Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for February

Fifteen new genre benders hit the shelves in February, including series additions from Mark Chadbourn, Rod Rees, and Nathan Bransford, and three interesting anthologies: John Joseph Adams edits a star-studded collection of stories dedicated to the evil genius mad scientist in all of us; Rich Horton brings together a new set of stories interpreting the all-powerful superhero; and Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong assemble a handful of popular YA dystopia authors for some end-of-the-world cheer.

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.



Sword-Bound: A Novel of Tiger and Del, by Jennifer Roberson (February 5, DAW)

For the first time in years, life seems settled for Tiger and Del. They run a school for sword-dancers in the South. They’re raising a two-year-old daughter. They collect income from their interest in a thriving cantina. Occasionally Tiger must dance against sword-dancers bent on killing him for forsaking the oaths and vows of the circle. Tiger’s twenty-five-year-old son accuses him of being “domesticated.” Challenged by his own flesh-and-blood to reclaim his legendary status, Tiger, accompanied by Del and his son, embarks on a journey northwards that will test his sword skill and resolve, and lead him and Del into danger from an old enemy. Though Tiger had forsaken his magic years before, he now faces the choice to reclaim it, and to wield it, in order to save those he loves.

The Devil’s Looking Glass (Swords of Albion #3), by Mark Chadbourn (February 5, Pyr) (US)

James Bond adventure in the court of Queen Elizabeth. 1593: The dreaded alchemist, magician and spy Dr. John Dee is missing. Terror sweeps through the court of Queen Elizabeth, for in Dee’s possession is an obsidian mirror, an object of great power which legend says could set the world afire. And so the call goes out to celebrated swordsman, adventurer and rake Will Swyfte: find Dee and his looking-glass and return them to London before disaster strikes. But when Will discovers the mirror might solve the mystery that has haunted him for years, the fate of his lost love, Jenny, the stakes become acutely personal.

Unlucky Charms, by Adam Rex (February 5, Balzer + Bray)

Young Adult. Have you seen me? Name: Scottish Play Doe. Age: 11. Last seen with twins Erno and Emily, their gargantuan housekeeper, Biggs, and an accountant named Merle Lynn who claims to be a scientist from the future or something. “Scott” is suffering from a sick delusion that your beloved Goodco Cereal Company is secretly run by a fairy named Nimue with a sinister plot to take over the world. That Goodco is selling cereals with NEW! Intellijuice in order to turn kids into a kind of zombie army. That Goodco has kidnapped the Queen of England and replaced her with two goblins in a queen suit. We at Goodco are not angry. We want only to see Scott get the help he needs before he hurts himself. Or gets hurt.

The Inner City, by Karen Heuler (February 6, ChiZine)

Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously; an employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt?

Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp (Jacob Wonderbar #3), by Nathan Bransford (February 7, Dial)

Young Adult. Jacob Wonderbar must have hit a time warp on his way home after losing the election for President of the Universe, because fifty years have passed on Earth. What’s worse, during that time the entire Astral society has come under threat of destruction, and it’s up to Jacob to make things, including time itself, right. So, with the unlikely help of Mick Cracken, Jacob time-hops through the universe with Sarah Daisy and Dexter, encountering dinosaurs, Napoleon, and bad ‘80s fashion in their search for the one person who can help them, Jacob’s father.



No releases.



Firebrand (Rebel Angels #1), by Gillian Philip (February 19, Tor)

It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it. Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil. But even the Veil’s power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin. (US Release)

Fuse (Pure #2), by Julianna Baggott (February 19, Grand Central Publishing)

Young Adult. When the world ended, those who dwelled within the Dome were safe. Inside their glass world the Pures live on unscarred, while those outside, the Wretches, struggle to survive amidst the smoke and ash. Believing his mother was living among the Wretches, Partridge escaped from the Dome to find her. Determined to regain control over his son, Willux, the leader of the Pures, unleashes a violent new attack on the Wretches. It’s up to Pressia Belze, a young woman with her own mysterious past, to decode a set of cryptic clues from the past to set the Wretches free.

Shards and Ashes, by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (February 19, HarperCollins)

The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological, or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations, and one another; their resources are few, and their courage is tested. Original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions, and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world. Stories from: Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Melissa Marr, Beth Revis, Veronica Roth, Carrie Ryan, and Margaret Stohl.

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius (Outlander), edited by John Joseph Adams (February 19, Tor)

Readers have long been fascinated by megalomaniacal plans for world domination and the madmen who come up with them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of superheroes as they attempt to put an end to their evil ways. This anthology will explore the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses, from their own point of view. Featuring stories by: Carrie Vaughn, Alan Dean Foster, Daniel H. Wilson, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., L. A. Banks, Austin Grossman, Marjorie M. Liu, Ben Winters, David Farland, Mary Robinette Kowal, Harry Turtledove, Seanan McGuire, David D. Levine, Genevieve Valentine, Naomi Novik, Jeffrey Ford, Grady Hendrix, Theodora Goss, Jeremiah Tolbert, David Brin, and Diana Gabaldon.

The Shadow Wars: Book Two in the Demi-Monde Saga, by Rod Rees (February 19, William Morrow)

The shadows of war grow ever darker across the Demi-Monde. Norma Williams knows she was a fool to be lured into the virtual nightmare that is the Demi-Monde. When the agent sent in the game to save her goes rogue and a long forgotten evil is awoken, it falls to Norma to lead the resistance.Lost, without a plan, and with the army of the ForthRight marching ever closer, she must come to terms with terrible new responsibilities and with the knowledge that those she thought were her friends are now her enemies. To triumph in this surreal cyber-world she must be more than she ever believed she could be, or perish.

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand, by Gregory Galloway (February 21, Dutton Juvenile)

Young Adult. Adam Strand isn’t depressed. He’s just bored. Disaffected. So he kills himself, 39 times. No matter the method, Adam can’t seem to stay dead; he wakes after each suicide alive and physically unharmed, more determined to succeed and undeterred by others’ concerns. But when his self-contained, self-absorbed path is diverted, Adam is struck by the reality that life is an ever-expanding web of impact and forged connections, and that nothing, not even death, can sever those bonds.

The Different Girl, by Gordon Dahlquist (February 21, Dutton Juvenile)

Young Adult. Four nearly identical girls on a desert island. An unexpected new arrival. A gently warped near future where nothing is quite as it seems. Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl, the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck, suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.



Between Two Thorns, by Emma Newman (February 26, Angry Robot)

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer. There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs. But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

Gideon’s Angel, by Clifford Beal (February 26, Solaris)

1653: The long English Civil War is at an end. Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He decides to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. He learns that his is not the only plot in motion. A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a descent into Hell. Treadwell needs allies fast. Black dogs and demons; religion and magic. It’s a dangerous new Republic for a cavalier coming home again.

Superheroes, edited by Rich Horton (February 27, Prime Books)

Superheroes: modern gods and goddesses, remote, revered, but like the pantheon of heroes and heroines of ancient myth, great power tempered with flaws. And now, find within these pages tales by award-winning authors who move superheroes from the four-color panels of comic books to fiction, reminding every adult of the child within, who ever wanted to wear a cape and cowl. Authors include Peter S. Beagle, Kat Beyer, Leah Bobet, Carol Emshwiller, Elana Fontin, Daryl Gregory, Matthew Johnson, Ian Donald Keeling, James Patrick Kelly, Jessica J. Lee, Kelly Link, Ian McDonald, Joseph Mallozzi, Margaret Ronald, Aaron Schutz, and Gord Sellar.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series is published by Tor Books. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.


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