Twenty-one books straddle the fence known as genre this month, with Dorothy going all bad on Oz, Thomas Edison on a rampage, and the fate of the worlds past and present might lay in the hands of teenagers. Look for new titles from, among others, E.E. Knight, Christopher Moore, Mary Robinette Kowal, Christine D’Abo (Shadow Guild), Felix Gilman, Kelley Armstrong, Michael J. Sullivan, and A.A. Aguirre (Appratus Infernum).
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.
While out scouting in southern Indiana, Alessa Duvalier comes across a Kurian Conference being attended by every major military sect the Kurians have in the Midwest. Alessa and her warriors strike and achieve victory, only to discover an even greater threat to humanity. Most of the world’s resistance leaders and the Lifeweavers are gathering for a peace conference in Helsinki, Finland, and the Kurians have already inserted an agent among the delegates. David Valentine is chosen to be head of security for the Army of Kentucky representatives, and Alessa ignores his order to stay behind. She learns that the Kurian agent may be the least of her concerns. For the Lifeweavers themselves are about to reveal something that will devastate the Resistance.
Plans that have been shaped for over a thousand years will finally be executed when dragons awake and the gates between worlds are thrown open. Daniel and Freya, along with Alex, Vivienne, and the knight Ecgbryt, join together with the inhabitants of Nidergeard to confront the forces allied against them. Nidergeard lies exposed and the army that the dark wizard Gad has been gathering over the past years, made from giants, dragons, trolls, and yfelgopes, is finally assembled and ready to invade the nation. All that stands in their way is the Langtorr, the last standing structure in Nidergeard, and its inhabitants. The fate of Britain, and the world, all centers around the events of a single day, a day when the mystery of what lies behind The Fearful Gates is revealed.
I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. When your life gets swept up by a tornado, you have no choice but to go along. I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe. My name is Amy Gumm, and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. Then and only then, Dorothy must die!
Archivist Emmet Dennison has fallen from grace. Instead of extracting the memories of the dead, he finds himself assigned to protect Nicola Tesla, a woman who is as mad as she is brilliant. Nicola Tesla hasn’t met a man like Emmet Dennison before, intelligent, insightful and full of anger. She has no desire to pursue a relationship. Her life is her work and no distraction, no matter how attractive, will get in her way. Thomas Edison intends to grow his influence and take control of New London’s underbelly. When Nicola and Emmet are kidnapped by Edison and become pawns in his plot, their feelings for each other grow. Edison unleashes his creations on New London, putting Nicola in danger and forcing Emmet to choose between saving her life or saving his soul.
In 1893, young journalist Arthur Shaw is at work in the British Museum Reading Room when the Great Storm hits London. Arthur’s newspaper closes, owing him money, and all his debts come due at once. His fiancé Josephine takes a job as a stenographer. Arthur is given a job lead for what seems to be accounting work, but at a salary many times what any clerk could expect. The workers spend all day performing unnerving calculations that make them hallucinate or even go mad. Things are beginning to look up when a war breaks out between competing magical societies. Josephine joins one of them for a hazardous occult exploration, an experiment which threatens to leave her stranded at the outer limits of consciousness, among the celestial spheres.
Otto Behr is a German agent, fighting his Russian counterparts across three millennia, manipulating history for moments in time that can change everything. Only the remnants of two great nations stand and for Otto, the war is life itself, the last hope for his people. But in a world where realities shift and memory is never constant, nothing is certain, least of all the chance of a future with his Russian love.
Young Adult. They hear the spirits. They must obey. In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court, one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
Young Adult. The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life. The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down. But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril.
The future is coming...for some, sooner than others. Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began, but only if he can survive Hollow World.
Young Adult. For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe’s father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.
When a young Australian named Jack MacBride arrives in Finch to wrap up his late uncle’s affairs, heads turn in the sleepy English village. When Lori volunteers to help Jack clear out his uncle’s overgrown garden, they discover something even more shocking. After Lori laughingly tosses a coin into the garden’s old well and makes a wish, she is baffled to find that the wish seems to have come true. Word spreads, and the villagers turn out in droves to make wishes of their own. But as they soon learn, one person’s wish is another person’s worst nightmare and the village is thrown into chaos. Lori resolves to find out what’s really going on. With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly help, Lori discovers that the truth is even more marvelous than a magical wishing well.
For centuries, the Furies have lived among us. Long ago they were called witches and massacred by the thousands. But they’re human just like us, except for a rare genetic mutation that they’ve hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years. Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman named Ariel has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war among the Furies. Ariel needs John’s help in the battle between a rebellious faction of the clan and their elders. The grand prize in this war is a chance to remake the human race.
Young Adult. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape, or even his own name, seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks. Set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.
Venice, a long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy of Britain and France, and widower of the murdered Queen Cordelia: the rascal, Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters, the merchant, Antonio; the senator, Montressor Brabantio; and the naval officer, Iago, have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising an evening of sprits and debauchery with a rare Amontillado sherry and Brabantio’s beautiful daughter, Portia. Their invitation is bogus. The wine is drugged. The girl isn’t even in the city limits. Desperate to rid themselves once and for all of the man, they have lured him to his death. This Fool is no fool, and he’s got more than a few tricks (and hand gestures) up his sleeve.
Benjamin Carter Mason died last night. Maybe he threw himself off a bridge into Los Angeles Harbor, or maybe he burned to death in a house fire in San Pedro; it doesn’t really matter. Today, Mason’s starting a new life. He’s back in boot camp, training for the only war left that matters a damn. For years, their spies have been coming to Earth, mapping our cities, learning our weaknesses, leaving tragedy in their wake. Our governments knew, but they did nothing, and now, the horrifying and utterly alien Cray are invading, laying waste to our cities. The human race is a heartbeat away from extinction. That is, unless Mason, and the other men and women of Task Force OMBRA, can do anything about it. This is a time for heroes. For killers. For Grunts.
Eveline Duchen was once a country child, touched by the magic that still clings to the woods and fields of Victorian England. Now she is a street urchin in a London where brutal poverty and glittering new inventions exist side by side, living as a thief and con-artist under the wing of Ma Pether. Caught in an act, Eveline is faced with Mr Holmforth, a man in the service of Her Majesty’s Government, who offers her a choice. Transportation, or an education, and commitment to Her Majesty’s Service, at Madam Cairngrim’s school for female spies. The school’s regime is harsh. She plans to take advantage of everything they can teach her, then go her own way. Eveline’s choices will change the future of her world, and reveal the truth about the death of her sister Charlotte.
Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate. They discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts, and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide.
After Melody’s wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute. Jane and Vincent are helped by a kind local they meet en route, but Vincent is determined to become self-reliant and get their money back, and hatches a plan to do so. But when so many things are not what they seem, even the best laid plans conceal a few pitfalls. The ensuing adventure is a combination of the best parts of magical fantasy and heist novels, set against a glorious Regency backdrop.
The lone gunman Three is gone, and Wren is the new governor of the devastated settlement of Morningside, but there is turmoil in the city. When his life is put in danger, Wren is forced to flee Morningside until he and his retinue can determine who can be trusted. They arrive at the border outpost, Ninestory, only to find it has been infested with Weir in greater numbers than anyone has ever seen. These lost, dangerous creatures are harbouring a terrible secret, one that will have consequences not just for Wren and his comrades, but for the future of what remains of the world.
Suzanne Church’s cast of characters asks “What if?” in this collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction. Can humanity survive an ice age? Will the storm man steal Wanda’s baby? When will Bob and Sebbee escape the relentless march of the Lost Circle? What is the cause of the taint in Faya’s courted ice? If you can’t escape hell, can you at least afford a trip on a teleporting couch? Whether quirky or horrific, it’s a whirlwind expedition of laughter and sorrow.