Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for November

Sixteen new releases defy the bounds of genre this month. Look for new November releases from, among others, Gail Carriger, Stephen King, T. Frohock, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Joe R. Lansdale.

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

Devil’s Vortex (Deathlands #125)James Axler (November 3, Gold Eagle)

An orphaned teen with the ability to transform into a vicious whirlwind latches on to Ryan and the companions as they travel through former North Dakota. Her deadly power seems like a boon at first, until it starts to control her. When threatened, she destroys everything in her path, including those she loves. Then a group of outcast fighters kidnaps the young woman and manipulates her, and her terrifying mutation, for their own destructive agenda. With the vortex unleashed, the companions face a tough decision: chill the orphan or perish in her violent wake. 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.

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4)Gail Carriger (November 3, Little, Brown BYR)

Young Adult. Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster, in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: StoriesStephen King (November 3, Scribner)

A collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers, the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits”; the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

The Conjurer’s Riddle (The Inventor’s Secret #2)Andrea Cremer (November 3, Philomel)

Charlotte and her companions escape the British Empire, but they haven’t left danger behind. In fact, if they go against the revolutionaries, they face even greater peril. Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she’s on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city, the den of criminals, assassins and pirates, Charlotte must decide if the revolution’s goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.

The Man Who Spoke SnakishAndrus Kivirahk (November 3, Grove Press, Black Cat)

The imaginative and moving story of a boy who is tasked with preserving ancient traditions in the face of modernity. Set in a fantastical version of medieval Estonia, this book follows a young boy, Leemet, who lives with his hunter-gatherer family in the forest and is the last speaker of the ancient tongue of snakish, a language that allows its speakers to command all animals. But the forest is gradually emptying as more and more people leave to settle in villages, where they break their backs tilling the land to grow wheat for their “bread” (which Leemet has been told tastes horrible) and where they pray to a god very different from the spirits worshipped in the forest’s sacred grove. With lothario bears who wordlessly seduce women, a giant louse with a penchant for swimming, a legendary flying frog, and a young charismatic viper named Ints. (U.S.)

Without Light or Guide (Los Nefilim #2)T. Frohock (November 3, Harper Voyager Impulse)

Always holding themselves aloft from the affairs of mortals, Los Nefilim have thrived for eons. But with the Spanish Civil War looming, their fragile independence is shaken by the machinations of angels and daimons, and a half-breed caught in-between. For although Diago Alvarez has pledged his loyalty to Los Nefilim, there are many who don’t trust his daimonic blood. And with the re-emergence of his father, a Nefil who sold his soul to a daimon, the fear is Diago will soon follow the same path. Yet even as Diago tries to prove his allegiance, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim’s suspicions, including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered. (Digital)

 

WEEK TWO

Crimson Shore (Pendergast #15)Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (November 10, Grand Central)

A secret chamber. A mysterious shipwreck. A murder in the desolate salt marshes. A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated, and sinister, than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated. Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton. Pendergast and Constance soon learn that Exmouth is a town with a very dark and troubled history, and this skeleton may be only the first hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years.

The August 5Jenna Helland (November 10, Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR)

Young Adult. Tommy Shore is the son of the most important man on Aeren, a high-ranking politician who wants nothing more than to take away all of the rights of the lower-class cottagers. Tamsin Henry is the daughter of a revolutionary man who has hopes of overthrowing the corrupt politicians, also called the Zunft, the group that holds all the power in this world. The two sides clash when Tommy rescues Tamsin during the August Rising, a cottager attack organized by a group of rebels known as the August Five. He starts to question the motives of the Zunft and realizes that it will take all of his resolve to stand up to his father and fight for the rights of those who have none.

The Great ForgettingJames Renner (November 10, Sarah Crichton Books)

Jack Felter returns home to bucolic Franklin Mills, Ohio, to care for his father who suffers from dementia. Jack would love to forget about Franklin Mills, and about Sam, the girl he fell in love with, who ran off with his best friend, Tony. Tony has gone missing. Jack is pulled into the search for Tony, but the only one who seems to know anything is Tony’s last patient, a paranoid boy named Cole. Jack must team up with Cole to follow Tony’s trail. Their journey will lead them to Manhattan, then to facilities buried under the Catskills, and eventually to a forgotten island in the Pacific, the final destination of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. When Jack learns the details about the program known as the Great Forgetting, he’s faced with a timeless question: Is it better to forget our greatest mistakes, or to remember, so that they are never repeated?

The Shards of Heaven (The Shards of Heaven #1)Michael Livingston (November 10, Tor)

Julius Caesar is dead and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar’s great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar’s legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, a secret conflict may shape the course of history. Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods, or the one God. Driven by vengeance. Juba has already attained the Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. He will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards. Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves, and the daughter of Cleopatra herself.

Wings of Sorrow and Bones: A Clockwork Dagger Novella (Clockwork Dagger Duology #2.5)Beth Cato (November 10, Harper Voyager Impulse)

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day. When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends. (Digital Novella)

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)Marissa Meyer (November 10, Feiwel and Friends)

Young Adult. Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend, the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Word PuppetsMary Robinette Kowal (November 10, Prime Books)

The author of five historical fantasy novels in the Glamourist series, Mary Robinette Kowal is also well known as an author of short science fiction and fantasy. Her stories encompass a wide range of themes, a covey of indelible characters, and settings that span from Earth’s past to its near and far futures as well as even farther futures beyond. Alternative history, fairy tales, adventure, fables, science fiction, fantasy, nothing is beyond the reach of her unique talent. This is the first comprehensive collection of Kowal’s extraordinary fiction and includes her two Hugo-winning stories, a Hugo nominee, an original story set in the world of “The Lady Astronaut of Mars,” and fourteen other tales.

 

WEEK THREE

BeatleboneKevin Barry (November 17, Doubleday)

It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.

 

WEEK FOUR

Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Volume 2Caitlin R. Kiernan (November 30, Subterranean)

Collecting the finest of Kiernan’s stories from 2004 to 2012, selected by the author herself. The book includes twenty-five short stories and one poem, plus the short novel ”Black Helicopters”, over two hundred thousand words of fiction, including the World Fantasy Award-winning ”The Prayer of Ninety Cats.” In this volume you will find the full range of her work amply displayed. Her output to date has already placed her at the head of her field; she has nothing more to prove. Any subsequent work can only augment her achievement.” The collection includes the first complete bibliography of Kiernan’s writing (1985-2015).

Fender LizardsJoe R. Lansdale (November 30, Subterranean)

The tale of the life and love and work of one Dot Sherman, who delivers on her promise that her story is “the real thing from beginning to end.” Dot waitresses on roller skates at the Dairy Bob, doesn’t care for smoking at least partly on account of her dad having never returned from a cigarette run, and carries on the family tradition of philosophizing. Life hasn’t done her any favors in her seventeen years so far. But if there was ever a heroine built for turning things upside down and seeing what shakes out, it’s Dot. Determined to find out who she is and why she’s the way she is, an opportunity presents itself when her heretofore-unknown uncle suddenly moves his camper into the front yard. Here is an overlooked world and a cast of real folks that prove unforgettable.

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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