Zombies are shuffling down the book aisles this month…you’d think it was, like, Halloween or something. Eighteen genre-benders appear in October, most of them geared toward real adult humans. In addition to new releases from Eric Flint, Cory Doctorow, Joe Abercrombie, and Christopher Buehlman, there are a couple of all-star anthologies worth a second look. And lots and lots of brains.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
It’s springtime in the Eternal City, 1635. But it’s no Roman holiday for uptimer Frank Stone and his pregnant downtime wife, Giovanna. They’re in the clutches of would-be Pope Cardinal Borgia, with the real Pope–Urban VII –on the run with the renegade embassy of uptime Ambassador Sharon Nichols and her downtime husband, Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz. Special rescue teams, including Harry Lefferts and his infamous Wrecking Crew, converge on Rome to extract Frank and Gia. And an uptime airplane is on its way to spirit the Pope to safety before Borja’s assassins can find him. Now, it’s up to the rough and ready can-do attitude of Grantville natives to escape the clutches of aristocratic skullduggery and ring in freedom for a war-torn land.
The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, she tells Thomas that plague is only part of a larger cataclysm, that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on heaven, and that the world of men has fallen behind the lines of conflict. She believes she has seen the angels of God. She believes the righteous dead speak to her in dreams. She has convinced the faithless Thomas to shepherd her across a depraved landscape to Avignon. There, she tells Thomas she will fulfill her mission. As hell unleashes its wrath, and as the true nature of the girl is revealed, Thomas will find himself on a macabre battleground in the midst of a desperate struggle for nothing less than the soul of man.
Trent McCauley is obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from films he downloads from the Net. In the dystopian near-future Britain this is more illegal than ever. The punishment for being caught three times is that your entire household’s access to the internet is cut off for a year, with no appeal. Trent’s too clever for that to happen. Except it does. It nearly destroys his family. Trent runs away to London. This brings him in touch with a demimonde of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize more harmless internet creativity. Parliament is in power of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers-that-be haven’t reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds.
Rock On: The Greatest Hits of Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Paula Guran (October 3, Prime Books)
Kick out the jams with hot licks and fantastic riffs on rock and roll from the only kind of fiction that feeds the soul: science fiction and fantasy. Contributing authors include Elizabeth Bear, Greg Kihn, Marc Laidlaw, Kaitlin R. Kiernan, Charles de Lint, Graham Masterton, Alastair Reynolds, David J. Schow, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Lucius Shepherd, Poppy Z. Brite, Norman Spinrad, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, F. Paul Wilson, Howard Waldrop, Edward Bryant, Pat Cadigan, Lawrence C. Connolly, Bradley Denton, Elizabeth Hand, Del James, and Graham Joyce.
After (Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia), edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (October 9, Hyperion)
If the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that question in this short story anthology. Contributing authors include: Jeffrey Ford, Richard Bowes, Gregory Maguire, Steven Gould, Nalo Hopkinson, Jane Yolen, Carolyn Dunn, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Garth Nix, Cecil Castellucci, Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Ryan, Carol Emshwiller, Beth Revis, Matthew Kressel, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Sarah Rees, Brennan and N.K. Jemisin.
Young Adult. Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.
Young Adult. Kate, Michael, and Emma long to continue the hunt for their missing parents. But they themselves are now in great danger, and so the wizard Stanislaus Pym hides the children at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. There they will be safe. How wrong he is. The children are soon discovered by their enemies, and a frantic chase sends Kate a hundred years into the past. Searching for a way back to her brother and sister, she meets a mysterious boy whose fate is intricately, and dangerously, tied to her own. Michael and Emma have set off to find the second of the Books of Beginning. A series of clues leads them into a hidden world. Will Michael and Emma find the legendary book of fire, and master its powers, before Kate is lost to them forever?
Welcome to Portlandtown, where no secret is safe, not even those buried beneath six feet of Oregon mud. Joseph Wylde isn’t afraid of the past, but he knows some truths are better left unspoken. When his father-in-law’s grave-digging awakens more than just ghosts, Joseph invites him into their home hoping that a booming metropolis and two curious grandtwins will be enough to keep the former marshal out of trouble. Unfortunately, the old man’s past soon follows, unleashing a terrible storm on a city already knee deep in floodwaters. As the dead mysteriously begin to rise, the Wyldes must find the truth before an unspeakable evil can spread across the West and beyond.
The aging prophet Devora bolts awake in terror, gasping for air. In her dream she heard her mother’s shrieks as the ravenous dead pulled her from the tent. Devora had been only a girl then, crying as she listened to her mother’s screams and the tearing of her flesh. And in the morning, when her mother rose, undead and hungering, Devora slew her. It is 1160 BC Israel as the walking corpses devour the tents and homesteads of the People. Four will stand against the dead: Devora, who sees what God sees. The slave girl Hurriya. Zadok, a legend among warriors. And the widower Barak, fighting to keep his vineyard free of this new peril. For the living fear each other, fear the strangers in the land, as much as they fear the hungry dead.
For nearly a century, H. P. Lovecraft’s tales of malevolent Great Old Ones existing beyond the dimensions of this world, beyond the borders of sanity, have captured and held the imaginations of writers and aficionados of the dark, the macabre, the fantastic, and the horrible. Now, because you demanded more, anthologist Ross E. Lockhart has risked all to dive back into the Cthulhu canon, combing through mind-shattering manuscripts and moldering tomes to bring you The Book of Cthulhu 2, with even more tales of tentacles, terror, and madness. Featuring monstrous stories by many of weird fiction’s brightest lights. The Cthulhu mythos. This year, the stars are right.
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War. To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral, but whose side, in the end, is she really on?
Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier. Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust.
Drawn by his curiosity, Samuel Clemens escapes the grinding toil of being Mark Twain by cultivating an innocent friendship with the greatest scientist of the age. The inventions of Nicola Tesla become puzzle pieces that take shape under Mark Twain’s eyes. Has Tesla somehow opened the gateway to an alien intelligence, or is it Tesla himself that will bring the world to Armageddon? And with every tragedy in his family Samuel Clemens is moved to ask the most important question of all: Why is the world worth saving?
In this debut story collection, Ian Rogers explores the border-places between our world and the dark reaches of the supernatural. The landscape of death becomes the new frontier for scientific exploration. A honeymoon cabin with an unspeakable appetite finally meets its match. A suburban home is transformed into the hunting ground for a new breed of spider. A nightmarish jazz club at the crossroads of reality plays host to those who can break a deal with the devil…for a price. Rogers draws together the disturbing and the diverting in twenty-two showcase stories that will guide you through terrain at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world, a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet. As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy, creator of the Ghost Protocol. Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence. But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests. She soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet, a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
Jack Murphy thought he’d found the perfect escape for his family from a world gone horribly mad. He thought wrong. Matthew Costello’s Home begins mere minutes after the terrible sacrifice made by Jack to save his family at Paterville Camp. Barely escaping, Jack’s wife, Christie, and two children, Kate and Simon, must accept that their lives and their future have changed forever. In this intimate and human survivalist horror story, the three of them will face even greater dangers, as well as yet-unknown horrors, to simply stay alive as together they search for a road “home” in this intense and original postapocalyptic thriller.
“Santa Claus” is but one more of your masquerades, one more brick in your fortress. I will not speak your true name. Not so long as I sit rotting in this black pit. That name must wait until I again see the wolves chase Sol and Mani across the heavens. A day that draws near. For Odin, Loki, and all the fallen gods, for your treachery, for chaining me in this pit for five hundred years. I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide. And with my foot upon your throat, I shall speak your name, and with death staring back at you, you will no longer be able to hide from your dark deeds. I Krampus, Lord of Yule, son of Hel, bloodline of the great Loki, swear to cut your lying tongue from your mouth, your thieving hands from your wrist, and your jolly head from your neck.
Young Adult. Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood, she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle mean. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon, offers advice on everything. There is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. River Road, the second in her Sentinels of New Orleans series, will be released on November 13 by Tor books. Find Suzanne on Twitter.