Dragon Ballot 2021
I’ve got some good news. The Dragon Award Ballot is out. Let’s see who’s on it, shall we?
First up, Best Science Fiction Novel
And the finalists are…
Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Machine by Elizabeth Bear
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
I kid, but barely.
I know Andy Weir. If you’ve seen or read The Martian, so have you. I’ve been a fan of his since his webcomic Cheshire Crossing (Mister Weir, you’re famous now, if you want to finish the damn story, please do so, damnit). From there I went on to his other webcomic … which I’ve forgotten the name of (it had “Andy” in the title, but damned if I can recall the rest.)
I’ve at least heard of Doctorow. Robinson and Bear ring a faint bell, somewhere off in the distance. Everyone else… I repeat: Who?
I’m voting Weir on this one.
Moving on to…
Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
Dead Lies Dreaming by Charles Stross
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Butcher, cool. Sanderson, cool.
Everyone else … yikes, who are these people? I feel like I should know Susanna Clarke, maybe Stross, but I couldn’t tell you who they are for the life of me.
I’m voting Butcher on this one, for the record. Battle Ground was awesome, so he can finally get an award for a Dresden novel.
Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips
A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Hey, a bunch of friends of mine wanted to vote for A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking. I’m glad they got their wish. And Naomi Novik is still writing, that’s good for her. And Lou Diamond Phillips has a book out? I might even check that one.
Until I’ve read them all, I’ll have to go for A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking.
Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
Gun Runner by Larry Correia, John D. Brown
Demon in White by Christopher Ruocchio
Sentenced to War by J.N. Chaney, Jonathan Brazee
Fleet Elements by Walter Jon Williams
Direct Fire by Rick Partlow
Orders of Battle by Marko Kloos
Hey, Chris has an award nomination again. Damn that’s awesome. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to be in MilSF. He wants to be in SF. Oh well, like with my books, once he’s in a category, it’s impossible to get out of it.
And Chris is up against John Brown, so that might get dicey.
My vote here goes to Demon in White.
Best Alternate History Novel
1637: No Peace Beyond The Line by Eric Flint, Charles Gannon
Daggers in Darkness by S.M. Stirling
The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
Hey, Doctor Gannon finally has a nomination. Cool. He gets my vote.
As for the others … eh, I’ve met Stirling, so to heck with him. Harris has been okay, I don’t think I want to see her do Alternate History, though. Ellis can take a long walk off of a short plank. And I see Kowal found enough people at Tor to fake some IP.
My vote here goes to 1637: No Peace Beyond The Line
Best Media Tie-In Novel
Firefly: Generations by Tim Lebbon
Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy by Timothy Zahn
Penitent by Dan Abnett
Shadows Rising World of Warcraft: Shadowlands by Madeleine Roux
Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
MacGyver: Meltdown by Eric Kelley, Lee Zlotoff
Best Horror Novel
The Taxidermist's Lover by Polly Hall
True Story: A Novel by Kate Reed Perry
Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
Synchronicity by Michaelbrent Collings
Nope. Good luck with this one.
Best Comic Book
Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett
Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward
Once & Future by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora
X-Men by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar
Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto
I read Immortal Hulk for a while. It didn’t suck. It was even, gasp, fun.
I’m sure someone can point out to me how it turned to garbage.
Best Graphic Novel
The Book Tour by Andi Watson
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Pulp by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips
The Magicians: New Class by Lev Grossman, Lilah Sturges, Pius Bak
Dracula, Motherf**ker by Alex de Campi, Erica Henderson
The Green Lantern Season Two by Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp
Ah, Ed Brubaker. Good to see he’s still kicking.
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
Resident Alien, SYFY
Shadow & Bone, Netflix
The Expanse, Amazon
The Nevers, HBO
Star Trek: Discovery, Paramount+
Oh look, nothing but crap.
I guess it’s time for The Expanse to win again.
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Bill & Ted Face the Music by Dean Parisot
Godzilla vs Kong by Adam Wingard
The Old Guard by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Justice League by Zack Snyder
Space Sweepers by Sung-hee Jo
Tenet by Christopher Nolan
Wonder Woman 1984 by Patty Jenkins
This one isn’t filled with suck. Cool. I’ve heard good things about Justice League and Gozilla v Kong (never has a lawsuit been more fun). Some people even liked Tenent. I saw the Old Guard, but it was a little slow for me.
Vote goes to: Godzilla vs Kong by Adam Wingard
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Ubisoft
Star Wars: Squadrons, Electronic Arts
Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt
Hades, Supergiant Games
Ghost of Tsushima, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Crusader Kings III, Paradox Interactive
For the first time, I’m surprised I know most of these.
Now, here, I’ll make a bet.
I’m voting for Crusader Kings III. I’ll be happy if it goes to Hades. But it’ll probably go to something stupid like Valhalla.
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, Ustwo & Plug in Digital
South of the Circle, State of Play Games
Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells, Zynga
Empire of Sin, Paradox Interactive
Genshin Impact, miHoYo
Orwell's Animal Farm, The Dairymen Ltd.
I’ve been out of the mobile scene too long. I haven’t heard of any of these.
But I’m definitely checking out Orwell's Animal Farm
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
Curious Cargo, Capstone Games
Oceans, North Star Games
Sleeping Gods, Red Raven Games
Pandemc: Legacy Season 0, Z-Man Games
Dune: Imperium, Dire Wolf Games
Marvel United, CMON Games
Nope. I’m telling all these guys to F off. I don’t bother with board games.
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
Pokemon TCG: Champion's Path Elite Trainer Box, Pokemon
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Soulbound Role-Playing Game, Cubicle 7
Magic: The Gathering, Zendikar Rising, Wizards of the Coast
Cyberpunk RED, R. Talsorian Games
Magic: The Gathering, Strixhaven: School of Mages, Wizards of the Coast
Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Wizards of the Coast
Again, not my categories.
So, who do you want to vote for out of this list?