There are a lot of alternate histories and worlds out there this month, with nine “genre-benders” confusing the genres. The Ring of Fire series brings book twelve to Grantville, West Virginia, displaced to 17th-century Europe, zombies are shambling through the Weird West, and the weather is out of control (just ask the meteorologist).
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
After carving a place for itself among the struggling powers of 17th-century Western Europe, the out-of-time modern town of Grantville, West Virginia, must fight for its life in a war-torn Europe just emerging from medieval skullduggery. Russian emissary Vladimir Gorchacov arrives in Grantville and hires auto mechanic Bernie Zeppi to journey to Moscow and bring the future to a Russia mired in slavish serfdom and byzantine imperial plots. For Bernie it’s the chance to prove he’s not the loser he believed himself to be.
Manhattan thrives on desire—the longing for a better apartment, a higher-paying job, fame. Simon Burns ought to know, since he nearly lost it all: his job, his family, his home. But now things are turning around, thanks to the pack. Just when he thought he hit rock bottom, Simon found a group of friends, daytime dads like himself. But there was something “off” about Michael, Charlie, and Ramon, and Simon found himself slowly changing into the kind of man he gave up trying to be a long time ago and rediscovering the most primal of hungers. There were nights he made constant love to his wife, nights he roamed the city streets, nights he doesn’t even remember. And it’s one of those blackouts that’s going to come back to haunt him.
Jett is a girl disguised as a boy, living as a gambler in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. Honoria Gibbons is a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Both young women travel the prairie alone until they are brought together by a zombie invasion! As Jett and Honoria investigate, they soon learn that these zombies aren’t rising from the dead of their own accord but who would want an undead army? And why?
Mari Prothero has lived all her life with her father, Daffyd, in a tiny fishing village on the coast of Wales. Though Daffyd takes his boat out on the sea regardless of weather, Mari has learned not to fear for his safety, for her father is a Water Mage, and always comes home safely with a large catch. Mari knows that in her family, children are expected to marry at eighteen, to an appropriate stranger. However, Mari is a fledgling Water Master with a rebellious nature. She has no intention of agreeing to any arranged marriage. But Mari has yet to learn the truth of the magical heritage that must be protected by these very marriages.
Something is wrong in Niceville. A boy literally disappears from Main Street. A security camera captures the moment of his instant, inexplicable vanishing. An audacious bank robbery goes seriously wrong: four cops are gunned down; a TV news helicopter is shot and spins crazily out of the sky, triggering a disastrous cascade of events that ricochet across twenty different lives over the course of just thirty-six hours. Nick Kavanaugh, a cop with a dark side, investigates. Soon he and his wife, Kate, a distinguished lawyer from an old Niceville family, find themselves struggling to make sense not only of the disappearance and the robbery but also of a shadow world, where time has a different rhythm and where justice is elusive.
Blackmail Earth, by Bill Evans (June 19, Tor)
Chief meteorologist for a national morning TV show, Jenna Withers is appointed to a government task force on climate change because of her acclaimed book on geoengineering. Jenna is stunned to learn that a major oil company has a pilot project to release iron oxide into the sea. Al Qaeda terrorists hijack the iron oxide supertanker, threatening to release the entire load at once. North Korea secretly tells the president that it will launch thousands of tons of sulfates into the atmosphere unless the United States meets their demands. These terrorist acts will hurl the Earth into a new Ice Age. The president, reluctant to act with Election Day looming and his lead dwindling, conceals the Korean threats and stalls negotiations. One of the terrorists’ captives is Rick Birk, a foreign correspondent for Jenna’s network. Tortured, Birk is kept on the air around the clock. Ratings soar! Narrowly escaping a terrorist bombing, Jenna races for the studio with assassins on her tail.
A trio of novelettes set outside the author’s vast Malazan world: The Devil Delivered, set in the deadlands of the Lakota Nation in a land blistered beneath a hole in the ozone; Revolvo, detailing a technocrat-dominated arts scene in a fictitious Canada; and Fishing with Grandma Matchie, a children’s story about a boy whose writing assignment goes in unexpected directions.
Rasputin’s Bastards, by David Nickle (June 26, ChiZine)
From a hidden city deep in the Ural Mountains, they walked the world as the coldest of Cold Warriors, under the command of the Kremlin and under the power of their own expansive minds. They slipped into the minds of Russia’s enemies with diabolical ease, and drove their human puppets to murder, and worse. They moved as Gods. And as Gods, they might have remade the world. But like the mad holy man Rasputin, who destroyed Russia through his own powerful influence, in the end, the psychic spies for the Motherland were only in it for themselves.
In Victorian London, where science skirts the line between magic and mechanics, one stubborn miss will face shadows from her past, demons from her desires, and choices that will forever shape who she is. Cherry St. Croix, debutante by day, bounty hunter by night, lives in an alternate London where proper Victorian society sits above a seedy steampunk underworld teeming with dubious loyalties, advanced technology and incredible magic.
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.