Robot detectives, H.P. Lovecraft, a woman with wings, and a parade of dubious villains are among the characters you’ll find in this month’s genre-bending books—along with Chalk, the latest from Paul Cornell, and an anthology of feminist SFF stories from India and Australia!
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.
Standard Hollywood Depravity (A Ray Electromatic Mystery)—Adam Christopher (March 7, Tor.com Publishing)
The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about. As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar. But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal—or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?
Spaceman of Bohemia—Jaroslav Kalfar (March 7, Little, Brown)
Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country’s first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he’s dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father’s sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka? Rich with warmth and suspense and surprise, Spaceman of Bohemia is an exuberant delight from start to finish.
The Night Ocean—Paul LaFarge (March 7, Penguin Press)
Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, in particular with one episode in the legendary horror writer’s life: In the summer of 1934, the “old gent” lived for two months with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow, at Barlow’s family home in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Were they friends—or something more? Just when Charlie thinks he’s solved the puzzle, a new scandal erupts, and he disappears. The police say it’s suicide. Marina is a psychiatrist, and she doesn’t believe them. The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the 20th century, whose stories continue to win new acolytes, even as his racist views provoke new critics; Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality (and who collaborated with Lovecraft on the beautiful story “The Night Ocean”); his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan—the only person who knows the origins of The Erotonomicon, purported to be the intimate diary of Lovecraft himself.
Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean—Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, Anit Roy, editors (March 7, Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Young adult. Nineteen contributors from India and Australia—including Printz Award–winning author Margo Lanagan and New York Times bestsellers Justine Larbalestier and Samhita Arnir—team up to create a groundbreaking collection of feminist stories about the connections we all share. In this book, Little Red Riding Hood wears a space-suit, girls and boys turn the tables on catcallers, and Top Chef involves time-travelling to secure fresh ingredients. These are just a few of the stories told in Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, a collection of sci-fi and fantasy tales that reimagine what girls—and boys—can be and who they can see themselves as.
Born of a collaboration between award-winning Indian and Australian authors, Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is about connections: between men and women, boys and girls, between the past, the present, and the future. Through short stories, graphic novellas, and a play, the reader will discover new worlds where the strengths of women and men are celebrated and honored, and where magical realism is blended with self-confidence.
The Song Rising (Bone Season #3)—Samantha Shannon (March 7, Bloomsbury USA)
Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population. But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging. Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it . . .
The Hour of Daydreams—Renee Macalino Rutledge (March 14, Forest Avenue)
At a river near his home in the Philippine countryside, respected doctor Manolo Lualhati encounters the unthinkable—a young woman with wings. After several incredible visits, he coaxes her to stay behind—to quit flying to the stars with her sisters each night—so they can marry. Tala agrees, but soon finds herself grounded in a new life where she must negotiate Manolo’s parents’ well-intentioned scrutiny. As Tala tries to keep long-held family secrets from her new husband, Manolo begins questioning the gaps in her stories, and his suspicions push him even further from the truth. Weaving in the perspectives of Manolo’s parents, Tala’s siblings, and the all-seeing housekeeper, The Hour of Daydreams delves into contemporary issues of identity and trust in marriage, while exploring how myths can take root from the seeds of our most difficult truths.
Chalk—Paul Cornell (March 21, Tor.com Publishing)
Andrew Waggoner has always hung around with his fellow losers at school, desperately hoping each day that the school bullies—led by Drake—will pass him by in search of other prey. But one day they force him into the woods, and the bullying escalates into something more: something unforgivable; something unthinkable. Broken, both physically and emotionally, something dies in Waggoner, and something else is born in its place. In the hills of the West Country a chalk horse stands vigil over a site of ancient power, and there Waggoner finds in himself a reflection of rage and vengeance, a power and persona to topple those who would bring him low. Paul Cornell plumbs the depths of magic and despair in Chalk, a brutal exploration of bullying in Margaret Thatcher’s England.
The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History—Jon Morris (March 28, Quirk Books)
Nonfiction. Every hero needs a villain. But not all villains are dangerous—some are incompetent, comical, or just … weird. In his follow-up to The League of Regrettable Superheroes, author Jon Morris presents over a hundred of the strangest, most stupefying supervillains to ever see print in comics. Meet D-list rogues like Brickbat (choice of weapon: poisonous bricks), Robbing Hood (steals from the poor to give to the rich), Swarm (a crook made of bees; Nazi bees), and many more. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains affectionately and hilariously profiles oddball criminals from the history of comics.