Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for September

Twenty-four books stride between genres in September with a 9/11-related anthology, a futuristic tale from Salman Rushdie, an illustrated standalone edition of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, and new titles from, among others, Jim Butcher, Margaret Atwood, John L. Campbell, Kendare Blake, and Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart.

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

Child of Slaughter (Deathlands #124)James Axler (September 1, Gold Eagle)

When Doc is taken captive by a band of marauders in what was once Nebraska, Ryan and the companions rally to get him back. But they aren’t just fighting the local muties. They’re also up against the area’s terrifying terrain, which shifts and morphs at a moment’s notice. With their options dwindling in this mazelike region that doesn’t obey the laws of physics, the team joins forces with a beautiful and deadly woman who evens the odds on the battlefield. But while this warrior seems to be on their side, she has a secret agenda that could spell the end for them all. Since the nukecaust, the American dream has been reduced to a daily fight for survival. In the hellish landscape of Deathlands, few dare to dream of a better tomorrow. But Ryan Cawdor and his companions press on, driven by the need for a future less treacherous than the present.

Future Wars…And Other Punchlines—edited by Hank Davis (September 1, Baen)

War, as the general said, is hell, but it also has its humorous moments, though the humor may be grim, and you “had to be there” to get the joke. War is likely to continue into the future, and into space, no matter how many idealistic speeches are made and U.N. sponsored treaties get signed, and so will the wartime jokes, ranging from slapstick to gallows humor. And if “you had to be there” to get the point, science fiction authors are on board to put you there. Contributing authors include: David Drake, Frederik Pohl, Herbert Gold, Theodore R. Cogswell, Steven Utley, Christopher Anvil and more. Future war may be future hell, but there’ll also be future hilarity. (Anthology)

GermanicaRobert Conroy (September 1, Baen)

Deep in the heart of Europe’s Alps in the redoubt called Germanica, Nazi propaganda master Josef Goebbels and a battalion of Nazi zealots hold out against a frantic final Allied push to end World War II. Only America, led by its untried new president Harry Truman, remains to face the toughest of Nazi warriors as they hunker down for a bitter fight to the last man. Goebbels knows that if he can hold out just a bit longer, the war weary of the Western nations will back away from unconditional surrender for Germany. There are Americans and a few stalwart Europeans just as determined to put a final stake in the Nazi heart. It is now up to heroes in the making to bring down the dark Nazi menace growing like a cancer in the mountainous heart of the continent.

In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in the Post-9/11 World—edited by Douglas Lain (September 1, Night Shade)

Nearly twenty works of speculative fiction responding to and inspired by the events of 9/11, from writers seeking to confront, rebuild, and carry on, even in the face of overwhelming emotion. Writer and editor Douglas Lain presents a thought-provoking anthology featuring a variety of authors, from Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) and Cory Doctorow (Little Brother) to Susan Palwick (Flying in Place) and James Morrow (Towing Jehovah). Touching on themes as wide-ranging as politics, morality, and heartfelt nostalgia, today’s speculative fiction writers prove that the rubric of the fantastic offers an incomparable view into how we respond to tragedy.

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1)Zen Cho (September 1, Ace)

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path that will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain, and the world at large.

The Sparrow SistersEllen Herrick (September 1, William Morrow)

Standalone. The Sparrow sisters are tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are colorful and mysterious. Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. When Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear, and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The entire town begins to fail. It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

 

WEEK TWO

Redeemed (The Missing #8)Margaret Peterson Haddix (September 8, Simon & Schuster BYR)

Young Adult. After traveling through history multiple times and finding out his original identity, Jonah thought he’d fixed everything. But some of his actions left unexpected consequences. His parents, and many other adults, are still stuck as teenagers. And now Jonah has a new sibling, an identical twin brother named Jordan. As odd as all this is for Jonah, it’s beyond confusing for Jordan. How does everyone in his family have memories of Jonah when he doesn’t? How can his annoying kid sister Katherine speak so expertly about time travel, and have people from the future treating her with respect? A few rash moves by Jordan send them all into the future, and into danger. What if he’s also the only one who can get them back to safety, once and for all?

The Case of the Devil’s Interval (The Drollery Letters #1)Emily Butler (September 8, EgmontUSA)

Young Adult. Josephine Drollery is a very disgruntled new ghost. She, her parents, her future fiancé and many other dinner guests have been murdered, although only Josephine’s spirit still lingers. It was at that ill-fated dinner party that Josephine first met Mr. Edmund Serious, billing himself as The Great Montesquieu, Prophet of the Mystic River, and two other entertainers, Mr. Coffin and his harpist Mr. Cank, whose performance of a tune, “The Devil’s Interval,” terrifies ladies and is forbidden in proper society. Now Josephine must team up with Serious to find the murderer, uncover more plots, and outwit two industrious ghost-hunters hot on Josephine’s ghostly trail.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight NightsSalman Rushdie (September 8, Random House)

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. A baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining. They are all descended from creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced a number of children. Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights, or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, where beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.

 

WEEK THREE

Clockwork Lives (Clockwork Angels #2)Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart (September 15, ECW Press)

Marinda Peake is a woman with a quiet, perfect life in a small village; she long ago gave up on her dreams and ambitions to take care of her ailing father, an alchemist and an inventor. When he dies, he gives Marinda a mysterious inheritance: a blank book that she must fill with other people’s stories, and ultimately her own. A steampunk Canterbury Tales, and much more, as Marinda strives to change her life from a mere “sentence or two” to a true epic.

Lumiere (The Illumination Paradox #1)Jacqueline Garlick (September 15, Skyscape)

Young Adult. Seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth has only one hope left: finding her late father’s most prized invention, the Illuminator. It’s been missing since the day of the mysterious flash, a day that saw the sun wiped out forever over England. Living in darkness is nothing new to Eyelet. She’s hidden her secret affliction all of her life, a life that would be in danger if superstitious townspeople ever guessed the truth. After her mother is accused and executed for a crime that she didn’t commit, the now-orphaned Eyelet has no choice but to track down the machine that was created with the sole purpose of being her cure. Alone and on the run, she discovers the Illuminator, only to see a young man hauling it off. Determined to follow the thief and recover the machine, she ventures into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of her twisted world.

One Year After (After #2)William R. Forstchen (September 15, Forge)

It’s been two years since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States brought America to its knees. The survivors of Black Mountain, North Carolina, are beginning to piece back together the technologies they had taken for granted: electricity, radio communications, and medications. They hope that a new national government is finally emerging. Then comes word that most of the young men and women of the community are to be drafted into an “Army of National Recovery” and sent to trouble spots hundreds of miles away. When town administrator John Matherson protests the draft, he’s offered a deal: leave Black Mountain and enter national service, and the draft will be reduced. The brutal suppression of a neighboring community under its new federal administrator suggests that all is not as it should be with this government.

 

WEEK FOUR

Bits & Pieces (Rot & Ruin #5)Jonathan Maberry (September 22, Simon & Schuster BYR)

Young Adult. Benny Imura’s zombie-infested adventures are well-chronicled in the novels Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay, Flesh & Bone, and Fire & Ash. But what else was happening while he was on his quest? Who were the others navigating the ravaged landscape full of zombies? Bits & Pieces fills in the gaps about what we know about First Night, surviving the plague, and traveling the land of Rot & Ruin. Eleven all-new short stories from Nix’s journal and eleven previously published stories, including “Dead & Gone” and “Tooth & Nail,” are now together and in print for the first time, along with the first-ever script for the Rot & Ruin comic books.

The Sleeper and the SpindleNeil Gaiman (September 22, HarperCollins)

In this captivating and darkly funny tale, Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell have twisted together the familiar and the new as well as the beautiful and the wicked to tell a brilliant version of Snow White’s (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty’s (almost) stories. This story was originally published (without illustrations) in Rags & Bones (Little, Brown, 2013). This is the first time it is being published as an illustrated, standalone edition.

This Monstrous ThingMackenzi Lee (September 22, Katherine Tegen Books)

Young Adult. In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits. His brother, Oliver, dead. His sweetheart, Mary, gone. His chance to break free of Geneva, lost. Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead. Putting back together a broken life is difficult. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship. Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay.

Ungodly (Goddess War #3)Kendare Blake (September 22, Tor Teen)

Young Adult. For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said. So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved. But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces. And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death. Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)Rae Carson (September 22, Greenwillow)

Young Adult. Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home, until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

 

WEEK FOUR

Crossbones (Omega Days #4)John L. Campbell (September 29, Berkley)

Leading the U.S.S. Nimitz survivors has forced Father Xavier Church to make some hard decisions, but he’s protected his flock. Most people lost everyone they loved to the walking dead, but Evan Tucker didn’t have anything to lose. The folks on the Nimitz are the closest family he’s ever had. He’ll fight to his last breath to make sure nothing comes between them. Coast Guard captain Elizabeth Kidd has always been a consummate professional, the opposite of her cruel pirate ancestor of the same name. The Omega Virus didn’t just change people into zombies; for some, the change was more subtle, and much more nefarious. As the safe-haven of the Nimitz is besieged by marauders and terrifying Hobgoblins, they come up against the most deadly obstacle they’ve faced yet, one they have no chance of defeating, the cruel whims of nature itself.

Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Noir AnthologyRachel Caine, Cynthia Eden, Megan Hart, Suzanne Johnson, Jeffe Kennedy, and Mina Khan (September 29)

Six award-winning authors of fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal suspense present all-new novellas about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule. Includes Marion, Missing by Rachel Caine; Femme Fatale by Cynthia Eden; Dance with the Devil by Megan Hart; The Consort by Suzanne Johnson; Heart’s Blood by Jeffe Kennedy, and The Djinn in the Mirror by Mina Khan.

Shadow Play (Eve Duncan #19)Iris Johansen (September 29, St. Martin’s Press)

Eve Duncan is the most sought-after artist in the field of forensic sculpting. Dedicated to her work since her daughter Bonnie was taken and killed at the age of seven, Eve feels a sense of duty to those whose lives were lost and whose bones are now in her hands. When a sheriff in California contacts her with a request for help on the reconstruction of the skull of a nine-year-old girl whose body has been buried, his intensity and investment in the case puzzle her. When the ghost of the girl begins communicating with her, Eve finds herself wrapped up in the case. Not since Bonnie has Eve had such an experience. She finds herself determined to solve the murder and help the little girl find peace. Except that the killer is still out there, He knows Eve is on the case. He won’t rest until anything and anyone that could reveal his identity is eliminated.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1)Jim Butcher (September 29, Roc)

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora. When the Predator is severely damaged in combat, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion, to join a team of agents on a mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. Grimm will learn that the conflict between the Spires is a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake.

The Heart Goes Last (Positron 0)Margaret Atwood (September 29, Nan A. Talese)

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

The Lazarus Gate (The Apolloniam Case Files #1)Mark A. Latham (September 29, Titan)

London, 1890. Captain John Hardwick, an embittered army veteran and opium addict, is released from captivity in Burma and returns home, only to be recruited by a mysterious gentlemen’s club to combat a supernatural threat to the British Empire. This is the tale of a secret war between parallel universes, between reality and the supernatural; a war waged relentlessly by an elite group of agents; unsung heroes, whose efforts can never be acknowledged, but by whose sacrifice we are all kept safe.

Zeroes (Zeroes #1)Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti (September 29, Simon Pulse)

Young Adult. Ethan, aka “Scam,” has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn’t just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn’t consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts, like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him, his former group of friends, the self-named “zeroes” who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam’s latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

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.

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