No More Lammys for Lethe?

Steve Berman, editor at Lethe Press, a leading LGBT indie press specializing speculative fiction, says Lethe will not be participating in the 2013 Lammy Awards. Berman has never made it a secret that he finds the whole process of the award unsatisfactory. I should know--I volunteer as a social media person for Lambda Literary and everything he tweets using @LambdaLiterary comes to me:

With the announcement of the updated guidelines for 2013, Berman has said Lethe will no longer, as a publisher, submit books to the award. As posted on Facebook:

This is surprising given the fact that in 2012, The German by Lee Thomas and published by Lethe won in LGBT SF/F/H, though in this case, I do see his point on insulting writers of speculative fiction--sci-fi is different from fantasy is different from horror and the idea of lumping all LGBT subject matters together makes the awards inconsistent and clumsy.

Arguably, it could be a problem of if these kinds of books are being published in large numbers--which is a problems Lambda has addressed in regards to Bisexual and Transgender works:
If the Bisexual category receives ten (10) submissions of fiction and ten (10) submissions nonfiction, the category will be separated into Bisexual Fiction and Bisexual Nonfiction.
If the Transgender category receives ten (10) submissions of fiction and ten (10) submissions of nonfiction, the category will be separated into Trans Fiction and Trans Nonfiction.
Yet a counterpoint is that there is a whole lot of LGBT sci-fi and fantasy and horror being published.

And what to make of "the inept handling of last year's judging" including a claimed lack of transperency and consistency? To be fair, the judges are listed each year in the program and books are subjective in the first place so it's not like a math equation where there is one right and true answer.

Whatever the issue, Berman thinks it warrants enough to withdraw his press. Would this be a good move for a small indie press? Is Berman alone?

1 comment:

  1. My huge complaint with the category is that lesbian authors of mystery do not compete with gay authors but the same cannot be true of spec fic writers.

    Transparency = judges are mentioned before the awards begin and their assigned categories mentioned. This is done for the majority of awards. It proves fairness.

    Last year in at least one category only 1 judge read a Lethe submission rather than all 4. So, it was not a fair assessment and a waste of Lethe money to submit the other 3 books.

    The Lethe authors are free to submit their books if they want. But the fees and books won't come from Lethe direct any more.

    Lethe Press