Twenty-seven books straddle the fence known as genre this month, with young adult titles continuing to attempt world domination, in a dystopian kind of way. Look for three new star-studded anthologies this month edited by Kij Johnson (Nebula Awards Showcase), Ellen Datlow (Best Horror of the Year #6), and Jonathan Strahan (Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year #8), as well as new titles from, among others, Taylor Anderson, Jean Johnson, Jo Walton, and Richelle Mead.
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.
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding. This is what Juneau has been told her entire life. When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie. Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. While she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
Young Adult. Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The Paternalist Movement, begun to “protect” young women, is taking over the choices they make. Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad “contracts” her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices. Her friend, Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.
Young Adult. Lucy is the last Chantress, the only remaining girl who can sing magic into the world. Since she defeated the evil Lord Scargrave, England has changed, and not for the better. Lucy is called back to King Henry’s court. His Inner Council is convinced that making gold through alchemy will save England. A critical element to the alchemical process has been stolen. Lucy is tasked with finding it with her magic. Scargrave’s brutal Chantress-hunter has become King Henry’s closest advisor. Lucy’s beloved Nat has fallen out of favor and is shunned by his colleagues; their romance means trouble for both of them. Something goes wrong with Lucy’s magic. The palace is a labyrinth, and there’s a monster at its heart, a monster who may have the power to defeat Lucy once and for all.
Kelly Pratihari-Reid and her husband sail their yacht into Antarctic waters, thinking their gravest concerns will be ice and storms, and their cracked marriage. A British girl shrieking across a short-range VHF frequency ends that illusion. It’s coming, she screams. It saw us and it’s coming back! Her voice is drowned by a tide of signal-jamming static, and Kelly sees a target on the radar screen: A ship is coming for them.
Thus begins an unforgettable cat-and-mouse game across stormy polar seas and dire landfalls. Kelly’s pursuers will test her to the limits of her endurance, and beyond. For the ship in her wake is crewed by pirates, with a young leader trained to use the most sadistic tortures in pursuit of his ultimate objective, a goal as shocking as it is horrific. (Digital)
The long-planned raid on the heart of the Grik Empire has grown more ambitious, and dangerously ill defined. Only Matthew Reddy, commander of the old destroyer USS Walker, seems focused on its original intent. Many Lemurians see an opportunity to re-conquer their sacred homeland. Others, Lemurian and human, have their own agendas. Complicating matters further is Reddy’s suspicion that his task force is being stalked by a power bent on aiding the Grik. Reddy has no choice but to go all-in, risking everything in a desperate act that results in a sprawling, nightmarish battle on the beaches of “Grik City,” on the very decks of Walker, and in the labyrinthine passageways of the Celestial Palace itself. The cost could be more than Matt Reddy, or the Alliance, can bear.
The damnation and deception that enslaved humanity was exposed after the earth was razed by a nuclear holocaust. As immortal god kings continue to lay claim to the planet, the epic struggle to repossess Earth rages. The Cerberus rebels fight for mankind’s free will and enlightened purpose wherever the battle for freedom takes them. Nothing can prepare them for the bloodred shadows of a new, special hell. After blasting open the gates of the underworld, the Cerberus warriors face a fresh evil. Beneath the African continent, a city teems with bloodthirsty creatures ruled by a vicious queen. As her shape-shifting minions swarm to outmaneuver Kane and his allies, the rebels race to contain the horror. The warriors must escape a destiny far worse than they could ever imagine.
Young Adult. Lilianna’s circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil’s worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak, Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. She’s more alone than she’s been since the “incident” at her school months ago. As the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. The cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own demons.
The city of Cahokia covered more than six square miles around what is now St. Louis. Cahokian warriors and traders roamed from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. What force on earth would motivate hundreds of thousands of people to pick up, move hundreds of miles, and once plopped down amidst a polyglot of strangers, build an incredible city? A religious miracle: the Cahokians believed that the divine hero Morning Star had been resurrected in the flesh. To the astonishment of the ruling clan, an attempt is made on the living god’s life. It is up to Morning Star’s aunt, Matron Blue Heron, to keep it quiet until she can uncover the plot and bring the culprits to justice. If she fails, Cahokia will be torn asunder in warfare, rage, and blood as civil war consumes them all.
Amanda Obermann. Code name Iris. It’s Testing Day. The day when all juniors and seniors at The Peel Academy undergo a series of intense physical and psychological tests to see if they’re ready to graduate. Amanda and her boyfriend Abe are top students, and they’ve just endured thirty-six hours of testing. When the graduates are announced, the results are shocking. Amanda has been chosen. She receives the opportunity of a lifetime: to join a secret government organization called the Annum Guard and travel through time to change the course of history. In order to become the Eighth Guardian in this exclusive group, Amanda must say good-bye to everything, forever. Who is really behind the Annum Guard? Can she trust them with her life?
The mages of Mekhana have done their best to hide themselves and their powers from the needs of their so-called Patron Deity, Mekha. Greatest of their secrets is the Vortex, a Fountain hidden in the heart of the Hydraulics Guild. Even after the dissolution of Mekha and the freeing of his people, Alonnen isn’t ready to reveal his guardianship to outsiders. Particularly when the remnants of Mekha’s priesthood are looking for a new monstrosity to worship. Rexei has hidden more than her powers for most of her life. Only in the safety of the Hydraulics Guild’s innermost secrets can she be herself. Rexei struggles to trust just one man, the Guardian of the Vortex. The priesthood is desperate for any new source of power, even a demonic one that requires certain sacrifices to access.
Ethan Gage travels through the darkest and most superstitious realms of eighteenth century Europe, to the castles and caves of Bohemia to rescue his family and uncover a mysterious medieval device rumored to foretell the future. Having quick-wittedly survived the battle of Trafalgar, Ethan is rushing to rescue “Egyptian priestess” Astiza and son Harry from imprisonment by a ruthless mystic who seeks revenge for disfigurement, and an evil dwarf alchemist who experiments with the occult on Prague’s Golden Lane. Using death as his ruse, and a pair of unlikely allies, a Jewish Napoleonic soldier and his sutler father, Ethan must decipher clues from Durendal, the sword of Roland. Astiza uses her research to concoct an explosive escape and find a lost tomb.
Thermopylae. Masada. Agincourt. And now, Haxan, New Mexico Territory, circa 1874. Through a sea of time and dust, in places that might never be, or can’t become until something is set right, there are people destined to travel. Forever. Marshal John T. Marwood is one of these men. Taken from a place he called home, he is sent to fight an eternal war. It never ends, because the storm itself, this unending conflict, makes the world we know a reality. Along with all the other worlds waiting to be born. Or were born, but died like a guttering candle in eternal night.
Keluarga: to move to a new village. Lunak: to search for something without finding it.
Mencintai: to love for the last time. Meet a guilt-ridden nurse who atones for her sins by joining her zombified patients in exile; a lone soldier standing guard on a desolate Arctic island against an invasion that may be all in his mind; a folksinger who tries to unionize Hell; and a private eye who only takes your case after you die. Visit a resettlement centre for refugees from ancient Rome; a lost country recreated by its last citizen on the Internet; and a restaurant where the owner’s ghost lingers for one final party. Discover the inflationary effects of a dragon’s hoard, the secret connection between Mark Twain and Frankenstein, and the magic power of blackberry jam.
Young Adult. By day, Vivienne is Guinevere’s lady-in-waiting. By night, she’s Merlin’s secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It’s a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity. Vivienne longs to escape Camelot. When King Arthur’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens Camelot, Vivienne must stay to help Merlin build a steam-powered weapon to defeat the dark magic machine Morgan will set upon the castle. If Vivienne doesn’t have Merlin’s weapon ready soon, lives would pay the price, including that of Marcus, the only one fast enough to activate it on the battlefield.
The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America® . The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is American fantasy writer Kij Johnson, author of three novels and associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. This year’s Nebula winners, and expected contributors, are Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Andy Duncan, and Aliette de Bodard, with E.C. Myers winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eight—edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 13, Solaris)
The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume eight and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents. Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.
The best horror writers of today do the same thing that horror writers of a hundred years ago did. They tell good stories, stories that scare us. And when these writers tell really good stories that really scare us, Ellen Datlow notices. She’s been noticing for more than a quarter century. For twenty-one years, she co-edited The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and for the last six years, she’s edited this series. In addition to this monumental cataloging of the best, she has edited hundreds of other horror anthologies. More than any other editor or critic, Ellen Datlow has charted the shadowy abyss of horror fiction. Join her on this journey into the dark parts of the human heart, either for the first time, or once again. (ebook only, paperback to be released in June)
It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. She remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War, those were solid things. But did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
Jordan, Rowen and the crews of both the Tempest and the Artemesia strike out for Philadelphia to start a revolution aimed at abolishing slavery and changing their stormpowered society to one that runs on previously repressed steam innovations and will allow for true equality. But can Jordan and Rowen come back together after all the things determined to drive them apart?
Death isn’t the end for Emily Winstead, not even close. She died with a wrong to make right, and she’s been given a second chance to set things straight. The only problem: her memories are hazy, she doesn’t know who to trust or even why she’s back, but she does know something about how she died broke the course of fate and it’s her ghostly mission to mend it. (ebook only)
Months after a super-EMP attack devastated the United States, the country is now unrecognizable. Major cities are run by gangs, survivors are dying of starvation and the government is falling victim to lawlessness. Those who were prepared for the end find that they weren’t really prepared at all. While some seek vengeance for their losses, others are determined to restore the nation. Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Barone, Connor and Pablo are all on different paths, but they are all in search of a home away from chaos. They are all in search of a sanctuary.
After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren’t the only magical creatures in the world. There’s also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half, other, half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. As the war heats up, Callie’s world falls apart. And even though she’s the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she’s starting to believe them.
In a steel-and-lead encased bunker a Special Forces soldier wait on his final orders. On the surface a bacterium has turned 90 percent of the population into hyper-aggressive predators. Now Captain Lee Harden must leave the bunker and venture into the wasteland to rekindle a shattered America.
Young Adult. Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan’s no ordinary girl, she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi’s time, 100 years later. Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia’s cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust, and when they uncover startling new details about Project Ark, they realise thousands of lives may be in their hands.
The year is 1703. The place: the Carolina settlement of Charles Town. Matthew Corbett has accepted a lucrative commission: escorting a beautiful woman to a fancy dress ball. The assignment takes a dark turn when Matthew becomes involved in a murder investigation. A sixteen-year-old girl has been stabbed to death. The suspected killer is a slave who has escaped, with two family members, into a nearby swamp. Matthew joins the hunt for the runaway slaves. He embarks on a treacherous journey up the Solstice River, also known as the River of Souls. He discovers that something born of the swamp has joined the hunt, and is stalking the hunters with more than murder in mind. The journey will test the limits of Matthew’s endurance, and lead him through a nightmarish passage to a confrontation with his past, and a moment that will alter his life forever.
The return of religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. They are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity. Mae has a secret mission of her own: finding the niece her family smuggled away years ago. A reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission, and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
Young Adult. In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger. People are falling ill, their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure, and what he discovers leaves him stunned.