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I can’t cover the topic of dragon art without mentioning Michael Whelan. He’s been an amazing talent and influence in SF/Fantasy for decades. Here’s the gallery on his web site. Please do check it out.

Whelan’s greatest and most recognizable contribution has been through his book covers. Beginning in the late 1970s, he created images that defined many of our favorite series. Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, C. J. Cherryh, Steven King, Robin Hobb, Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, Barbara Hambly, H. Beam Piper, and so many others,  all owe part of their success to Whelan’s outstanding work.

For me, the most important covers were for Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books. I adored these books when I read the first one while in high school, and I spent many happy years writing Pern fan fiction as part of Telgar Weyr (5th Pass).

Every moment I look at Whelan’s gallery, I find myself silently crying, “Oh! I remember that one.” I bet you will, too.

Re-Imagining

I often focus on story telling about dragons, but some of the most amazing dragon images are out there, too. So for a while I’ll be showing some great visual art that features dragons, starting with a project that appeared on Bored Panda.

According to his bio, artist Lynton Levengood has always focused on dragons, often showing them in modern situations to see how they fit (or don’t). In this case a friend asked him to do the comic character Deadpool in the form of a dragon. Levengood had so much fun, he was inspired to create several more.

Take a look here! And by the way, I’d love to get your comments and suggestions for great visual artists who depict dragons on a regular basis.

You know what else? April is also National Parks Month! So here’s just one more limerick that includes the very first American national park.

Way down under Yellowstone Lake,
The dragons would have a clam bake.
The fire was so hot
That geysers were got;
Oh, those dragons of Yellowstone Lake!

In case you haven’t figured it out, April is National Poetry Month. Hence, all the silly limericks I’ve been foisting on you. Here are a couple more.

A dragon from Skyclaw would fly
From the north to the south, and he’d fry
Some big tuna fishes
Because they’re delicious;
Then back to the north he would hie.

A dragon whose hoard was admired
Thought a housekeeper required.
While dusting the coin
A few she’d purloin;
So the housekeeper had to be fired.

 

A dragon so gentle and kind
Saw a unicorn badly entwined,
His silvery mane
Caught up in a chain,
So she helped him get out of his bind.

A Dragon Limerick

A dragon flew up to the Moon.
He carried a dish and a spoon
To have some green cheese,
As fresh as you please,
And he left all those holes on the Moon!

Recently, I heard that Dragon Con, the super-huge sf/media/everything convention in Atlanta GA, has decided to put forth their own awards, voted by fans around the world. After following the Hugo Awards Kerfluffle of 2015 with much interest, I had to check this out.

According to Dragon Con’s web site, “As a part of our 30th Anniversary as the nation’s largest fan-run convention, we are introducing a new way to recognize excellence in all things Science Fiction and Fantasy. These awards will be by the fans, for the fans, and are your chance to reward those who have made real contributions to SF, books, games, comics, and shows. Not only can you nominate and vote, the Dragon Awards lets you share your support with others!”

This sounds cool, but it’s pretty general. So my first thought is to compare the existing major awards for SF/media/everything with what Dragon Con proposes.

Nebula Awards are voted by active members of SFWA. They are awarded at a Nebula Conference.

Hugo Awards are voted by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, and given at the same. As we all heard, there was a ballot-stuffing scandal in 2015.

Locus Awards are nominated by a jury and voted by subscribers to Locus Magazine. They are given at WesterCons, if I recall.

Update: The Locus Awards are based on that magazine’s recommended reading list, which to me is a jury by another name; however, anyone can write in their own nominations. In addition, non-subscribers can vote for the Locus awards, but votes by magazine subscribers are weighted more heavily. Locus Awards were given at WesterCons at one time, but now have their own awards event.

World Fantasy Awards are voted by members of the World Fantasy Convention and also vetted by a jury. They’re awarded at World Fantasy, where else?

Eisner Awards are for comics only. Nominations are compiled by a jury and voted by comics professionals. They are awarded at San Diego Comic Con.

One of the distinctions I believe Dragon Con is trying to make, is that the existing prestigious awards are decided by a limited number of people — a jury, members of a particular convention or group — while the Dragon Awards will be nominated and voted by all fans. This sounds fair and noble, but I’m remembering that time when DC let fans vote on whether Robin should be killed by the Joker. They were aghast that fans wanted Robin dead. Was the outcome fair? Perhaps. But was it noble?

Already, some in the community responsible for the Hugo Awards Kerfluffle have been heard to gloat that now they will win because no bunch of snobs can vote them down. As you probably can tell, I’m a little tired of hearing privileged majorities play the dismartyrdom card. We’ll all find out in time.

I don’t necessarily agree that SF/media/everything needs another set of awards. However, I do believe Dragon Con is a large enough and inclusive enough organization to credibly present such an award. It will be interesting to see the outcome, and where it aligns or doesn’t align with the other awards.

To find out more about the Dragon Awards, click here.

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