Fiction Affliction: “Genre-Benders” for January

Among seventeen new “genre-benders” for January, dystopian and apocalyptic fiction continues to dominate the YA releases, including the third in Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime series. Adult-fiction readers, meanwhile, will find the trend toward steampunk and “Weird West” continues—with and without zombies. Of particular note: Lavie Tidhar’s The Great Game and Mark Hodder’s Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, which wraps up his steampunk series that began with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. Oh, and if the idea of God as a 19-year-old slacker appeals, there’s something for you, too.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.



It Takes a Witch, by Heather Blake (Jan. 3, Signet)

Darcy Merriweather has just discovered she hails from a long line of Wishcrafters—witches with the power to cast spells by making a wish. She’s come to Enchanted Village to learn her trade but finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation in this paranormal cozy mystery.

Dust of the Damned, by Peter Brandvold (Jan. 3, Berkley)

The Hell’s Angels are a gang of werewolves who have escaped from Hellsgarde Federal Penitentiary. They were the ones who tore the Confederates into submission at Gettysburg for Lincoln, thus ending the Civil War. Now they’ve headed West—to join the legions of other ghouls. Armed with an arsenal of weapons, the deadliest being Marshal Angel Coffin, notorious ghoul-hunter Uriah Zane must stop the hordes of shape- shifting creatures pushing west.

Wild Wild Death, by Casey Daniels (Jan. 3, Berkley)

Her job has been cut, she’s low on cash, and her detective sometime-boyfriend refuses to even talk about her ability to see the dead and solve their murders. So Pepper is most certainly down for a vacation to get her spirits up. But when her cute scientist friend Dan is kidnapped, Pepper stumbles upon another deadly mystery that brings her to New Mexico. And she’s after a clever murderer—one whose idea of Boot Hill has nothing to do with Jimmy Choo. Eighth in the paranormal Pepper Martin Mysteries series.

Grantville Gazette VI, edited by Eric Flint (Jan. 3, Baen)

The sixth anthology of tales set in Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire series—all inspired and edited by the creator himself, Eric Flint. A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth-century Europe. It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in the mad and bloody end of medieval times.

The Fires of New Sun, by Michael Kinch (Jan. 8, Flux)

Following a perilous weeks-long trek under the blazing Savannah sun, dozens of Nswibe refugees have found safe haven at a New SUN outpost—a cavern-fortress hidden in the Blue Mountains. But their troubles are just beginning. While the New SUN movement is tested by infighting and treachery, the outpost sustains a crippling attack. Survival is vital—defeat would mean slavery, death, and the end of the Blender program. The second Blending Time novel. YA



The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges (Jan. 10, Delacorte)

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue. An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources.YA

Gideon’s Corpse, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Jan. 10, Gallery)

Part thriller, part dystopia…A top nuclear scientist goes mad and takes an innocent family hostage at gunpoint, killing one and causing a massive standoff. A plume of radiation above New York City leads to a warehouse where, it seems, a powerful nuclear bomb was assembled just hours before.Sifting through the evidence, authorities determine that the unthinkable is about to happen: in ten days, a major American city will be vaporized by a terrorist attack. Ten days. And Gideon Crew, tracking the mysterious terrorist cell from the suburbs of New York to the mountains of New Mexico, learns the end may be something worse—far worse—than mere Armageddon.

Everything is Broken, by John Shirley (Jan. 10, Prime)

Twenty-year-old Russ arrives in the northern California town of Freedom to visit his dad. Freedom has peculiarities other than its odd name: the local mayor’s ideas of “decentralization” have left it without normal connections to state or federal government and minimal public services. Before Russ can get to know much about Freedom or its people, a savage tsunami strikes the West Coast. The wave of human brutality that soon hits the isolated town proves more dangerous to the survivors than the natural disaster. Russ, his father, and the other townsfolk must tap all their courage and ingenuity—and find strength they never knew they had—if they have any hope of living to find real freedom.



Tempest, by Julie Cross (Jan. 17, St. Martin’s Griffin)

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy—he’s in college, has a girlfriend…and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. Until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007 and now he’s stuck. And the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. YA

Dark Victory, by Michele Lang (Jan. 17, Tor)

Magda Lazarus was a reluctant witch until the dire threat of Nazi Germany convinced her to assume the mantle of her family’s ancient powers. But though this young, beautiful Jewish woman has fought off Hitler’s SS werewolves and the demon who would rule through the Führer, she has been unable to prevent the outbreak of World War II. Her family’s guardian angel, Raziel, stands beside her in the battle against the human and supernatural forces of evil arrayed against her people and all of Europe.



Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, by Mark Hodder (Jan. 24, Pyr)

It is 1863, but not the one it should be. Time has veered wildly off course, and moves are being made that will lead to a devastating world war. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston believes that by possessing the three Eyes of Naga he’ll be able to manipulate events and avoid the war. He already has two of the stones, but he needs Sir Richard Francis Burton to recover the third. For the king’s agent, it’s a chance to return to the Mountains of the Moon to make a second attempt at locating the source of the Nile. But a rival expedition led by John Hanning Speke stands in his way, threatening a confrontation that could ignite the very war that Palmerston is trying to avoid! Completes the story begun in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.

Horizon, by Sophie Littlefield (Jan. 24, Luna)

Cass Dollar is a survivor. She’s overcome the meltdown of civilization, humans turned mindless cannibals, and the many evils of man. But from beneath the devastated California landscape emerges a tendril of hope. A mysterious traveler arrives at New Eden with knowledge of a passageway North—a final escape from the increasingly cunning Beaters. Clutching this dream, Cass and many others decamp and follow him into the unknown. Journeying down valleys and over barren hills, Cass remains torn between two men. One—her beloved Smoke—is not so innocent as he once was. The other keeps a primal hold on her that feels like Fate itself. Third in the Aftertime series.

There is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff (Jan. 24, Putnam)

Meet your unforgettable protagonist: God, who, as it turns out, is a 19-year-old boy living in the present day and sharing an apartment with his long-suffering, fifty-something personal assistant. Unfortunately for the planet, God is lazy and, frankly, hopeless. He created all of the world’s species in six days because he couldn’t summon the energy to work for longer. He gets Africa and America mixed up. And his beleagured assistant has his work cut out for him when God creates a near-apolcalyptic flood, having fallen asleep without turning the bath off.



The Faceless, by Simon Bestwick (Jan. 31, Solaris)

In the Lancashire town of Kempforth, people are vanishing. Mist hangs heavy in the streets, and in those mists move the masked figures the local kids call the Spindly Men. When two-year-old Roseanne Trevor disappears, Detective Chief Inspector Renwick vows to stop at nothing until she finds her. In Manchester, terrifying visions summon TV psychic Allen Cowell and his sister Vera back to the town they swore they’d left forever—while in the decaying corridors and lightless rooms of a long-abandoned hospital, something terrible is waiting for them all.

The Dead of Winter, by Chris Priestley (Jan. 31, Bloomsbury)

Michael’s parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents’ will—until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn’t mean alone, and Michael soon realizes that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive. U.S. release. YA

Sadie Walker Is Stranded, by Madeleine Roux (Jan. 31, St. Martin’s Griffin)

In the months since The Outbreak, Seattle has become a walled citadel—the Infected are kept at bay but the city is rife with kidnappings, religious cults and black-market dealings. And things are about to get much, much worse. A group of frustrated religious fanatics, the Repopulationists, destroy part of the wall and zombies swarm the city. Devastated by the brutal kidnapping of her nephew, illustrator Sadie Walker flees Seattle with her best friend Andrea and secures passage on a boat with no destination. The ragtag bunch aboard the ship are thrown ashore by a storm and stumble across what appears to be a thriving survivors camp. The shipwrecked group, relived to find food, shelter and friendship, relax into the rhythm of the community’s existence. But then people start to disappear.

The Great Game, by Lavie Tidhar (Jan. 31, Angry Robot)

When Mycroft Holmes is murdered in London, it is up to retired shadow executive Smith to track down his killer—and stumble on the greatest conspiracy of his life. Strange forces are stirring into life around the globe, and in the shadow game of spies nothing is certain. Fresh from liberating a strange alien object in Abyssinia – which might just be the mythical Ark of the Covenant – young Lucy Westerna, Holmes’ protégé, must follow her own path to the truth while, on the other side of the world, a young Harry Houdini must face his greatest feat of escape—death itself. As their paths converge the body count mounts up, the entire world is under threat, and in a foreboding castle in the mountains of Transylvania a mysterious old man weaves a spider’s web of secrets and lies. Second in the Bookman Histories

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.


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