Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for January

Eight genre-benders are here to enliven your January, from a new Elizabeth Hand collection to an eerie Salem-set murder! Samata Schweblin’s Fever Dream arrives in an English translation; Ellen Klages’ Passing Strange brings magic to San Francisco; and two kinds of high-school horror refresh your memory about the difficulties of growing up.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

 

WEEK ONE

Fire.—Elizabeth Hand (January 1, PM Press)
The title story, “Fire.” written especially for this volume, is a harrowing postapocalyptic adventure in a world threatened by global conflagration. Based on Hand’s real-life experience as a participant in a governmental climate change think tank, it follows a ragtag cadre of scientists and artists racing to save both civilization and themselves from fast-moving global fires. “The Woman Men Couldn’t See” is an expansion of Hand’s acclaimed critical assessment of author Alice Sheldon, who wrote award-winning SF as James Tiptree, Jr. in order to conceal her identity from both the SF community and her CIA overlords. Another nonfiction piece, “Beyond Belief,” recounts her difficult passage from alienated teen to serious artist. Also included are “Kronia,” a poignant time-travel romance, and “The Saffron Gatherers,” two of Hand’s favorite and less familiar stories. Plus: a bibliography and our candid and illuminating Outspoken Interview with one of today’s most inventive authors.

 

WEEK TWO

Teen Hyde (High School Horror #2)—Chandler Baker (January 10, Feiwel & Friends)
Young adult. Cassidy Hyde is NOT having a good year. Her boyfriend cheated on her, killed her best friend’s date during homecoming, and was then murdered in turn by a serial killer, and that’s without counting the thing that no one knows about. (But Cassidy doesn’t like to think about that.) The point is, anyone would be a little depressed and no one can blame her for looking for a little bit of help. That’s where Sunshine comes in. This new experimental drug makes Cassidy feel like everything is good and she’s the golden girl once again. A little memory loss feels like a small price to pay to get her life back. And the fact that boys are once again going missing (boys who Cassidy does NOT want to remember) has NOTHING to do with anything! Right? Thus begins Chandler Baker’s contemporary twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.

Dragon Springs Road—Janie Chang (January 10, William Morrow)
In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in. Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes. Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.

The Last Harvest—Kim Liggett (January 10, Tor Teen)
Young adult. “I plead the blood.” Those were the last words 17-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad’s throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely cattle ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest. Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma, slaughter, the whole town’s looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won’t leave him alone. Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity … or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

Fever Dream—Samata Schweblin (January 10, Riverhead)
A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.

 

WEEK THREE

No new titles.

 

WEEK FOUR

The Fifth Petal—Brunonia Barry (January 24, Crown)
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

Passing Strange—Ellen Klages (January 24, Tor.com Publishing)
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet. Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect. Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages.

Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories—Kim Newman (January 24, Titan)
A collection of horror short stories by acclaimed author, journalist and movie-critic Kim Newman. This volume contains 21 stories featuring famous figures from Jack the Ripper to Frankenstein’s monster, and includes a brand-new, exclusive Anno Dracula story “Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899.”

 

WEEK FIVE

No new titles.

 

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