At a lovely New York City gala, the winners of the 25th annual Lambda Literary Award for outstanding LGBTQ literature were announced—including the science fiction, fantasy, and horror category. Past winners have included Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest, Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett’s Point of Dreams, and Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite, as well as many, many books from small presses. Additionally, a few other categories this year included books that were a little speculative, or at the very least genre-bending.
The nominees for this years’ SFFH category were: (1) Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, Brit Mandelo, Lethe Press, (2) Chocolatiers of the High Winds: A Gay Steampunk Romance, H.B. Kurtzwilde, Clasp Editions; An Imprint of Circlet Press, (3) Green Thumb, Tom Cardamone, Lethe Press, (4) Heiresses of Russ 2012: the Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, Connie Wilkins and Steve Berman, Lethe Press, (5) In the Now, Kelly Sinclair, Blue Feather Books, (6) Night Shadows: Queer Horror, Greg Herren and J.M. Redmann, eds., Bold Strokes Books, and (7) The Survivors, Sean Eads, Lethe Press.
The award this year went to Tom Cardamone’s Green Thumb, from regular winner and queer spec-fic published Lethe Press. The book’s description is as follows:
Mutability blooms in the Florida Keys after the Red War and the genie boxes. King Pelicans with the brains of scientists and a single human hand in place of one webbed foot rule the ruins of half-drowned Miami. Slavers roam the deep waters offshore, taking captives to feed the voracious Kudzu Army and the human aqueduct bearing fresh water from Lake Okeechobee. On the last stretch of the Overseas Highway still standing, an albino seeress slowly becomes her name: White Flamingo. “You,” she says. “You will reach for the sun while staying rooted to the ground. But I fear your shadow will be much too long.”
Transformed by his father’s genie box in the late days of the Red War, Leaf has lived for decades or centuries alone in a collapsing Victorian house on a desolate sandy key, misunderstanding time, feeding on sunlight and dew. When at last he meets a boy like—but so unlike!—himself, Leaf understands he has met destiny and sets out on a long, strange journey. A post-apocalyptic, psychoactive, polymorphous-perverse pastorale, Green Thumb will startle you with its utter strangeness and break your heart with its fragile beauty.
And, in the anthology category, the winner was No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, edited by Justin Hall and published by Fantagraphics Books. Comics aren’t generally winners of the Lambda Award, so this is particularly neat to see.
Brit Mandelo is a writer, critic, and editor whose primary fields of interest are speculative fiction and queer literature, especially when the two coincide. She can be found on Twitter or her website.