Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for December

Hauntings, holidays, history and more infuse December’s five genre-bending fictions! From Lovecraft to lemmings, and including recipes (!) from Jeanette Winterson, this is a notably varied holiday feast.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, 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

The Lovecraft Code—Peter Levenda (December 1, Ibis)
Drawing on decades of experience, author and historian Peter Levenda turns to the novel as the best and perhaps only way to tell a story that has to be told—that hidden within the tales of America’s most iconic writer of gothic horror, H.P. Lovecraft, runs a vein of actual terror. Gregory Angell, the present-day descendant of George Angell in Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu,” is summoned by a nameless covert agency of the US government to retrieve a sacred book from the grasp of an Islamist terror network operating out of northern Iraq, in the land of the Yezidi. Practitioners of a monotheistic religion with mystical traditions, the Yezidi are all that’s left of an ancient sect that possessed the key to the origins of the human race and was in conflict with another, more ancient civilization from beyond the stars.

Five Stories High—Jonathan Oliver, editor (December 6, Solaris)
One house, five hauntings, five chilling stories. Five Stories High is a collection of five novellas each set in the same house—Irongrove Lodge. This five story Georgian mansion, once a grand detached property, has now been split into five apartments. This is a building with history, the very bricks and grounds imbued with the pasts of those who have walked these corridors, lived in these rooms. Five extraordinary writers open the doors, revealing ghosts both past and present in a collection that promises to be as intriguing as it is terrifying. Featuring novellas by Sarah Lotz, JK Parker, Nina Allan, Robert Shearman and Tade Thompson.

1635: The Wars for the Rhine (Ring of Fire #24)—Anette Pedersen (December 6, Baen Books)
In the year 1635, the Rhineland is in turmoil. The impact of the Ring of Fire, the cosmic accident which transported the small modern West Virginia town of Grantville to Europe in the early seventeenth century, has only aggravated a situation that was already chaotic. Perhaps nowhere in central Europe did the Thirty Years War produce so much upheaval as it did in the borderlands between France and Germany. Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne shares the religious fanaticism of his older brother, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. He is determined to restore the power of the Catholic Church over the middle Rhine, the so-called “Bishop’s Alley,” and has unleashed a plot for that purpose. But that same middle Rhine is territory which Landgrave William V of Hesse-Kassel is determined to seize for himself, under the guise of expanding the influence of the United States of Europe. Add to the witch’s brew the deaths in battle of Duke Wolfgang of Jülich-Berg and his son, which leaves his young widow Katharina Charlotte as the heir to those much-prized territories. She is now on the run, in disguise—and pregnant. Add the unexpected arrival of Austria’s most capable general, Melchior von Hatzfeldt, along with the most ruthless spy and torturer in the Rhineland, Felix Gruyard. The wars for the Rhine have erupted, and only the devil knows how they will end.

Christmas Days: Twelve Stories—Jeanette Winterson (December 6, Grove)
For years Jeanette Winterson has loved writing a new story at Christmas time and here she brings together twelve of her brilliantly imaginative, funny and bold tales. For the Twelve Days of Christmas—a time of celebration, sharing, and giving—she offers these twelve plus one: a personal story of her own Christmas memories. These tales give the reader a portal into the spirit of the season, where time slows down and magic starts to happen. From trees with mysterious powers to a tinsel baby that talks, philosophical fairies to flying dogs, a haunted house and a disappearing train, Winterson’s innovative stories encompass the childlike and spooky wonder of Christmas. Perfect for reading by the fire with loved ones, or while traveling home for the holidays. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic courtesy of one of our most fearless and accomplished writers.

 

WEEK TWO

The Angels of Our Better Beasts—Jerome Stueart (December 13, ChiZine)
The Lemmings are really researching the Arctic biologists, the werewolves sing sweet Christian praise songs, and the signing gorilla just wants someone back in the cage for a minute or two. The Gryphon can fight your war for you, and there isn’t really a problem when the man you’ve been online dating turns out to be a bear, is there? No worries. Those old lions in the canyon aren’t up to something, are they? The doctors in the red coats just want to cure you of a terrible blood disease. Trust them. In the forest, the sasquatch has fallen in love with the cryptozoologist who follows him, while the god of the Brazos River courts the young, pretty Texas college students. These fifteen illustrated stories of beasts—and the beasts we sometimes become—ask us how much influence we have over each other, to bring out our beast sides or our best sides . . . and how much control the beasts already have over us.

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