Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for October

Thirty-one rehabilitated science fiction and uncategorizable books make up this month’s genre-benders, from steampunk to dystopia to horror. Look for new series additions this month from Eric Flint and David Carrico (1636); Trevor Shane (Children of Paranoia); Bec McMaster (London Steampunk); Jonathan L. Howard (Johannes Cabal); Tina Connolly (Ironskin); Paul Crilley (Tweed & Nightingale); and Emma Jane Holloway (Baskerville Affair). If short fiction is more your style, look for new anthologies this month featuring stories set in the worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a set of new fairy tales, and a collection of horror.

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.

WEEK ONE

1636: The Devil’s OperaEric Flint and David Carrico (October 1, Baen)

The United States of Europe, the nation formed by an alliance between the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and the West Virginians hurled back in time by a cosmic accident, is on the verge of civil war. His brain injured in the war with Poland, the USE’s emperor Gustavus Adolphus is no longer in command. Enter Swedish chancellor Oxenstierna, a leader of aristocratic reaction against democracy. Mike Stearns’ wife Rebecca Abrabanel is organizing resistance to Oxenstierna’s plot. The American musician Marla Linder and her company of musical partners are staging an opera that will celebrate the struggle against oppression. Another plot is underway. Can the American detective Byron Chieske and his partner Gotthilf Hoch thwart the killers before they succeed in their goal?

Blackout (Blackout #1)Robison Wells (October 1, Harper Teen)

Young Adult. Laura and Alec are trained terrorists. Jack and Aubrey are high school students. There was no reason for them to ever meet. But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger, where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

Children of the Uprising (Children of Paranoia Series #3)Trevor Shane (October 1, NAL)

Over generations, the War has grown. It has become bloodier. With the involvement of a third faction, one that wants to put an end to the violence finally, even more enemies lurk around every corner. Strangers have been watching Christopher for his entire life. He doesn’t know why, but he knows that he has paranoia in his blood. He has prepared since he was young for the day that they would stop watching and come for him. On his eighteenth birthday, Christopher is attacked. Though he escapes with his life, he finds himself thrust into a War he never knew existed. To the people of the War, Christopher is a legend, the hero or the villain who may one day bring an end to the conflict. But Christopher knows only that he isn’t willing to become anyone’s pawn.

Ghosts KnowRamsey Campbell (October 1, Tor)

Graham Wilde is a contentious, bombastic host of the talk radio program Wilde Card. His job is to stir the pot, provoking many a heated call with his audience. He invites Frank Jasper, a purported psychic, to come on the program. When Jasper appears on his show, Wilde draws upon personal knowledge about the man to embarrass him on air, using patter similar to that which Jasper utilizes in his act. He next encounters Jasper when the psychic is hired by the family of a missing adolescent girl to help them find her. Wilde is horrified when Jasper suggests that he might be behind the girl’s disappearance. Evidence against Wilde begins to mount, alienating his listeners, the radio station. As Wilde descends into despair as reality and fantasy begin to blur in a kaleidoscope of terror. (U.S. Release)

Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal #3)Jonathan L. Howard (October 1, Thomas Dunne)

Johannes Cabal and his rather inexact powers of necromancy are back once more. This time, his talents are purchased by The Fear Institute as they hunt for the Phobic Animus, the embodiment of fear. The three Institute members, led by Cabal and his Silver Key, enter the Dreamlands and find themselves pursued by walking trees plagued with giant ticks, stone men that patrol the ruins of their castles, cats that feed on human flesh, and phobias that torment and devastate. The intrepid explorers are killed off one by one as they traipse through this world, where history itself appears to alter. Cabal finds himself alone with the Institute’s only remaining survivor, and begins to suspect that not everything is quite as it seems. (U.S. Release)

My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk #3)Bec McMaster (October 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother’s disappearance. And get out. In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. But she doesn’t count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy. He could be her most dangerous nemesis, or the ally she never dreamed existed.

Red HillJamie McGuire (October 1, Atria)

Young Adult. For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals. When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy, an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

The Enchanter Heir (The Heir Chronicles #4)Cinda Williams Chima (October 1, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre, the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed. Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a network that hunts the undead. Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away. She runs the streets until the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah’s life. The Wizards’ suspicions grow when members of the mainline guilds start turning up dead. They blame Nightshade. Jonah and Emma work to uncover the truth about Thorn Hill, amid increasing concern that whoever planned the Thorn Hill Massacre might strike again.

The Necromancer’s HouseChristopher Buehlman (October 1, Ace)

Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago. Andrew has long known that magic was a brutal game requiring blood sacrifice and a willingness to confront death, but his many years of peace and comfort have left him soft, more concerned with maintaining false youth than with seeing to his own defense. A monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her.

The Rain Is a Lie: A Tor.Com OriginalGennifer Albin (October 1, Tor)

Young Adult. In Arras, space and time aren’t ideas, they are tangible substances woven together by beautiful girls into the very fabric of reality. The looms that create Arras are as controlled as the Spinsters who work them, ensuring a near idyllic world for the average citizen. But at what price? As an election approaches, a surprise weather forecast and a mysterious stranger hint that not all is as it seems, and a young boy learns that in Arras nothing can be trusted, not even memories. (Digital)

Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs—edited by Mike Resnick and Robert T. Garcia (October 1, Baen)

From Tarzan to Marks, eleven new tales set in the worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Richard Lupoff, Ralph Roberts, Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah Hoyt, Peter David, Max Alan Collins and Matthew Clemens, Todd McCaffrey, F. Paul Wilson, and Joe R. Lansdale.

Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales—edited by Paula Guran (October 2, Prime Books)

A collection of eighteen fairy tales: imaginative reinterpretations of the familiar, evocative new myths, or speculations beyond the traditional realm of “once upon a time.” Includes stories by Nathan Ballingrud, Christopher Barzak, Richard Bowes, Cinda Williams Chima, Theodora Goss, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Tanith Lee, Yoon Ha Lee, Ekaterina Sedia, Priya Sharma, Nisi Shawl, Cory Skerry, Angela Slatter, Genevieve Valentine, A.C. Wise, Kaaron Warren, Erzebet YellowBoy, and Jane Yolen.

Wakulla Springs: A Tor.Com OriginalAndy Duncan and Ellen Klages (October 2, Tor)

Wakulla Springs, in the deep jungle of the Florida panhandle, is the deepest submerged freshwater cave system in the world. In its unfathomable depths, a variety of curious creatures have left a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end. And that’s just the local human beings over the last seventy-five years. Then there are the prehistoric creatures, and, just maybe, something else. (Digital)

 

WEEK TWO

BlythewoodCarol Goodman (October 8, Viking)

Young Adult. Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy. She’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst. Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. Nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do.

Ever After High: The Storybook of LegendsShannon Hale (October 8, Little, Brown)

Young Adult. At Ever After High, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens, whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. The Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End, both for a story and for a life. As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen’s destiny is to follow in her mother’s wicked footsteps. The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future. What if Raven doesn’t sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both.

Lighthouse Island: A NovelPaulette Jiles (October 8, William Morrow)

Young Adult. In the coming centuries the world’s population has exploded and covered the earth with cities. On this urban planet the only relief from overcrowding and the harsh rule of the big Agencies is the television in every living space, with its dreams of vanished waterfalls and the promise of virtual vacations in green spaces. It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island. An opportunity for escape appears and Nadia takes it. She meets the man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, mapmaker and demolition expert. Together they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megapolis—Lighthouse Island and its all-seeing eye.

Slayers: The Making of a Mentor: A Tor.Com OriginalC.J. Hill (October 8, Tor)

Before dragon eggs landed on American soil. Before a Slayer camp existed. And before Tori discovered her powers, there was an island. Lush forests, jutting peaks, and sloping hills covered St. Helena, the single most remote island in the Atlantic. And it is here where Dr. B grew up, working each summer on the Overdrake plantation alongside his brother. All was well until the day something was discovered on the plantation and things went horribly wrong. (Digital)

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 24th Edition—edited by Stephen Jones (October 8, Running Press)

The newest volume of horror includes work from Joan Aiken, Peter Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Joe R. Lansdale, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Robert Silverberg, Michael Marshall Smith, Evangeline Walton, and many others.

 

WEEK THREE

Come Back to the Sea: A Tor.Com OriginalJason Vanhee (October 15, Tor)

The story of Yukio, who hears the sea singing and sees disturbing visions of the water swallowing everything she knows. Is it all in her head? Or is the sea really coming for her? (Digital)

Copperhead (Ironskin #2)Tina Connolly (October 15, Tor)

Helen Huntingdon is beautiful, so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask. Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. Alistair’s influential clique Copperhead is out to restore humans to their “rightful” place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies. Helen is determined to find her missing sister. When that pits her against her own husband, she’s pushed to discover how far she’ll bend society’s rules to do what’s right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor.., and her heart.

Fiendish SchemesK.W. Jeter (October 15, Tor)

The world Dower left when he went into hiding was significantly simpler than the new, steam-powered Victorian London. After accepting congratulations for his late father’s grandest invention, a walking, steam-powered lighthouse, Dower is enticed by the prospect of financial gain into a web of intrigue with ominously mysterious players. If he can locate and make his father’s Vox Universalis work as it was intended, his future, he is promised, is assured. His efforts are confounded by the strange Vicar Stonebrake, who promises him aid, but is more interested in converting sentient whales to Christianity, and making money, than in helping George. Dower is trapped in a maelstrom of secrets, corruption, and schemes that threaten to drown him in the chaos of this mad new world.

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)Alexandra Bracken (October 15, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children has survived every attempt to destroy it. The truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart. As Ruby sets out across a lawless country to find Liam, she is torn between old friends and the promise to serve the League.

The N-Body ProblemTony Burgess (October 15, ChiZine)

In the end, the zombie apocalypse was nothing more than a waste disposal problem. Burn them in giant ovens? Bad optics. Bury them in landfill sites? The first attempt created acres of twitching, roiling mud. The acceptale answer is to jettison the millions of immortal automatons into orbit. Room enough and a view. Soon, earth’s near space is a mesh of bodies interfering with the sunlight, having an effect on our minds that we never saw coming. Aggressive hypochondria, rampant depressive disorders, irresistible suicidal thoughts. Life on earth slowly became not worth living. Heaven had moved in too close. We all knew where we were going and it was just up there, just far enough to never, ever leave.

The Osiris Curse (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures #2)Paul Crilley (October 15, Pyr)

When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blueprints for his super weapons are stolen, Tweed and Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. It seems that the people who shot Nikola Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Set. They go undercover on the luxury airship, The Albion, setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed-out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza. In Egypt, the duo begin to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth-shattering that if revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world.

The Wasteland Saga: Three Novels—by Nick Cole (October 15, Harper Voyager)

Forty years after a devastating thermonuclear Armageddon, mankind has been reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. The Wasteland Saga chronicles the struggle of the Old Man, his granddaughter, and a mysterious boy as they try to survive the savage lands of this new American Dark Age. With the words of the Old Man’s most prized possession, a copy of Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea, echoing across the wasteland, they journey into the unknown through three tales of endurance and adventure in a land ravaged by destruction. Compiled for the first time in print, The Wasteland Saga comprises Nick Cole’s novels The Old Man and the Wasteland, The Savage Boy, and The Road is a River.

 

WEEK FOUR

Rags and Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales—edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt (October 22, Little, Brown)

Favorite classic stories reimagined, from Neal Gaiman, Carrie Ryan, Gene Wolfe, Kelley Armstrong, Rick Yancey, Kami Garcia, Charles Vess, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Margaret Stohl and Saladin Ahmed, among others.

The AbominableDan Simmons (October 22, Little, Brown)

Young Adult. It’s 1926, and the desire to summit the world’s highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he’s dead, and wants them to bring him back alive. As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy’s body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disapperances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions, and possibly creatures.

AlteredGennifer Albin (October 29, Farrar Straus and Giroux)

Young Adult. Life. Possibility. Choice. All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back. But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for. Altered is Gennifer Albin’s thrilling sequel to Crewel. Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.

A Study in Darkness (The Baskerville Affair #2)Emma Jane Holloway (October 29, Del Rey)

When a bomb goes off at 221B Baker Street, Evelina Cooper is thrown into her Uncle Sherlock’s world of mystery and murder. Just when she thought it was safe to return to the ballroom, old, new, and even dead enemies are clamoring for a place on her dance card. Before Evelina’s unpacked her gowns for a country house party, an indiscretion puts her in the power of the Gold King. He knows her disreputable past and exiles her to the alleyways of Whitechapel with orders to unmask his foe. Evelina struggles between hiding her illegal magic and succumbing to the darker aspects of her power. One path keeps her secure; the other keeps her alive. Rebellion is brewing, a sorcerer wants her soul, and no one can protect her in the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper.

Dream LondonTony Ballantyne (October 29, Solaris)

In Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it. But the towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. There are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the East End and a path spiralling down to another world. Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be, and Captain Jim Wedderburn is beginning to understand that he’s not the man he thought he was.

The Shadowhunter’s Codex: The Mortal InstrumentsCassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis (October 29, Margaret K. McElderry)

Since the thirteenth century, the Shadowhunter’s Codex has been theone and only manual for Shadowhunters looking to brush up on their demon languages, learn proper stele use, and discover just what exactly a pyxis is. Featured in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, this is an illustrated guide for any young Nephilim on his journey to becoming a Shadowhunter. The Codex contains images of the famous Shadowhunter homeland of Idris and depictions of demons and other Downworlders. But this isn’t just any copy of The Shadowhunter’s Codex. It’s Clary’s copy, and she’s sketched pictures of her friends and family in the book, and scrawled helpful advice in the margins. She couldn’t exactly stop Jace or Simon from adding their thoughts either.


Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continued in August with the release of Elysian Fields. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.

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