2021 Dragon Awards Finalists
Posted on August 12, 2021 Posted by John Scalzi 19 Comments
It’s a pretty good year:
Best Science Fiction Novel
- Machine, Elizabeth Bear (Saga)
- Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline (Ballantine)
- Attack Surface, Cory Doctorow (Tor)
- A Desolation Called Peace, Arkady Martine (Tor)
- Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
- The Ministry of the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
- Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir (Ballantine)
Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
- Battle Ground, Jim Butcher (Ace)
- Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook)
- Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
- Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson (Tor)
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab (Tor)
- Dead Lies Dreaming, Charles Stross (Tordotcom)
Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
- The Scapegracers, Hannah Abigail Clarke (Erewhon)
- A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
- Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
- A Deadly Education, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
- The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira, Lou Diamond Phillips (Aethon)
- A Peculiar Peril, Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
- Sentenced to War, J.N. Chaney & Jonathan Brazee (Variant)
- Gun Runner, Larry Correia & John D. Brown (Baen)
- Orders of Battle, Marko Kloos (47North)
- Direct Fire, Rick Partlow (Aethon)
- Demon in White, Christopher Ruocchio (DAW)
- Fleet Elements, Walter Jon Williams (Harper Voyager)
Best Alternate History Novel
- A Master of Djinn, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
- Axiom’s End, Lindsay Ellis (St. Martin’s)
- 1637: No Peace Beyond the Line, Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
- The Russian Cage, Charlaine Harris (Saga)
- The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- Daggers in Darkness, S.M. Stirling (1632, Inc.)
Best Media Tie-In Novel
- Penitent, Dan Abnett (Black Library)
- MacGyver: Meltdown, Eric Kelley & Lee Zlotoff (Prince of Cats)
- Firefly: Generations, Tim Lebbon (Titan)
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands: Shadows Rising, Madeleine Roux (Del Rey)
- Star Wars: Light of the Jedi, Charles Soule (Del Rey)
- Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy, Timothy Zahn (Del Rey)
Best Horror Novel
- Synchronicity, Michaelbrent Collings (Written Insomnia)
- The Taxidermist’s Lover, Polly Hall (Camcat)
- The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones (Saga)
- The Hollow Places, T. Kingfisher (Saga)
- True Story, Kate Reed Perry (riverrun)
- Survivor Song, Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
Best Comic Book
- Immortal Hulk, Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (Marvel)
- Once & Future, Kieron Gillen & Dan Mora (BOOM!)
- X-Men, Jonathan Hickman & Mahmud Asrar (Marvel)
- Monstress, Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (Image)
- Invisible Kingdom, G. Willow Wilson & Christian Ward (Berger)
- Daredevil, Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto (Marvel)
Best Graphic Novel
- Pulp, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Jacob Phillips (Image)
- Dracula, Motherf**ker, Alex de Campi & Erica Henderson (Image)
- The Magicians: New Class, Lev Grossman, Lilah Sturges & Pius Bak (Archaia)
- The Green Lantern Season Two, Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp (DC)
- The Magic Fish, Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic)
- The Book Tour, Andi Watson (Top Shelf)
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
- The Expanse
- The Nevers
- Resident Alien
- Shadow & Bone
- Star Trek: Discovery
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
- Bill & Ted Face the Music
- Godzilla vs Kong
- Justice League
- The Old Guard
- Space Sweepers
- Wonder Woman 1984
It’s been interesting to see the Dragon Awards evolve over their relatively short lifetime. The first couple of years the awards were dominated by relatively obscure and/or niche titles, particularly in the book categories. Now the finalist pool appears to be both wider and deeper, which is to the benefit of the awards in general; it makes them a better sample of what’s going on in the genre at at large, and by and large a fine reading list for those folks dipping their toe into the genre for the first time.
Congratulations to the finalists, and I’m looking forward to seeing who gets to take home the pretty trophies over Labor Day weekend!
Yeah for A Master of Djinn! Awesome book
Thanks for posting that!
(You made a typo – the title of Kim Stanley Robinson’s book is “The Ministry for the Future,” not “of the Future.”)
I can see that, even as fast as I read, I’m not keeping up! And without your postings I’d probably not hear of many of these books. I enjoyed “The Ministry for the Future”; “Battle Ground”; “A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking”; “A Master of Djinn”; and “Axiom’s End.” I just now downloaded Susana Clarke’s “Piranesi” (the title makes me think of the outstanding book by Marguerite Yourcenar, “The Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays”).
As for some of the others, I’ll just have to wait and see. I have lots and lots of purchased but still-unread books!
“Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline (Ballantine)”
You’re giving an award to THAT?
Timothy E O’Sullivan:
The same typo was in the info Mike Glyer used for File 770. I suspect there will be a lot of typo correction across the Web.
I feel like most of those SF novels were excellent and one of them kind of isn’t. The ones I’ve read of the fantasy were all quite good (I didn’t read the Sanderson) and fun reads, but there’s probably three of them I’d think of as more ‘award worthy’ than the rest. (For example, one is a pretty good but probably not the best ever entry in quite a long running series, another is in the same setting as a series but part of a new series…my personal feeling is that if it were up to me, I’d award doing something ‘new’ above things like that, even if the series books might have me turning pages faster. The best is if they do both and a few on there definitely did.)
I agree with Aleksei,
I read Ready Player One after seeing the film and I thought it was an outstanding book. So much so that I can’t watch the film as I think of what could have been.
Player Two, I just had to stop about a third of the way through. Yes my opinion is subjective but there is a ton of other work out their that could have been nominated in it’s place.
The Expanse is a phenomenal book series but the show took science fiction television to new levels, like multi-million dollar budget movie levels! I would be absolutely delighted to see The Collapsing Universe presented on screen like The Expanse with a great cast, attention to detail and high-end CG. Come on Netflix, Amazon, HBO and all the rest. Make it happen!
That is a good list… although I threw up a little when I saw Star Trek Discovery on the list for best anything. It’s an extraordinarily well acted mess. The cast is fantastic. The writing is… not, or at least not for me, but as always your mileage may vary.
I remember haunting the aisles of bookstores in the 80s when I was in HS trying to find new fantasy or sci fi worth reading. The breadth and depth of material now is a little stunning to me sometimes when I think about those days.
Glad to hear I’m not the only one who didn’t like Ready Player Two. How about that Arkady Martine! And Ministry for the Future and… wow.
Stuff I’ve read (just in the prose categories)
Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook)
Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab (Tor)
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
The Hollow Places, T. Kingfisher (Saga)
How is Project Hail Mary? I really enjoyed The Martian but Artemis really didn’t click for me. So if PHM is more like The Martian, I’d give it a shot, but if not I think I’ll skip it…
Well, I liked “Project Hail Mary” a lot and thought “Artemis” was pretty underwhelming, so that’s one data point.
I’m only halfway through it, so there could be some major spoilers I’m not aware of, but so far Black Sun is a fantasy novel, not science fiction.
A deadly education is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read ever. I read it and then immediately read it again the next day. And a master of djinn is fantastic, but I read deadly education right after it and it’s even better. It’s been a great year.
(Seriously, everyone, read a deadly education! It is amazing. Everyone I’ve forced to read it agrees! You are so lucky if you are getting to read it for the first time.)
I persevered with Ready Player Two but was glad to finish it. Not a great book.
Lot’s to check out here. I’m surprised that Sylvain Neuvel’s A History of What Comes Next didn’t get a nod.
Project Hail Mary is more like The Martian than Artemis. Give it a go.
Sorry about the apostrophe abuse in my previous post. How embarrassing!
Not a bad ballot at all.
What caught my attention was the fact that, as far as I can tell, all of the nominees were published by traditional publishing houses. I’m still convinced there’s a lot of good indie work out there which just does not get seen. I await the day when the Andy Weirs of this world can make it without the Big Four behind them.
No love for Star Trek: Picard ?
Sarah, four of the novels are indie. Two are in YA and two in Best Military.