Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The All-New Dragon Award

Via File 770, I see that DragonCon is initiating its very own award. I think this is great! They have such a huge base to draw on, unlike WorldCon, so I think it makes perfect sense for them to establish their own award.

Here are the categories:

Best science fiction novel
Best fantasy novel (including paranormal)
Best young adult/middle grade novel
Best military science fiction or fantasy novel
Best alternate history novel
Best apocalyptic novel
Best horror novel
Best comic book
Best graphic novel
Best episode in a continuing science fiction or fantasy series, TV or internet
Best science fiction or fantasy movie
Best science fiction or fantasy PC / console game
Best science fiction or fantasy mobile game
Best science fiction or fantasy board game
Best science fiction or fantasy miniatures / collectible card / role-playing game

Dragon Con is very sensibly defining a novel as a work over 70,000 words, except for YA/MG, which can be as little as 40,000 words. That seems fair.

Less sensibly, rather than defining the eligibility period as an easy-to-remember released-during-2015, Dragon Con is setting the eligibility period thus: To be eligible for the 2016 Dragon Awards the book, comic, game, movie, or at least one episode of any series has to have been released between April 1, 2015, and the close of nominations, July 25, 2016.

Except they also declare a different eligibility period for novels, thus: has been first released in print or ebook format between 1/1/2015 and 3/1/2016

Okay, whatever. It’s their award and if they want to define their eligibility period(s) in some screwy way, I guess they can. However, I expect they will clarify eligibility shortly so people know whether they mean “Released after January 2015” or “Released after April 2015.”

Other stuff to know: You only get to nominate one (1) work per category. Ouch! It was hard enough to narrow it down to five for the Hugo.

Okay, final thoughts: I think they should split paranormal/UF away from other fantasy; I think they should limit YA/MG to SFF, which they apparently don’t at the moment; I think they will have many details to iron out; I’m sure things will go wrong this year; I am still happy they’re trying to get a new award to take off and I hope lots of people participate. The link to register to vote is here.

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4 Comments The All-New Dragon Award

  1. Sandstone

    Huh, it’s very odd to me that they split out military, alternate history, apocalyptic, and horror as subgenres- that seems like such an odd grab bag that I suppose it must have been a fairly small group with very particular taste who made up the categories. (Consequently, I don’t think this award will be very useful to me because what they have broken out is almost a 100% overlap with genres I don’t typically read!)

    I would definitely have expected urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, space opera, possibly also hard SF/soft SF and SFF romance (I’m sure that subgenre has as many or more releases and readers as military SF?) too or instead of some of the above. It would have been neat to see something like best tie-in novel too. Maybe I am outdated, having grown up on 80s-00s fantasy, and those subgenres just aren’t really where the genre is “at” these days?

  2. Rachel

    The categories I’d break out — off the top of my head —

    High/epic fantasy
    Urban fantasy/paranormal
    Hard SF
    Soft SF — and let that encompass everything from sociological SF to space opera
    Military SF
    Alternate History
    Horror/Dark fantasy
    …and maybe Post-apocalyptic, there’s so much of that now. See, yeah, we’re both outdated

    I wouldn’t have thought of SFF-romance, but that would be an interesting category. Would you break up SF-romance and Fantasy-romance?

    I like the idea of best tie-in a lot, especially in awards which are also open to games and tv shows and so on.

    I actually do read all the above categories, even horror/dark fantasy a little.

    I like the novel length vs YA/MG novel length. I wouldn’t bother separating out the YA/MG at all except for length considerations.

    One short-form award for anything lower than 70,000 words would probably be good, too.

  3. Craig

    They may have been thinking that it’s easier to tell the difference between their categories and, say, hard v soft SF.

    I can understand the splits SF / Fantasy / Horror, and maybe military (though combining SF and Fantasy there is odd); I’m more dubious about apocalyptic and am surprised AH is big enough to get its own category (and I say that as a pretty big AH fan).

    It looks like they’re just handing out a trophy rather than taking the quick road to becoming important by tapping into their cash flow.

  4. Rachel

    Hopefully they’ll think about this carefully, revise as necessary, and see if they can actually establish their award as one of the important ones. But who knows?

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