Dragon Award winners will be selected by all fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – in an open nomination and final voting system. To accommodate as many creative genres as possible, awards will be given in each of 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming and tabletop gaming. Winners will be announced at the 30th Anniversary Dragon Con convention, which will be held September 2 to September 5, 2016 in Atlanta.
Winners will be selected in a two-step process. Using a dedicated Dragon Awards website, fans can nominate one (and only one) of their favorite properties in any or all the award categories. Nominations will be open from early April until July 25. The best and most popular of the nominated properties in each category will then be offered for a second and final vote beginning August 2. Fans will be allowed to vote just once for each category’s best in this final round of voting.
The categories for 2016 will be:
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 / collectable card / role-playing game
FYI, according to the above-linked website, the eligibility period extends from April 1, 2015, to July 25, 2016. This means works that are published/released before July 25 of this year are also in the running.
Personally, I'm happy Dragon Con is doing this. As some of my regular readers may know, I volunteered at Dragon Con as a flunky for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature Track - or, later, the Science Fiction Literature Track - from 2007 to 2015. Thus, I'm intimately familiar with the enthusiasm - an enormous geeky crowds! - this particular con attracts.
I like that the process is wide open. This means I can encourage my more cash-strapped fannish friends to participate. I also like the granularity in the literary categories -- and I like that they've included gaming.
The downside: You have to narrow your choices down to one favorite in each category. For me, that may be tough.
Overall, it'll be extremely interesting to see how this all turns out. Are you popping some popcorn?