Fiction Affliction: “Genre-Benders” for July

Digging through each month’s genre-benders—books that straddle multiple genres or are otherwise hard to classify—is like digging for treasure, and there are twenty-one titles that fall “in between” this month. From Marta Acosta’s modern gothic twist on Jane Eyre to Ben Bova’s meeting of Orion and King Arthur, from D.B. Jackson’s alternative version of the Revolutionary War to Michael Poore’s gumbo-cooking Satan…well, it’s a hot, hot summer. (And did we mention the zombie anthology?)

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

 

WEEK ONE

Advent, by James Treadwell (July 3, Atria)

1537. A man hurries through city streets in a gathering snowstorm, clutching a box in one hand. He is Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age. The box he carries contains a mirror safeguarding a portion of his soul and a small ring containing all the magic in the world. Together, they comprise something unimaginably dangerous. London, the present day. Fifteen-year-old Gavin Stokes is boarding a train to the countryside to live with his aunt. His school and his parents can’t cope with him and the things he sees, things they tell him don’t really exist. At Pendurra, Gavin finds people who are like him, who see things too. They all make the same strange claim: magic exists, it’s leaking back into our world, and it’s bringing something terrible with it.

Dark Companion, by Marta Acosta (July 3, Tor Teen)

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove. Something’s not quite right about the school. She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Young adult.

Dark Destiny, by M.J. Putney (July 3, St. Martin’s Griffin)

Tory and her friends are celebrating the success of a second mission to aid WWII Britain when an urgent summons calls them back to their own time: Napoleon is on the brink of invading England. Can a handful of young mages stop an army? In desperation, Merlin’s Irregulars ask Rebecca Weiss, an untrained telepath from 1940, to come back to 1804 and change Napoleon’s mind before it’s too late. As Tory and Allarde make a commitment that will cost him his inheritance, Rebecca promises to do what she can to stop Napoleon even though she is unsure of her magical abilities.

In a Witch’s Wardrobe (Witchcraft Mystery, Book 4), by Juliet Blackwell (July 3, Signet)

No description available.

Lethal Outlook (Psychic Eye Mystery, Book 10), by Victoria Laurie (July 3, NAL)

When a mysterious client approaches Abby with a cryptic message about a young mother who has vanished, Abby is more than willing to get involved. After all, it’s the perfect distraction from dealing with the headache of her sister Cat – who has flown into town and turned Abby and Dutch’s impending nuptials into Weddingpalooza. After Abby recruits her business partner and BFF, Candice, to assist, they meet with the parents of the missing woman. But the parents refuse to put their faith in a psychic.

Once (Eve, Book 2), by Anna Carey (July 3, HarperCollins)

Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. Young adult.

Orion and King Arthur (Orion), by Ben Bova (July 3, Tor)

Orion has fought across time and space at the whims of his Creators, godlike beings from the future who toy with human history like spoiled children playing with dolls. Orion has been both assassin and hero, all the while striving to be reunited with Anya, the ageless goddess who is his one true love. Now Orion finds himself in Britain in the years after the Romans abandoned the island kingdom. Minor kings and warlords feud among themselves even as invading hordes threaten to sweep over the land. There Orion befriends a young warrior named Arthur, who dreams of uniting his quarreling countrymen and driving the invaders from their lands.

Other Worlds Than These, edited by John Joseph Adams (July 3, Night Shade)

What if you could not only travel any location in the world, but to any possible world? This collection of parallel world stories and portal fantasies features writings by Stephen Baxter, Paul McAuley, Seanan McGuire, Michael Swanwick, Gregory Benford, William Alexander, Pat Cadigan, Joyce Carol Oates, John R. Fultz, Vandana Singh, Paul Melko, Kelly Link, Ian McDonald, Simon McCaffery, E. Catherine Tobler, Alastair Reynolds, Usula K. LeGuin, Stephen King, David Barr Kirtley, Mercurio D. Rivera, Jeff Vandermeer, George R.R. Martin, Carrie Vaughn, Tim Pratt, Robert Reed, Catherynne M. Valente, Yoon Ha Lee, Orson Scott Card, Christie Yant, Robert Silverberg, and Ross Lockhard, with a foreword by Lev Grossman.

The Hollow City, by Dan Wells (July 3, Tor)

Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That’s bad enough. But what can he do if some of the monsters he sees turn out to be real? Who can you trust if you can’t even trust yourself?

Thieftaker, by D.B. Jackson (July 3, Tor)

Boston, 1767: Revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others. When he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family, suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him. First in a new series.

This Dark Earth, by John Hornor Jacobs (July 3, Gallery)

The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature. Welcome to Bridge City, in what was once Arkansas: part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last stand for civilization. A ten-year-old prodigy when the world ended, Gus is now a battle-hardened young man. He designed Bridge City to protect the living few from the shamblers eternally at the gates. Now he’s being groomed by his physician mother, Lucy, and the gentle giant Knock-Out to become the next leader of men. But an army of slavers is on its way, and the war they wage for the city’s resources could mean the end of mankind as we know it.

Tin Swift (Age of Steam, Book 2), by Devon Monk (July 3, Roc)

Life on the frontier is full of deceit and danger, but bounty hunter Cedar Hunt is a man whose word is his bond. Cursed with becoming a beast every full moon, Cedar once believed his destiny was to be alone. But now, Cedar finds himself saddled with a group of refugees, including the brother he once thought lost. Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of the promise he made to the three miners who know the secret mechanisms of the Strange. To fulfill his pledge, Cedar must hunt a powerful weapon known as the Holder in the savage underbelly of the young country and high into the killing glim-field skies defended by desperate men and deadly ships.

Up Jumps the Devilby Michael Poore (July 3, Ecco)

He’s made of wood. He cooks an excellent gumbo. Cows love him. And he’s the world’s first love story—and the world’s first broken heart. Meet the darkly handsome, charming, John Scratch, a.k.a. The Devil. Ever since his true love, a fellow fallen angel named Arden, decided that Earth was a little too terrifying and a little too violent, John Scratch has been trying to lure her back from the forgiving grace of Heaven. Though the wonders of Egypt nor the glories of Rome weren’t enough to keep her on Earth, John Scratch believes he’s found a new Eden: America.From Pocahontas and the Pilgrims onward, John Scratch capitalizes on the bounty of this arcadia. Then, one dark night in the late 1960s, he meets three down-on-their-luck musicians and strikes a deal. In exchange for their souls, he’ll grant them fame, wealth, and the chance to make the world a better place. Soon, the trio are helping the Devil push his pet nation towards the height of civilization—or so he thinks. But there’s a great deal about humans he still needs to learn, even after so many millennia among them.

 

WEEK TWO

The Forsaken, by Lisa M. Stasse (July 10, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up. The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Young adult.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen L. Carter (July 10, Knopf)

Stephen L. Carter’s novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that “whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her.” And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation, including the president himself.  But when Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.

 

WEEK THREE

21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology, edited by Christopher Golden (July 17, St. Martin’s)

The Stoker-award winning editor of the acclaimed, eclectic anthology The New Dead returns with 21st Century Dead, and an all-new lineup of authors from all corners of the fiction world, shining a dark light on our fascination with tales of death and resurrection… with zombies. The stellar stories in this volume includes a tale set in the world of Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse, the first published fiction by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, and a tale of love, family, and resurrection from Orson Scott Card. This new volume also includes stories from Simon R. Green, Chelsea Cain, Jonathan Maberry, Duane Swiercyznski, Caitlin Kittredge, Brian Keene, Amber Benson, John Skipp, S. G. Browne, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Hollywood screenwriter Stephen Susco, National Book Award nominee Dan Chaon, and more.

Ripper (Event Group Series), by David L. Golemon (July 17, Dunne)

The real Jack the Ripper is loose, and this time he’s brought friends.Ripper is the latest in a series about the nation’s most secret agency—The Event Group. In 1887, the British Empire contracted brilliant American professor Lawrence Ambrose to create a mutant gene to turn an ordinary person into an aggressive fighting machine. But all too quickly, Ambrose was found to be behind a streak of vicious murders, and in a cover-up of massive proportions, Queen Victoria ordered the project, and Ambrose, terminated. Thus the legend of Jack the Ripper was born. The killings stopped as suddenly as they had begun—but not because Ambrose was caught. Instead, he escaped and returned home to America where he and his formula faded into history. But in 2012, a raid against a Mexican drug lord uncovers a small cache of antiquated notebooks containing long-buried instructions to create blind killers out of normal men.

The Coldest War (The Milkweed Triptych, Book 2), by Ian Tregillis (July 17, Tor)

In Ian Tregillis’ The Coldest War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Britain and the USSR. For decades, Britain’s warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union—a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. Now each wizard’s death is another blow to Britain’s national security. Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities, then prisoners of war in the immense Soviet research effort to reverse-engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England. Because that’s where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

 

WEEK FOUR

Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (Anthology) (July 24, ChiZine)

Features works by Kelley Armstrong, Cory Doctorow, Steven Erikson, Gemma Files, Silvia Monro-Garcia, David Nickle, Geoff Ryman, Peter Watts, Rio Youers, and more.

Carry the Flame, by James Jaros (July 31, Harper Voyager)

Having survived the terror of the Alliance and the single-minded fanaticism of its hideous religion, a caravan of survivors moves quickly into the Great American Desert, the wastes of what once was America’s heartland. With her daughters at her side—recently rescued Ananda and her daring older sister, Bliss—Jessie hopes to find sanctuary in the Arctic, now rumored to be temperate. But their enemies are powerful and relentless, and will not rest until they possess the caravan’s most precious treasures: their prepubescent female children, a stolen tanker filled with fuel and a pair of frightened twins.

Coup D’Etat (The War That Came Early, Book 4), by Harry Turtledove (July 31, Del Rey)

In the winter of 1941, as the Germans, with England and France on their side, slam deep into Russia, Stalin’s terrible machine fights for its life. The war between Germany and Russia is rocked by men with the courage to aim their guns in a new direction. England is the first to be shaken. Following the suspicious death of Winston Churchill, a small cabal begins to imagine the. With civil liberties hanging by a thread, a conspiracy forms against the powers that be. Meanwhile, in America, a woman who has met Hitler face-to-face urges her countrymen to wake up to his evil.

 


Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Royal Street, the first in her Sentinels of New Orleans series, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.

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