel

  • Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
  • Chasing Freedom, Marina Fontaine (Self-published)
  • Dark Age, Felix O. Hartmann (Self-published)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Desert and the Blade, S.M. Stirling (Roc)
  • A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchmen)

Best Horror Novel

  • Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (Self-published)
  • Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
  • Alice, Christina Henry (Ace)
  • An Unattractive Vampire, Jim McDoniel (Sword & Laser)
  • Chapelwood, Cherie Priest (Roc)
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (William Morrow)

Best Comic Book

  • Ms. Marvel
  • Astro City
  • Civil War II
  • Daredevil
  • DC Universe: Rebirth
  • Providence
  • Saga

Best Graphic Novel

  • The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • Chicago, Glenn Head (Fantagraphics)
  • March: Book Two, John Lewis & Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Virgil, Steve Orlando (Image)
  • Sacred Heart, Liz Suburbia (Fantagraphics)
  • Killing and Dying, Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Game of Thrones
  • Daredevil
  • Doctor Who
  • The Expanse
  • The Flash
  • Jessica Jones
  • Outlander

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • The Martian
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Crimson Peak
  • Deadpool
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
  • Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
  • Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
  • Undertale by Toby Fox
  • XCOM 2 by 2k Games

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
  • Quaser One by Emre Taskin
  • PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
  • Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
  • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
  • Talon by GMT Games
  • Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
  • Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil

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

  • Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
  • Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
  • Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
  • Mouse Guard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane
  • Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games

This year's nominees did represent a much broader range of novels that don’t typically make some of the other major award ballots, such as self-published works. The broader spread of categories, such as alternate history and military science fiction / fantasy, also help to bring some recognition to less visible works.