Twenty-four books that stretch the boundaries of genre hit the shelves this month, with a resurgence of steampunk for teens, and for adults, zombies, horror, alt-histories, and a few dystopian tales. Look for new series additions from, among others, Lisa M. Stasse (Forsaken); Larry Correia (Grimnoir Chronicles); Naomi Novik (Temeraire); M.K. Hume (Merlin); and C.J. Redwine (Defiance). Also look for new story collections from Michael Z. Williamson and Christopher Golden.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders through a portal into a different world, where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. She has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. The elegant veneer shatters. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.
A new horror anthology featuring work from, among others, Jeffrey Ford, Kij Johnson, Gemma Files, Tamsyn Muir, Ian Rogers, Gary McMahon, Megan Arkenberg, Adam Nevill, and Lucy Snyder.
Alenna escaped. It was expected that she would die on the wheel, the island where would-be criminals are sent as directed by the UNA, the totalitarian supercountry that was once the United States, Mexico, and Canada. But Alenna and her boyfriend, Liam, made it to safety. Except safety, they will soon learn, is relative. In order to bring down the UNA, they must first gain control of the wheel. If the mission succeeds, the wheel will become a base of revolution. But between betrayals, a new Monk leading a more organized army of Drones, and the discovery of a previously unknown contingent, Alenna, Liam, and their allies might be in over their heads. One thing Alenna knows for sure: There will be a reckoning. And not everyone she loves will make it out alive.
A hard-hitting collection of the best fiction of Michael Z. Williamson, creator of the popular Freehold military SF saga, along with a helping of truth-telling nonfiction by a guy who has been there and done that. Duty in the face of danger on a planetary scale. Pride and competence in the face of idiotic clients who hate that that they need your services, and an enemy who wants to make your bad day even worse. These are stories of the warriors and civilians who get things done in extreme situations, whether it’s rescue from a ship broken in space and leaking air and radiation, hard choices by a brigade of mercenary swords in a world of blood and magic, or scramble and response by troops in the Sandbox doing what it takes to make it through another scorching, rocket-filled
Only a handful of people in the world know that mankind’s magic comes from a living creature, and it is a refugee from another universe. The Power showed up here in the 1850s because it was running from something. Now it is 1933, and the Power’s hiding place has been discovered by a killer. It is a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. Earth is next. Former private eye, Jake Sullivan, knows the score. The problem is hardly anyone believes him. The world’s most capable Active, Faye Vierra, could back him up, but she is hiding from the forces that think she is too dangerous to let live. So Jake has put together a ragtag crew of airship pirates and Grimnoir knights, and set out on a suicide mission to stop the predator before it is too late.
It’s a wonder humanity ever survived into the twenty-first century. Editor Steve Berman has collected stories that reveal the threat of revenants and the living dead is far from recent. From the Bronze Age to World War II, this anthology guides us through millennia with stories from, among others, Victoria Janssen, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Adam Morrow, S.J. Chambers, Paul Berger, Lee Thomas, Ed Kurtz, Jonathan Maberry, Sean Eads, and Scott Edelman.
Young Adult. In the Faerie realm, Noli Braddock’s relationship with her best friend V has grown into something more. But V’s mother, Faerie Queen Tiana, has ruled that they are forbidden to see each other. Returning to the mortal realm, Noli joins the crew of her brother’s air-pirate ship, the Vixen’s Revenge. There she discovers that her brother has hired the scallywag Faerie huntsman, Kevighn Silver. While serving as shipmates, Kevighn and Noli learn that the Earth Court King plans to find a forbidden artifact, one that will bring destruction to everyone Noli loves.
In a steampunk version of America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian (Kit) Kittredge makes her living investigating magic crimes and exposing the frauds behind them. Lady Diana Walsh calls on Kit to investigate and dispel the curse she believes responsible for carving hateful words into her own flesh as she sleeps. As Kit investigates, she becomes convinced that the attacks on Diana are part of a larger, more ominous plot. Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of nefarious deathmage Lucien Dredmore and the unwelcome scrutiny of police Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle. Kit uncovers a massive conspiracy that promises to ruin her life, and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive. Ebook.
As Elle devotes herself to her duties as the Oracle, who alone has the power to keep the dark designs of Shadow at bay, Marsh finds himself missing the excitement of his former life as a Warlock. So when Commissioner Willoughby of the London Metropolitan police seeks his help in solving a magical mystery, Marsh is only too happy to oblige. But in doing so, Marsh loses his heart, literally. In place of the flesh-and-blood organ is a clockwork device, a device that makes Marsh a kind of zombie. A plague of clockwork zombies is afflicting London, sowing panic and whispers of revolution. Now Elle must join forces with her husband’s old friend, the Nightwalker Loisa Beladodia, to track down Marsh’s heart and restore it to his chest before time runs out.
Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt. To the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire, along with some unexpected allies and old friends, will face their ultimate challenge, and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.
Cataveiro (The Osiris Project)—E.J. Swift (August 13, Night Shade)
A boat is shipwrecked on Patagonian shores, and rumors abound that it has come from ‘the lost city’ Osiris, believed to have been destroyed over 50 years ago. The implications are wide-reaching and acutely political, for in the eyes of the world Osiris is only a collection of fables. Pilot and cartographer Ramona, recently returned to the island of Tierra del Fuego, has a broken plane, and the only person who can fix it for her is the Antarctican, Taeo, a political exile desperate to find a way back home. Taeo discovers there is one survivor of the shipwreck: the sole proof that Osiris exists. He and Ramona find themselves caught up in a perilous conflict of interests over the secret of the sea city, a secret which will have repercussions on their lives, their homes, and their loved ones.
A talented healer, Merlin has traveled extensively, becoming a trusted advisor to rulers and kings the world over. But when Merlin finds his way back to Britain, he comes under the attention of the brutal war leader Uther Pendragon. Uther wants Merlin to use his powers for evil to help him conquer women and kingdoms alike, but when Merlin protests, the insatiable Uther threatens to eliminate anyone close to him, and thousands of lives are at risk. Merlin’s personal morality is challenged and he must decide whether sacrificing his sense of what is right for the good of an entire people is something he can bring himself to do.
Supernaturally gifted Magnolia Kelch seems to have her surging powers under control. She arrives home to find a group of strangers in her beloved farmhouse, and that control is immediately put to the test. Magnolia learns that her “guests” are part of the Network, not from the task force headed by her mentor, Thirteen, but a second group, led by British agent Colin St. Pierre. Theo, a Network agent who shares an intimate connection with Magnolia, doesn’t trust Colin as a new commander. Magnolia finds herself in the middle of Network infighting, asking herself who among those closest to her truly has her best interests at heart. Intent on tracking down the source of Magnolia’s powers, a familiar enemy resurfaces with a plan that is far more sinister than the Network has ever seen.
A battle to the death with six-hundred-year-old zombie Vikings in the frozen far North was just the beginning. Undercover activist Jane Harper and father-and-son whalers Jakob and Willem Olavson thought they sent the walking corpses to their graves for good. Jane’s Nordic allies and a motley crew of mates are shoving off on a new monster-killing ship to take the battle to the insidious creatures before they take over the world. Even if Jane and her crew can conquer an army of the swimming dead, murderous and cunning zombie whales, they’ll still face a floating graveyard of ghost ships packed with the next wave of the ravenous undead, who are hungry to settle the score with the last hope of humankind.
Among the transforming events in these twenty-two genre-bending stories: an office worker and his wife fade into a literal invisibility; a photographer discovers the unexpected in the faces of dead children; a girl moves onto a strange street when she fails to return from trick-or-treating; an artist devotes his career to contracting diseases; a plague of head explosions becomes a new form of terrorism; a couple’s aging dismantles reality; and a seemingly pointless life finds final expression in bits of folded paper.
When a portrait is lost that has maintained Quentin Collins’s youthful appearance for over a century, and has also kept his werewolf curse at bay, Quentin begins to dread the full moon. David, the sixteen-year-old heir to the Collins fortune, has fallen in love with Jacqueline, a young girl living at the Old House who is the reincarnation of Angelique. David and Jacqueline are swept back in time to the prohibition era of the Twenties, where David uncovers the dark secrets of the Collins family history. Dr. Nathanial Blair, an expert in the paranormal, has come to Collinwood because he suspects they are harboring a vampire. Barnabas Collins has returned to his coffin after a disastrous flirtation with life as a human. What Blair discovers places the entire Collins family in jeopardy.
A circus clown willing to give anything to be funny. A spectral gunslinger who must teach a young boy to defend the ones he loves. A lonely widower making a farewell tour of the places that meant the world to his late wife. A faded Hollywood actress out to deprive her ex-husband of his prize possession. A grieving mother who will wait by the railroad tracks for a ghostly train that always has room for one more. A young West Virginia miner whose only hope of survival is a bedtime story. These are just some of the characters to be found in this story collection. Introduction by Cherie Priest.
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2013 Edition—edited by Paula Guran (August 20, Prime Books)
Thirty-five tales from, among others, Peter S. Beagle, Jim Butcher, Mike Carey, Jeffrey Ford, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Langan, Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, Ken Liu, Helen Marshall, Sarah Monette, Ekaterina Sedia, John Shirley, and Rachel Swirsky.
Age of Godpunk: Collecting Age of Anansi, Age of Satan and Age of Gaia (Pantheon Series)—James Lovegrove (August 27, Solaris)
James Lovegrove presents three novellas with three different ’gods’ and their appearance in the worlds of man. Age of Anansi, Age of Satan, and a third novella Age of Gaia appearing both in print and ebook for the first time with the release of this omnibus edition.
Billy Moon was Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A. A. Milne, the world-famous author. Being the son of a famous author meant being ignored and even mistreated by famous parents; he had to make his own way in the world, define himself, and reconcile his self-image with the image of him known to millions of children. A veteran of World War II, a husband and father, he is jolted out of midlife ennui when a French college student revolutionary asks him to come to the chaos of Paris in revolt. Against a backdrop of the apocalyptic student protests and general strike that forced France to a standstill that spring, Milne’s new French friend is a wild card, able to experience alternate realities of the past and present. Through him, Milne’s life is illuminated and transformed.
Young Adult. Continues the story of warrior Rachel Adams and her love, Logan McEntire. With their city-state ravaged, their lives under constant threat from rival armies, and a band of survivors looking to them for leadership, Rachel and Logan must work to forge a new future for them all. Abandoning the ruins of their home to take their chances in the Wasteland, the group soon realizes their problems have only begun: an unknown killer, possibly inside their ranks, has begun picking off the survivors one by one. And Rachel and Logan must question whether the price of freedom may be too great, and whether they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.
Fergus Sheppard’s world changes forever the day his car crashes near the remote village of Allingley. He returns to thank the villagers who rescued him, and stays to work at the local stables. He will discover a gentler pace of life, fall in love, and be targeted for human sacrifice. Clare Harvey’s life will never be the same either. The young archaeologist’s dream find, the peat-preserved body of a Saxon warrior, is giving her nightmares. She can tell that the warrior had been ritually murdered. Fergus discovers that his crash is uncannily linked to the excavation. As the pagan festival of Beltane approaches, and Clare’s investigation reveals the full horror of a Dark Age war crime, Fergus and Clare seem destined to share the Saxon couple’s bloody fate.
Hot Times in Magma City—Robert Silverberg (August 28, Subterranean)
A volcano has erupted near Los Angeles. Now, the only thing that stands between downtown Hollywood and certain destruction by molten lava is a tight-knit band of recovering drug addicts. A highly unusual “disaster” novella.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continues this month with the release of Elysian Fields. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.