So yeah, I’ve been working on a book called Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers, about the stories caught up in the whole Puppies-versus-Hugos kerfuffle. I’m planning to cover every single Hugo-nominated prose story published from 2013 to 2016 (the years of the Sad Puppies campaign). I’m also going to look at the nominees for other SF/F awards from the same period – but in those cases I’ll be a little more discriminating about what gets covered and what doesn’t.
With the ballot for the second Dragon Awards announced, my main concern is figuring out which finalists are worth looking at in my book. So here goes…
First off: the Dragons have a weird eligibility period that lasts part-way into 2017. However, my book will be focusing on work published between 2013 to 2016. So I’ve
stricken out all of the finalists from 2017, which narrowed things down considerably. This is what I was left with:
Best Science Fiction Novel
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
Death’s End by Cixin Liu
Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli
Rise by Brian Guthrie
Space Tripping by Patrick Edwards
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier
Okay, I’ve already reviewed A Closed and Common Orbit and Death’s End at WWAC, and I know exactly where I’ll be discussing them in my book. Babylon’s Ashes is part of The Expanse, one of the Best Series finalists at this year’s Hugos, which means it was already on my to-cover list. The Secret Kings is the sequel to two books I’m covering, so I may as well squeeze it in. I’m going to be talking about indie newcomers who have made their debuts marketing to the Puppysphere, which’ll be a good time to mention Escaping Infinity.
That just leaves Rise, one of multiple Inkshares publications to end up on the ballot. I doubt I’ll be covering it, although Inkshares might be a phenomenon worth taking a closer look at elsewhere…
Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day
Beast Master by Shayne Silvers
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo
The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta
Wings of Justice by Michael-Scott Earle
Okay, I’m definitely going to be covering the Monster Hunter series in the book (clue’s in the title) and A Sea of Skulls was already on my list due to being on the 2017 Rabid Puppies slate.
The other three? Probably not culture war-relevant enough to warrant inclusion, alas.
Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Firebrand by A.J. Hartley
It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett
Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Swan Knight’s Son by John C Wright
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
John C. Wright’s getting a chapter, so that’s Swan Knight’s Son covered. I’ll admit that, out of the Puppy-aligned authors, L. Jagi Lamplighter isn’t someone I’d put thought into covering. I should be able to squeeze in her Rachel books, though.
I doubt I’ll be covering the other two, though.
Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
Allies and Enemies: Exiles by Amy J. Murphy
Caine’s Mutiny by Charles E. Gannon
Cartwright’s Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey
Invasion: Resistance by J.F. Holmes
Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox
Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz
Starship Liberator by B.V. Larson and David VanDyke
The Span of Empire by Eric Flint and David Carrico
I’m going to have a whole chapter about military SF, so I may as well take a look at all four of these. The Span of Empire is the only one I’m uncertain about in terms of kerfuffle-relevance.
Best Alternate History Novel
1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint
A Change in Crime by D.R. Perry
Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli
Breath of Earth by Beth Cato
Fallout: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
No Gods, Only Daimons by Kai Wai Cheah
The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville
Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler
Okay, while I do have plans for a chapter on alt-history, it’s currently pretty shapeless. I might give these a look.
Best Apocalyptic Novel
A Place Outside the Wild by Daniel Humphreys
American War by Omar El Akkad
Codename: Unsub by Declan Finn and Allan Yoskowitz
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz
Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
ZK: Falling by J.F. Holmes
Clean sweep here. The Obelisk Gate? Already reviewed at WWAC, and Jemisin’s getting a chapter. A Place Outside the Wild? One of a few zombie apocalypse novels to be championed by the Puppies, and so it’ll be covered in the horror chapter. Codename: Unsub? Well, I wasn’t planning to cover it, but since I’ve written about some of Declan Finn’s other books, and I’m going to have a chapter on apocalyptic fiction, it’ll be easy to fit in.
Best Horror Novel
A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau
Blood of Invidia by Tom Tinney and Morgen Batten
Donn’s Hill by Caryn Larrinaga
Live and Let Bite by Declan Finn
Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells
The Bleak December by Kevin G. Summers
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood
Blood of Invidia got a boost from the Puppysphere, and judging by its Amazon synopsis, it’s a jokey, self-aware urban fantasy. Alongside zombie apocalypse, that’s one of the few horror-adjacent genres that the Puppies have shown much support for. Into the horror chapter it goes, alongside Jim Butcher and Declan Finn.
I might give The Hidden People a mention as it was one of Vox Day’s picks, against the author’s wishes. Don’t see that The Bleak December is particularly relevant to my topic, though.