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The inaugural Dragon Awards (hosted by Dragoncon, the biggest party for nerds in the entire southeastern U.S.) went off smashingly. I can’t wait for them to release the results numbers so we can see just how many people actually voted. I’m going to throw out a number and say… hmm… 10,000. While that may seem like a high number, I’m guestimating and lowballing the potential voters by comparing them to the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2016.
Worldcon had 7,338 members (supporting and attending) and 2,903 voters for the Hugo Awards in 2016. That’s roughly 39.56% of members voting.
Dragoncon had 75,000+ attendees this 2016, but I seriously doubt the voter turnout was equivalent to the Worldcon voting participation. I dropped about 20% of the prospective votes due to general apathy to awards on a whole by Dragoncon attendees, guessing that the amount of Dragon Award voters was about a measly 17%. That would make the vote total about… uhh… math sucks… I write books not equations… 11,250. This number is probably high, but still… that’s a hell of a lot of votes.
I’ll be honest. I did not nominate anyone for the Dragon Award. Not because I didn’t feel any books weren’t deserving, but because I’d read about 450+ books so far this year, so I felt limited in what I could nominate because my options were too numerous. So I decided to wait and see who the nominees were and then vote.
So what I’ll do is post my pick in italics, and the winner in bold.
- Best Science Fiction Novel:
my pick — Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
winner — Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
Thoughts: This was a tough category, because I thought both books had solid merits. I went with Charles as my winner due to past experiences working with him in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. Still, Wright’s work is top-notch and there is no shame in losing out to him.
- Best Fantasy Novel:
my pick — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
winner — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
Thoughts: I had pegged this book back when it first came out as Larry’s best work to date. I never really imagined him as a high fantasy author, and this book blew any preconceived notions of Larry being a “monsters and guns” guy away. This is one of the rare fantasy books I’ve reread multiple times where the authors name on the cover isn’t Weis or Hickman. Plus, while I love Butcher, I just didn’t feel the same about this new steampunk series as I did his Codex Alera one.
- Best YA/ Middle School Novel
my pick — Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
winner — The Shepard’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
Thoughts: no shame here. Pratchett is the greatest, and even though I secretly hoped that Freer could pull off the upset, I knew deep down that Pratchett had this one locked up. If Freer hadn’t been nominated, my vote would have gone to Alethea Kontis’ “Trix and Faerie Queen”. I don’t do YA/teen romance normally but Kontis is a terrific writer who makes “the kissy parts” not too over the top. 😛
- Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
my pick — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
winner — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
Thoughts: Not a huge surprise here, though Django Wexler’s “The Price of Valor” was pretty good. Matched up against Weber’s SF/Fantasy mashup, though, it pales in comparison. This series is better than Weber’s Honor Harrington one.
- Best Alternate History Novel
my pick — Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
winner — League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Thoughts: For a voter, this category sucked. I had to choose between Novik, two separate 1632 novels, and Robert Conroy’s “Germanica”. There was no way I could put one above the other, so I pretty much dismissed the 1632 novels out of hand due to what I termed in my head a “vote split”, leaving “League of Dragons” and “Germanica”. I then pretty much flipped a coin 13 times (superstitious) and “Germanica” came out on top, 8-5.
Voting in this category, as previously stated, sucked. I hate when the decision is damn near impossible.
- Best Apocalyptic Novel
my pick — A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchman)
winner — Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
Thoughts: I have a vested interest in seeing a good friend win, so I picked Wandrey over Cole, even though I enjoyed both books equally. Considering how little press or push there was behind Wandrey’s latest, I was proud of how well he did to even make the short list. Cole’s novel was a tremendous piece of work and I’m glad that it was picked up.
- Best Horror Novel
my pick — Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
winner — Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (self-published)
Thoughts: This is the only category where I disagree with the process, primarily because I felt that “Souldancer” should have been in the Best Fantasy list. Still though, Niemeier’s “Souldancer” was an amazing (if slow-paced) work. I felt that “Honor at Stake” should have won, but I can’t fault them for sticking Souldancer in this category. It’s a weird freaking book!
- Best Comic Book
my pick — Daredevil
winner — Ms Marvel
Thoughts: I don’t really have an opinion on this one, because the most recent Daredevil is the only comic I’d read of those on the short list. Can’t vote for something I hadn’t read.
- Best Graphic Novel
my pick — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
winner — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
Thoughts: This one was a no brainer. An excellent book that is part of an excellent universe. I only wish that Gaiman wrote faster.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
my pick — The Flash (CW)
winner — Game of Thrones (HBO)
Thought: Penis! Floppy Penis! God damn you, Trey Parker! I can NEVER get that South Park song out of my head whenever I hear the GoT theme song come on and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!
In all seriousness, Dragoncon was made for something like Game of Thrones. I love The Flash, though, and with the series setting up the FlashPoint universe, the writing and series is going to be headed in a new and exciting direction. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it seems to be a long and predictable chess game where it’s Daenerys/Snow vs the White Walkers for control of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
my pick — Deadpool
winner — The Martian
Thoughts: I knew The Martian was going to win, so my Deadpool vote was a defiant vote in the face of conformity or some crap. I would have LOVED to see the hundreds of Deadpools at Dragoncon race up there to accept “their” award. Alas, it was not meant to be. A terrific movie beat out a hilariously fun one.
I don’t remember any of the games I voted for, which is a bad sign. I might have missed them.
So thoughts? How did your vote compare to the winners? Any surprises?