Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for December

Seventeen releases fill the shelves with our favorite new genre-defying category in December, from cozy supernatural mysteries to alternate history. Look for series additions from Harry Turtledove (Supervolcano), Mike Resnick (Weird West Tales), Roberto Calas (The Scourge), Emma Jane Holloway (The Baskerville Affair), Gareth L. Powell (Ack-Ack Macaque), and Guy Adams (Heaven’s Gate). Looking for a good new anthology? Check out Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

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.


The Christmas Show: A Tor.Com OriginalPat Cadigan (December 1, Tor)

A Christmas story about a pair of sisters under a mysterious curse that forces them to travel around the U.S. producing local theatrical productions. This time, they’re producing A Christmas Carol with the real ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. (Digital.)

1920: America’s Great WarRobert Conroy (December 3, Baen)

Consider another 1920: Imperial Germany has become the most powerful nation in the world. In 1914, she had crushed England, France, and Russia. By 1920, Kaiser Wilhelm II is looking for new lands to devour. The United States is fast becoming an economic super-power and the only nation that can threaten Germany. The U.S. is militarily inept and is led by a sick President who wanted to avoid war at any price. Germany is able to ship an army to Mexico to support a puppet government. Her real goal: the invasion and conquest of California and Texas. America desperately resists as enemy armies savagely marched up on California, and move north towards a second Battle of the Alamo. Only the indomitable spirit of freedom can answer the Kaiser’s challenge.

Communion Town: A City in Ten ChaptersSam Thompson (December 3, Bloomsbury)

Young Adult. Each of us conjures our own city, one of many incarnations; a place throbbing with so many layers, meanings, and hidden corners cannot be the same for any two citizens. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different citizen, defining the city itself as a character, both protagonist and antagonist, and each is told in a different genre, from a hardboiled detective story to steampunk to gothic horror. As the novel unfolds in different neighborhoods, we encounter a lovelorn folksinger, a repressed detective, a slaughterhouse worker, a lost tourist, a bon vivant, and a ghost. From their lonely voices we gather the many-faceted story of the city: a place imagined differently by each citizen as he or she searches for connection, transformation, or escape. (U.S.)

Dangerous Women—edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (December 3, Tor)

All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones. Also included are original stories of dangerous women, heroines and villains alike—Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn, S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others.

Dragon’s Teeth, by Mercedes Lackey (December 3, Baen)

Fiddler Fair: Animal rights fanatics try to “liberate” genetically reconstructed dinosaurs. Lawrence of Arabia meets a power beyond human comprehension, and King Arthur is reborn into the present day when he again gains possession of the enchanted sword Excalibur. Werehunter: A young woman who has been given the power to transform herself into a leopard, but finds herself pursued by a hunter who is more than human. Skitty, ship’s cat extraordinaire, and telepathic problem-solver, saves the day on a spaceship. Return to the world of the Heralds of Valdemar series, and much more. Occult detective Diana Tregarde, attends a gathering of romance writers and encounters a visitor whose passionate desire is for fresh, warm blood.

Elementary (All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters)—edited by Mercedes Lackey (December 3, DAW)

The novels in the Elemental Masters series are loosely based on classic fairy tales, and take place in a fantasy version of turn-of-the-century London, where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Now the voices of other authors join Mercedes Lackey to add their own special touches to this alternate history, in a world where magic is always just around the corner.

Home for the Haunting (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #4)Juliet Blackwell (December 3, Signet)

No good deed goes unpunished. San Francisco contractor Mel Turner is leading a volunteer home renovation project, and while she expects lots of questions from her inexperienced crew, she can’t help asking a few of her own, especially about the haunted house next door, the place local kids call the Murder House. But when volunteers discover a body while cleaning out a shed, questions pile up faster than discarded lumber. Mel notices signs of ghostly activity next door and she wonders: Are the Murder House ghosts reaching out to her for help, or has the house claimed another victim? Now, surprised to find herself as the SFPD’s unofficial “ghost consultant,” Mel must investigate murders both past and present before a spooky killer finishes another job.

Supervolcano: Things Fall Apart (Supervolcano #3)Harry Turtledove (December 3, Roc)

An explosion of incalculable magnitude in Yellowstone Park propelled lava and ash across the landscape and into the atmosphere, forever altering the climate of the entire continent. Nothing grows from the tainted soil. Stalled and stilled machines function only as statuary. People have been scraping by on the excess food and goods produced before the eruption. But supplies are running low. Natural resources are dwindling. And former police officer Colin Ferguson knows that time is running out for his family, and for humanity.



The Doctor and the Dinosaurs (Weird West Tales #4)Mike Resnick (December 10, Pyr)

Doc Holliday lies in bed in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado. The medicine man and chief Geronimo needs him for one last adventure. Renegade Comanche medicine men object to the newly-signed treaty with Theodore Roosevelt. They are venting their displeasure on two men. Geronimo must protect the men or renege on his agreement with Roosevelt. He offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for taking on this mission. Welcome to the birth of American paleontology, spearheaded by two brilliant men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two men whose genius is only exceeded by their hatred for each other. Doc Holliday must save Cope and Marsh not only from the Comanches, not only from living, breathing dinosaurs, but from each other.

Friedrich the Snowman: A Tor.Com OriginalLewis Shiner (December 11, Tor)

If you gaze long enough into the holidays, the holidays will gaze back into you. (Digital)



The Hexslinger OmnibusGemma Files (December 17, ChiZine)

It’s 1867, and the Civil War is over. For Asher Rook, Chess Pargeter, and Ed Morrow, the war has left its mark in tangled lines of association and cataclysmic love, woken hexslinger magic, and the terrible attentions of a dead god. “Reverend” Asher Rook is the gateway for the Mayan goddess Ixchel to birth her pantheon back into the world of the living, and to do it she’ll force Rook to sacrifice his lover and fellow outlaw Chess Pargeter. Chess Pargeter will claw his way back out of Hell, teaming with undercover-Pinkerton-agent-turned-outlaw Ed Morrow to wreak it. A new war being waged across the American West, and Ixchel preparing to kick off an Apocalypse fed by shed human blood while Rook plots one, final, redemptive treachery of his own, everything will come down to Chess Pargeter. But Chess has fought his way out of hell before. (Digital)

When It’s a JarTom Holt (December 17, Orbit)

Maurice has just killed a dragon with a bread knife. And had his destiny foretold, and had his true love spirited away. That’s precisely the sort of stuff that’d bring out the latent heroism in anyone. Unfortunately, Maurice is pretty sure he hasn’t got any latent heroism. Meanwhile, a man wakes up in a jar in a different kind of pickle (figuratively speaking). He can’t get out, of course, but neither can he remember his name, or what gravity is, or what those things on the ends of his legs are called, and every time he starts working it all out, someone makes him forget again. Forget everything. Only one thing might help him. The answer to the most baffling question of all: When is a door not a door?



Nostrum (The Scourge Book 2)Roberto Calas (December 24, 47North)

The journey north ended with The Scourge. The journey for a cure has just begun. Sir Edward Dallingridge survived his journey through the anarchy that is now England, leaving in his wake the bodies of mad lords, foul invaders, friends, and the risen dead. There was nothing on earth that could keep him from the woman he loves. Nothing but the horror that has already consumed her. How does one drive away a plague sent from hell? His only hope lies in the rumors of a cure, a treatment concocted by a strange man on an island fortress. Edward will do everything in his power to find this alchemist and to bring Elizabeth back from the walking terror she has become.

A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair #3)Emma Jane Holloway (December 31, Del Rey)

As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. She’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day. That’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press. Their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is, he’s dead.

Hive Monkey (Ack-Ack Macaque #2)Gareth L. Powell (December 31, Solaris)

The stunning follow-up to Ack-Ack Macaque, which featured the Spitfire pilot monkey hero of a computer game who turned out to be real. The first book was met with wide acclaim upon release.In order to hide from his unwanted fame as the spitfire-pliot-monkey who emerged from a computer game to defeat the dangerous coporation who engineered him, the charismatic and dangerous Ack-Ack Macaque is working as a pilot on a world-circling nuclear powered Zeppelin. But when the cabin of one of his passengers is invaded by that passenger’s own dying doppelganger, our hirsute hero finds himself thrust into another race to save the world—this time from an aggressive hive mind, time-hopping saboteurs, and an army of homicidal Neanderthal assassins.

Once Upon a Time in Hell (Heaven’s Gate Trilogy #2)Guy Adams (December 31, Solaris)

“Heaven? Hell? There’s no difference. Angels, demons, we’re all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you of course, there’s no escape from here…” Wormwood has appeared and for twenty four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn’t mean you should step through it… Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they’ve already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.

Things WitheredSusie Moloney (December 31, ChiZine)

A middle-aged realtor trying to get ahead any way she can. A bad girl pays for cheating with a married man. A wife with a dark past lives in fear of being exposed. The bad acts of a little old lady come home to roost. A young man with no direction finds power behind the wheel of a haunted truck. From behind the pretty drapes of the average suburban home, madness peers out. Stories of suburban darkness from the award-winning author of A Dry Spell, The Thirteen, and The Dwelling prove that life can turn on you, or you can turn on it. (U.S.)

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


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