So, can we talk? Sure, we could discuss the new Extreme Zombies anthology, the new novel from Jim Hines, or the illustrated guide to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series or the others among this month’s sixteen genre-benders. But let’s talk instead about, for lack of a better term, “derivative paranormal fiction” or “mashups.” Romeo and Juliet have been turned into vampires, as have the girls from Little Women. Jane Austen and other books from authors of the same period seem to have been hiding major zombie issues. And, had he lived in the right time and place, Abraham Lincoln could have slain them all. This month, we have My Favorite Fangs, and somehow in the Alps, a fanged Julie Andrews is spinning on a grassy knoll. But is she singing “The hills are alive .”?
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Extreme Zombies, edited by Paula Guran (August 1, Prime Books)
It’s too late, the living dead have already taken over the world. Your brains have been devoured. Nothing is left but spasms of ravenous need—an obscene hunger for even more zombie fiction. This collection includes pieces by Jesse Bullington, Nancy A. Collins, Dennis Etchison, Cody Goodfellow, Brian Hodge, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Harper Hull, Brian Keene, Nancy Kilpatrick, Joe R. Lansdale, Robin D. Laws, Edward Lee, Murray Leeder, George RR Martin, Elizabeth Massie, Yvonne Navarro, David Moody, David J. Schow, John Shirley, Thomas Roche, Norman Partridge, David A. Riley, Monica Valentinelli, Tim Waggoner, and David Wellington.
When Darcy is hired by Elodie Keaton to clean up her missing mother’s disorderly home, the Wishcrafter is certainly up for the task in his supernatural mystery. After all, the motto of her Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service As You Wish is “No Job Impossible.” But beneath the piles of old newspapers and knickknacks, Darcy discovers something much more disturbing: Patrice Keaton’s body.
The fate of feudal Japan hangs in the balance in this conclusion to the trilogy. Taro is at a crossroads: He has vanquished Lord Oda for good, but with no land and no title, he has no hope of marrying Hana, the daughter of a daimyo. So when Taro receives news of a murderous dragon and the large reward for killing it, he and his friends find themselves on a dangerous quest to slay the beast.
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically “reach” into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that “leaked “from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires, by Alan Goldsher (August 7, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Maria von Trapp is sweet, innocent, and can sing like an angel. Oh, and she’s also a bloodthirsty vampire. When Maria is kicked out of the Abbey where she’s been residing for the past thousand or so years, she lands a job caretaking the family von Trapp, a rowdy clan in need of some serious discipline, or vampirification. After Maria turns the von Trapp children into children of the night and marries the von Trapp patriarch, the family seems destined for eternal (really, really eternal) bliss.
The Constantine Affliction, by T. Aaron Payton (August 7, Night Shade Books)
In 1864 London is a city in transition. The Constantine Affliction—a strange malady that kills some of its victims and physically transforms others into the opposite sex—has spread scandal and upheaval throughout society. Scientific marvels and disasters, such as clockwork courtesans, the alchemical fires of Whitechapel, electric carriages, and acidic monsters lurking in the Thames, have forever altered the face of the city.
In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger. Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals. Young Adult.
A phone call from a soon-to-be-deceased ex-boyfriend launches a young woman on a bizarre road trip to a dark supernatural world hidden beneath America’s heartland. Among the hidden things are goblins, dragons, a road-weary clown, and creatures that have never been categorized, joining a smart, tough, courageous female protagonist on a wild cross-country thrill ride.
When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again, just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed. If only these things were not so tempting. When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor’s twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign.
The Manual of Aeronautics: An Illustrated Guide to the Leviathan Series (Leviathan), by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson (August 21, Simon Pulse)
An illustrated guide to the inner workings of the Darwinist and Clanker powers. This guid draws back the curtain and reveals the inner depths of the fascinating alternative world of Darwinist beasties and Clanker walkers, weapons, transport and uniforms that Deryn and Alek encounter throughout their around-the-world adventures.
G. T. Almasi fuses the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carre novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create an alternate history that re-imagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.
Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it? From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.
Farm is the mega-conglomerate food supplier for City, populated with rabidly bureaucratic superiors, antagonistic and sexually deviant tour guides dressed in chicken and duck suits, and farm animals illegally engineered for silence. City is sprawling, technocratic, and rests hundreds of feet above the coastline on the creaking shoulders of a giant wooden pier.
A Philadelphia mansion plays host to uninvited death. 1777: In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Landon Mansion is commandeered by British Lord “Butcher” Bedford. He stabs Lucy Tarleton, who spurned his king and his love, leaving her to die in her father’s arms. Now: After the day’s final tour, docent Allison Leigh makes her rounds while locking up and finds a colleague slumped over Bedford’s desk, impaled on his own replica bayonet.
Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp, people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.
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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.