Genre is an iffy proposition for twenty-six books releasing in June, with steampunk making a mini-comeback. Look for new titles from, among others, Charlie N. Holmberg, Ed Greenwood, Garth Nix, Michael Logan, Christopher Golden, and Felix J. Palma. Also check out three star-studded anthologies: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2015; The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2015; and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas, 2015.
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.
“Wake up, genius.” begins this story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel. Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.
Danielle has always been ‘linked’ to others so when her links were cut and she was banished from the city it was a shock in more ways than one. She no longer had fast access to information, food, friends, anything. She will fend for herself and she is notorious for having been part of an experimental type of linking with three others. They are either dead or dead to Danielle anyway. Then, an injured young girl turns up on her doorstep, the girl soon dies and Danielle cannot let go of the mystery of her death. With Neil, who lives in a neighbouring commune, she begins to make enquiries at places all over the countryside and starts suspecting that someone is making illegal modifications to humans, could it be that vampirism is becoming a trait in some humans from this illegal activity. Can Danielle find the source before they are all dead? (U.S. Release)
Young Adult. Kenna is tired of being “normal”. The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary, which she hates. She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust. After all, not all strength comes from superpowers.
Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day. Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks, like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future. Talk about unhappily ever after. Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse, before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.
Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own, an ability long thought impossible. While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. A murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (The Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq. #1)—Ishbelle Bee (June 2, Angry Robot)
1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human. John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree. Now Mr. Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down.
Young Adult. Aleks Vasin is the youngest of four brothers, each with his path mapped out. Aleks doesn’t want to work in his father’s shop and live with his family in a village in the westernmost corner of Siberene. When he hears his parents fretting about money, he decides to save them the cost of his keep and leave. He heads south to Rudavin, headquarters of the kingsguard, and he signs up for the army. Aleks realizes that this garrison is full of liars and thieves; he’s signed away four years of his life to a commander who steals his money and a captain who’s already hurt Aleks’s beloved horse. After a brutal beating, Aleks escapes, hoping to find safety and a new life somewhere in the north. There, this deserter finds love, adventure, and a skyship in which he might just prove himself a hero after all, if he can evade the soldiers who seek to capture him.
Octavia Leander, a powerful magical healer, is on the run with Alonzo Garrett, the Clockwork Dagger who forfeited his career with the Queen’s secret society of spies and killers, to save her. Now, they are on a dangerous quest to find safety and answers: Why is Octavia so powerful? Why does she seem to be undergoing a transformation unlike any witnessed for hundreds of years? The truth may rest with the source of her mysterious healing power, the Lady’s Tree. The tree lies somewhere in a rough, inhospitable territory known as the Waste. For years, the Waste has waged a bloody battle against the royal court to win its independence, and they need Octavia’s powers to succeed. Joined by unlikely allies, she must evade killers and Clockwork Daggers on a dangerous journey through a world on the brink of civil war.
Archie Dent is convinced that he and his friends Hachi and Fergus are the first three members of a new League of Seven: a group of heroes who come together to fight the Mangleborn whenever the monsters arise to destroy humanity. His belief is put to the test when they are forced to undertake separate missions. Archie and his faithful Tik-Tok servant Mr. Rivets pursue a shapeshifting girl who has stolen the Dragon Lantern, an ancient artifact with mysterious powers. And Hachi and Fergus travel to New Orleans to find Madame Blavatsky, the only person who knows the circumstances surrounding the death of Hachi’s father. In the course of their adventures the three heroes meet potential candidates to join their League. At the same time, they learn deep-rooted secrets that could destroy the League forever.
On an Earth that is not our own, Victoria never ascended the throne; the House of Hanover held England only briefly before being supplanted by the House of Harminster. It is a time of gaslamps and regularly scheduled airship flights, of trams and steam-driven clockwork. London, the capitol of the Empire of the Lion, is a filthy, crowded, fast-growing city where a series of shocking murders threatens the throne itself. Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend the Crown: a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion. It quickly becomes apparent that the Iron Assassin is more self-willed than Straker intended, and that the zombie’s past life is far more sinister than Straker thought.
A short story collection, including an Old Kingdom novella. Far to the north of the magical Old Kingdom, the Greenwash Bridge Company has been building a bridge for almost a hundred years. It is not an easy task, for many dangers threaten the bridge builders, from nomad raiders to Free Magic sorcerers. Despite the danger, Morghan wants nothing more than to join the Bridge Company as a cadet. But the company takes only the best, the most skillful Charter mages, and trains them hard, for the night might come when only a single young cadet must hold the bridge against many foes. Will Morghan be that cadet? Also included in this collection are eighteen short stories with a fantastical twist on an array of genres including science fiction, paranormal, realistic fiction, mystery, and adventure.
It began with a cow that just wouldn’t die. Yep. That’s right. They’re still un-dead, and now the disease has spread to humans. The epidemic that transformed Britain’s bovine population into a blood-thirsty, brain-grazing, zombie horde, err, zombie herd, is threatening to take over the globe. And there’s not much time left to stop it. All of Great Britain is infected and hungry. The rest of the world has a tough choice to make. Should they nuke the brits right off the map, men, women, children, cows and all, in the biggest geocide in history? Or should they risk global infection in a race against time to find a cure? With hungry zombies attempting to cross borders by plains, trains, boats, and any other form of transport available, it’s only a matter of time before the virus gets out. And if it does, there’s only one answer. This means war.
A novella of court intrigue in 1738 Versailles as a clever former soldier makes his fortune by introducing a modern water system (and toilets) to the ladies of the palace. He does this with magical help that he may not be able to control. (Digital)
Young Adult. The revolution is here. Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers, and excuses, inside the Chancellery. Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer from Irminau. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost, forever.
The Gods’ Day to Die—David Welch (June 16, 47North)
Desmond Taylor didn’t mean to fall in love. When he stumbles upon a beautiful archer deep in the wilderness, they begin a romance like no other. The woman is the goddess Artemis. Artemis has walked among mortals for thousands of years. Desmond and Artemis’s isolated paradise is violently shattered when they’re tracked down by the goddess Athena’s insane mortal son: a man hell-bent on killing every last god. Desmond finds himself traveling the globe at Artemis’s side, dodging bullets and proving himself as a fighter. The gods must come together to defend themselves, or risk dying violently at the hands of the psychopath. While they are skilled in battle, there are but a few gods left to fight the onslaught of mercenaries sent by their nemesis. Can Desmond stop the massacre of the last immortals, or could this truly be the end of the gods? (Digital; print available July 2015)
Carolyn’s not so different from the other people around her. She was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father. Carolyn hasn’t had a chance to get out much. She and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient customs. They’ve studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. They’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now, Father is missing, perhaps even dead, and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her. Carolyn has a plan. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she’s forgotten to protect the things that make her human.
The Two of Swords: Part Five—K.J. Parker (June 16, Orbit)
A soldier with a gift for archery. A woman who kills without care. Two brothers, both unbeatable generals, now fighting for opposing armies. No one in the vast and once glorious United Empire remains untouched by the rift between East and West, and the war has been fought for as long as anyone can remember. Some still survive who know how it was started, but no one knows how it will end. (Digital)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas 2015—edited by Paula Guran (June 16, Prime Books)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas 2015 inaugurates a new annual series of anthologies featuring some of the year’s best novella-length science fiction and fantasy. Novellas, longer than short stories but shorter than novels, are a rich and rewarding literary form that can fully explore tomorrow’s technology, the far reaches of the future, thought-provoking imaginings, fantastic worlds, and entertaining concepts with the impact of a short story and the detailed breadth of a novel. Gathering a wide variety of SF and fantasy, this anthology of “short novels” showcases the talents of both established masters and new writers. Authors include: Seth Chambers, James S.A. Corey, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Nancy Kress, John P. Murphy, K.J. Parker, Mary Rickert, Patrick Rothfuss and Genevieve Valentine.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2015 Edition—edited by Rich Horton (June 16, Prime Books)
This seventh volume of the year’s best science fiction and fantasy features more than thirty stories by some of the genre’s greatest authors, including Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Cory Doctorow, James Patrick Kelly, Yoon Ha Lee, Kelly Link, Ken Liu, Sandra MacDonald, K.J. Parker, Robert Reed, Peter Watts, and many others.
A horror novelette about a strange woman living in luxury with her lover, but irrevocably tied to her childhood of deprivation and dark secrets in northwest England. The woman recalls the unravelling of the family upon her uncle’s release from prison. (Digital)
Young Adult. On the run with deadly government secrets, Avie must decide if she can live up to her name and truly become fearless for the cause or if it’s better to just give in. Having survived a violent confrontation with the US government, Avie is not out of danger. Both she and the young man she loves, Yates, have been declared terrorists, and Yates is hospitalized in critical condition, leaving Avie with the perilous task of carrying information that can bring down the Paternalist party. Forced on the run with handsome, enigmatic woodsman Luke, Avie struggles when every turn becomes a choice between keeping the two of them alive or completing their mission. With her face on every news channel and a quarter million dollar reward from the man who still owns her marriage contract, Avie’s worst fears are about to come true.
Young Adult. Riley, an orphan boy living in Victorian London, has achieved his dream of becoming a renowned magician, the Great Savano. He owes much of his success to Chevie, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent who traveled from the future in a time pod and helped him defeat his murderous master, Albert Garrick. Riley has always believed in his heart of hearts that Garrick will someday, somehow, return to seek vengeance. Chevie has assured Riley on numerous occasions that Garrick was sucked into a temporal wormhole, never to emerge. Just as a human body will reject an unsuitable transplant, the wormhole eventually spat him out. By the time Garrick makes it back to Victorian London, he has been planning his revenge on Riley for half a century. When the assassin decides to include Chevie in his retaliation, the three are tossed once more into the wormhole with no idea where, or when, they will end up. (Digital; print available September 2015)
In the near future, the U.S. has deployed the Remote Infantry Corps: thousands of robots remote-piloted by soldiers whose bodies lie hidden in underground bases. But the worst occurs when anarchists set off a global pulse that shorts out electrical connections. In Damascus, Private Danny Kelso, Corporal Kate Wade, and their platoon realize they are trapped inside the Tin Men, something the government never warned them could happen. In Athens, the G20 Summit comes under fire, and a band of security soldiers and advisors risk everything in an effort to shepherd the President to safety. With anarchist Bot Killers on their trail, the Tin Men must survive a gauntlet of violence on the road from Damascus to the heart of Europe, half of them determined to stay true to their mission and save their president, half of them hellbent to save themselves.
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015 Edition—edited by Paula Guran (June 24, Prime Books)
An annual exploration of the year’s best dark fiction that includes stories of quiet fear, the utterly fantastic, the weirdly surreal, atmospheric noir, mysterious hauntings, seductive nightmares, and frighteningly plausible futures. Featuring tales from masterful authors and talented new writers including: Kelley Armstrong, Dale Bailey, Laird Barron, Elizabeth Bear, Richard Bowes, Nadia Bulkin, Gemma Files, S.L. Gilbow, Maria Dahvana Headley, Stephen Graham Jones, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brandon Sanderson, Jeff VanderMeer and many more.
When the person he loves most dies in tragic circumstances, the mysterious protagonist of The Map of Chaos does all he can to speak to her one last time and confess the secret he didn’t dare tell her while she was alive. A session with the most renowned medium of all time seems to offer the only solution, but the experience unleashes terrible forces that bring the world to the brink of disaster. Salvation can only be found in The Map of Chaos, an obscure book that he is desperate to find. In his search, he is given invaluable help by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, and of course by H.G. Wells, whose Invisible Man seems to have escaped from the pages of his famous novel to sow terror among mankind. They alone can discover the means to save the world and to find the path that will reunite the lovers separated by death. (U.S. Release)
In the not-too-distant future, during an unacknowledged mission inside the Syrian border, a government operative unwittingly triggers an incredible event that alters the course of society. A terrible weapon has been unleashed, a weapon that, left to run its course, will destroy the moral fabric of humanity. In the midst of crisis, the population struggles to survive in a world short on vital resources. Inflation cripples the US economy and post-war armored military vehicles patrol the streets. One man stands up to push back the overwhelming wave of tyranny triggered by the onset of nationwide martial law. How can he possibly succeed against a high tech and tyrannical enemy that is hell-bent on ripping liberty from the pages of future history?
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors thriller series. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.