Fiction Affliction: “Genre-Benders” for May

With fifteen titles this month, how many could possibly be steampunk? Well, that would be about six, plus a couple of cozy mysteries with a hint of paranormal, some very cool anthologies that cross genre lines, a new zombie horror tale from Joseph Nassise, and a new release from the ever-difficult-to-categorize China Miéville.

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



Brownies and Broomsticks, by Bailey Cates (May 1, Signet)

Katie Lightfoot’s tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah’s quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy’s cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren’t just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells. A cozy mystery, first in a new series, with a paranormal twist.

Heart of Brass, by Kate Cross (May 1, Signet)

Arden Grey enjoys a life most women in 1898 London can’t even dream of: she has the social status, wealth, and independence of a countess. She also has the ability to witness the final moments of a murder victim’s life. But since the disappearance of her husband, Lucas, none of this means anything. Until one night, when Arden spies a man watching her—her missing husband.Luke remembers nothing of his life before The Company, a corrupt agency that has erased his memory. Even so, something prevents him from completing his assignment to kill Arden. There is something familiar about his lovely target, something that attracts him and fills him with dread. First in a new series.

Best Horror of the Year, Volume 4, edited by Ellen Datlow (May 1, Night Shade)

An annual collection of horror, including stories by Stephen King, Leah Bobet, Simon Bestwick, Laird Barron, David Nickle, Priya Sharma, Margo Lanagan, Brian Hodge, A.C. Wise, Livia Llewellyn, Alison J. Littlewood, Chet Williamson, Terry Lamsley, Glen Hirshberg, John Langan, Anna Taborska, and Peter Straub.

The Impossible Cube (Clockwork Empire, Book 2), by Steven Harper (May 1, Roc)

Once, Gavin Ennock sailed the skies on airships and enchanted listeners with his fiddle music. Now, the clockwork plague consumes his intellect, enabling him to conceive and construct scientific wonders—while driving him mad. Distressed by her beloved’s unfortunate condition, Alice Michaels sought a cure rumored to be inside the Doomsday Vault—and brought the wrath of the British Empire down on them. Declared enemies of the Crown, Alice and Gavin have little choice but to flee to China in search of a cure.

By the Blood of Heroes, by Joseph Nassise (May 1, Harper Voyager)

An alternate history zombie novel set during World War I…At the end of 1917, the increasingly desperate Germans introduce a new gas to the battlefield: T-Leiche—”corpse gas”—that radically alters the face of the war. Unlike other chemical weapons that attack the living, T-Leiche resurrects the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited, if not quite fresh, source of troops.When legendary Allied pilot and war poster-boy Major Jack Freeman is shot down and taken captive by the Germans, veteran Captain Michael “Madman” Burke is the only man fearless and wild enough to try to rescue the American Ace. With a small squad of heroes, Burke must traverse the putrid ground of no man’s land to infiltrate the enemy’s lines. Using an experimental dirigible, the team faces incredible danger and finds risk and peril at every turn, including ruthless traitor smugglers and marauding bands of the Kaiser’s undead.

Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2), by Veronica Roth (May 1, Katherine Tegen)

As unrest surges around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Young Adult.



Railsea, by China Miéville (May 15, Del Rey)

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it’s a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea. 



Destroyer of Worlds (Kingdom of the Serpent, Book 3), by Mark Chadbourn (May 22, Pyr)

It is the beginning of the end …The end of the axe-age, the sword-age, leading to the passing of gods and men from the universe. As all the ancient prophecies fall into place, the final battle rages, on Earth, across Faerie, and into the land of the dead. Jack Churchill, Champion of Existence, must lead the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons in a last, desperate assault on the Fortress of the Enemy, to confront the ultimate incarnation of destruction: the Burning Man. It is humanity’s only chance to avert the coming extinction. Driven to the brink by betrayal, sacrifice and death, his allies fear Jack may instead bring about the very devastation he is trying to prevent. U.S. release.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, by Kady Cross (May 22, Harlequin)

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling—or dangerous. Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her “straynge band of mysfits” have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade—the dangerous device Jasper stole from him—for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei’s neck tightens. And tightens. Young Adult.

A Tree of Bones (Hexslinger, Book 3), by Gemma Files (May 22, ChiZine)

New Mexico, 1867: Months have passed since hexslinger Chess Pargeter sacrificed himself to restore the town of Bewelcome, once cursed to salt by his former lover, “Reverend” Asher Rook. Now a coalition led by Allan Pinkerton’s Detective Agency lays siege to reborn Mayan goddess Ixchel’s notorious “Hex City,” the one place on earth where hexes can act in consort, and the desert just outside Bewelcome has become the front line in what threatens to become a new Civil War, one in which wild magic and black science clash headlong, producing carnage like nothing the world has ever seen.

Zombie Island (Shakespeare Undead, Book 2), by Lori Handeland (May 22, St. Martin’s)

Fresh from a triumphant battle over the zombie horde that invaded London, vampire William Shakespeare concocts a plot to rid the love of his life from the encumbrance of her husband. Will plans to give his “dark lady,” Katherine Dymond, a potion that will make her sleep the sleep of the dead. Once she is entombed, Will can sneak in, wait for her to awaken, then spirit her away. After her husband returns to his plantation in America, Kate can return to London under a different name and assume a new identity. No one will believe that the dead Katherine and the live Kate are the same woman. Of course, as is often the case with true love, all does not go as smoothly as planned. When the two of them are shipwrecked on an island ruled by a wizard and a nymph, as well as infested by zombies, Will and Kate must stop an even larger plot afoot—one that leads all the way to the royal palaces of Queen Elizabeth.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2012, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel (May 22, Prometheus)

Winners of the 2010 Nebula Award (as voted in 2011 by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America members) are presented here, including the tied short story winners, Kij Johnson’s “Ponies” and Harlan Ellison’s “How Interesting: A Tiny Man.” Also includes Eric James Stone’s winning novelette, That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made; Rachel Swirsky’s winning novella, The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window; and excerpts from best novel winner Connis Willis’ Blackout/All Clear and Andrew Norton Award winner Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight.



Blood Lite III: Aftertaste, edited by Kevin J. Anderson (May 29, Pocket)

The third book in the anthology series from the Horror Writers Association—a frightfest of stories from authors as Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Heather Graham, L.A. Banks, Kelley Armstrong, and many more. Horror fiction explores the dark side of human nature, often pushing the limits of violence, graphic gore, and extreme emotions. Blood Lite III: Aftertaste continues to put the fun back into dark fiction, featuring a wide range of humorous and highly entertaining horror-filled tales. Edited by Horror Writers Association founding member and award-winning author Kevin J. Anderson.

The Janus Affair (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Book 2), by Philippa Ballantine& Tee Morris (May 29, Harper Voyager)

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain’s latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance, with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown. The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

The Providence Rider (Matthew Corbett, Book 4), by Robert McCammon (May 31, Subterranean)

The Providence Riderbegins in the winter of 1703, with Matthew still haunted by his lethal encounter with notorious mass murderer Tyranthus Slaughter. When an unexplained series of explosions rocks his Manhattan neighborhood, Matthew finds himself forced to confront a new and unexpected problem. Someone is trying—and trying very hard—to get his attention. That someone is a shadowy figure from out of Matthew’s past: the elusive Dr. Fell. The doctor, it turns out, has a problem of his own, one that requires the exclusive services of Matthew Corbett.The ensuing narrative moves from the emerging metropolis of New York City to Pendulum Island in the remote Bermudas. In the course of his journey, Matthew encounters a truly Dickensian assortment of memorable, often grotesque, antagonists.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her new urban fantasy series set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina kicked off in April with Royal Street. Find Suzanne on Twitter.


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