Steampunk and Weird West battle Alt History this month for supremacy among the fourteen new genre benders. Be prepared to visit 15th-century Holland, the 1942 Pacific Theatre, 1944 England, 19th-century Colorado, 8th-century Persia, and, just for good measure, a dystopian, futuristic Yellowstone National Park.
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.
When Reverend Aiden Fleischer finds a hunchbacked vagabond named Clarissa Stark begging at his door, little does he suspect it’s the start of an adventure that’s literally out of this world. In wicked Whitechapel, the priest stumbles upon one of Jack the Ripper’s victims and becomes convinced that he himself is the notorious killer. Miss Stark is relieved when they are both posted to the far away Melanesian island of Koluwai, but here they encounter an even darker evil, one that transports them to another planet. Fleischer and Stark’s new home away from home is not safe. The Blood Gods will soon invade. If he is to defeat them and rescue the woman he’s come to love, Fleischer must first face his own inner demons.
Rising Sun, by Robert Conroy (December 4, Baen)
It is the summer of 1942 and the Incredible Victory in the Battle of Midway has become a horrendous disaster. Two of America’s handful of carriers in the Pacific have blundered into a Japanese submarine picket line and are sunk, while a third is destroyed the next day. Now the Pacific belongs to the Japanese. Alaska is invaded. Hawaii is under blockade. The Panama Canal is nearly plugged.The West Coast of America is ripe for destruction as Japanese bombers bombard cities at will. The U.S. begins to fight back. Limited counterattacks are made and a grand plan is put forth to lure the Japanese into an ambush that could restore the balance in the Pacific and give the forces of freedom a fighting chance once more.
In the aftermath of the supervolcano’s eruption in Yellowstone Park, North America is covered in ash. Farmlands cannot produce food. Machinery has been rendered useless. Cities are no longer habitable. And the climate across the globe grows colder every day. Former police officer Colin Ferguson’s family is spread across the United States, separated by the catastrophe, and struggling to survive as the nation attempts to recover and reestablish some measure of civilization.
It’s August 19, 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is awaiting his end in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on a mission. The one white man he’s willing to treat with is heading to Tombstone, a young man named Theodore Roosevelt. The various tribes know that Geronimo is willing to end the spell that has kept the United States from expanding west of the Mississippi. In response, they have created a huge, monstrous, medicine man named War Bonnet, whose function is to kill Roosevelt and Geronimo and keep the United States east of the river forever. And War Bonnet has enlisted the master shootist John Wesley Hardin. It does not promise to be a tranquil summer.
Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. We know what those quarantines are, holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Escape is nearly impossible. Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices. As Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help. Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race.
Steampunk adventure with an environmental point. After a daring chase across the globe, Tim Barnabas and Clara Calland have brought Clara’s scientist father’s secret formula to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Claras rebel-father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled a racist incident into the desert. She takes a burrowing machine known as a “steam mole” in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia.
The first short story collection by Russian-born Ekaterina Sedia as she explores the edge between the mundane and fantastical in tales inspired by her homeland as well as worldwide folkloric traditions. With foreword by World Fantasy Award-winner Jeffrey Ford, Moscow But Dreaming will appeal to fans of slipstream and magical realism, as well as those interested in the uncanny and Russian history.
Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man. It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder—and the crimes they believe may be connected to it, without calling too much attention to themselves.
Deep in the countryside, ghost hunter David Ash is investigating a mysterious, secluded stately home. Reports from locals regarding strange goings-on make him think the house is haunted. But not even David Ash’s long professional history of warding off evil spirits can prepare him for the shocking discovery that awaits. Horror writer James Herbert weaves a terrifying narrative featuring his best-loved character, David Ash. (U.S. release)
As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped from a dangerous cabal that has ensorcelled her to track down ancient magical tools of tremendous power, the bones of the old ones. To stop the cabal and save Najya, Dabir and Asim venture into the worst winter in human memory, hunted by a shape-changing assassin. As their opposition grows, Dabir and Asim have no choice but to ally with their deadliest enemy, the treacherous Greek necromancer, Lydia. But even if they can trust one another long enough to escape their foes, it may be too late for Najya, whose soul is bound up with a vengeful spirit intent on sheathing the world in ice for a thousand years.
On a stormy night in 1421, the North Sea delivers a devastating blow to Holland: the Saint Elizabeth Flood. Where the factions of the noble Hooks and the merchant Cods waged a literal class war but weeks before, there is now only a nigh-endless expanse of grey water. Into this flooded realm sail three conspirators: a deranged thug at the edge of madness, a ruthless conman on the cusp of fortune, and a half-feral girl balanced between them. If they work together they may find reward beyond reckoning. In a topsy-turvy world where peasants feast while noblemen starve, these three uneasy confederates will learn that theft, fraud, and murder are simply part of politics as usual in the island-city of Dordrecht, and even if their scheme succeeds they may not live long enough to enjoy it.
Exiled from the court of Queen Elizabeth for accusing a powerful nobleman of treason, swordsman-turned-spy Mal Catlyn has been living in France with his young valet Coby Hendricks for the past year. But Mal harbours a darker secret: he and his twin brother share a soul that once belonged to a skrayling, one of the mystical creatures from the New World. When Mal’s dream about a skrayling shipwreck in the Mediterranean proves reality, it sets him on a path to the beautiful, treacherous city of Venice, and a conflict of loyalties that will place him and his friends in greater danger than ever.
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed Ack-Ack Macaque. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence. A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. In Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.
Doktor Glass, by Thomas Brennan (December 31, Ace)
The Transatlantic Span is the industrial marvel of the nineteenth century, a suspension bridge stretching from Liverpool to New York City. It’s a work of art…until a faceless corpse is found in its shadows. Inspector Matthew Langton, tortured by grief for his late wife, takes charge of the investigation, believing the faceless man a part of a conspiracy to assassinate Queen Victoria on the upcoming Inauguration Day of the Span. But the truth is far more bizarre. There are chilling rumors of the Jar Boys, soul snatchers who come under cover of night. Most frightening of all is the mythic and elusive Doktor Glass, who may not only be behind the illicit trade in souls, but who may hold the key to what happened to the inspector’s own beloved wife on her deathbed.
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, was released on November 13. Find Suzanne on Twitter.