The world is an especially strange place in this month’s genre-benders, from Christopher Brown’s post-USA Tropic of Kansas to David Williams’ When the English Fall. Edgar Cantero explores the grown-up lives of some Meddling Kids; Sherlock Holmes takes on Cthulhu; and Harry Turtledove continues his Hot War series with Armistice. Plus, two best of the year anthologies!
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions—Lois H. Gresh (July 4, Titan)
A series of grisly murders rocks London. At each location, only a jumble of bones remains, along with a bizarre bone sphere covered in arcane symbols. The son of the latest victim seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, who discover a common thread that ties together the murders—and the persons responsible. Bizarre geometries—based on ancient schematics—point to members of a secluded cult. These men and women build strange constructs that will enable other-worldly creatures to enter our dimension, seeking sustenance. They are gaining so much power that even Moriarty fears that his empire is at risk—to the point that he seeks an unholy alliance with his eternal foe.
The Song of the Orphans (The Silvers #2)—Daniel Price (July 4, Blue Rider Press)
The end of the world was just the beginning for Hannah and Amanda Given. Saved from apocalypse by three mysterious beings, the sisters were marked with a silver bracelet and transported to an entirely different Earth—a place where restaurants move through the air like flying saucers and the fabric of time is manipulated by common household appliances. There, the Givens were joined by four other survivors in silver: an acerbic cartoonist, a shy teenage girl, an aloof young Australian, and a troubled ex-prodigy. Hunted by enemies they never knew they had, and afflicted with temporal abilities they never wanted, the sisters and their new companions embarked on a cross-country journey to find the one man who can give them shelter. Now, six months after their tumultuous arrival in New York City, the Silvers find themselves in more trouble than ever. Their new world is dying, and a clan of powerful timebenders believes that killing them is the only way to stop it. The U.S. government has sent its most ruthless spy agency to track and capture them. And a new pair of allies—with their own terrifying abilities—endangers the group from within. But their biggest threat of all may be the people who first saved them: the godlike Pelletiers. They had a reason for bringing the Givens and their friends to this world. And when the Silvers learn the awful truth, nothing will ever be the same.
Tropic of Kansas—Christopher Brown (July 11, Harper Voyager)
The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it’s out there—that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Sig,the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is his foster sister Tania, a government investigator. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change—if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect. As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.
Meddling Kids—Edgar Cantero (July 11, Doubleday)
Summer, 1977: The Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. 1990: The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader … which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years. The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine—Ellen Datlow, editor (July 11, Night Shade Books)
An elderly man aggressively defends his private domain against all comers—including his daughter; a policeman investigates an impossible horror show of a crime; a father witnesses one of the worst things a parent can imagine; the abuse of one child fuels another’s yearning; an Iraqi war veteran seeks a fellow soldier in his hometown but finds more than she bargains for. The Best Horror of the Year showcases the previous year’s best offerings in short fiction horror. This edition includes award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Adam L. G. Nevill, Livia Llewellyn, Peter Straub, Gemma Files, Brian Hodge, and more.
Gork, the Teenage Dragon—Gabe Hudson (July 11, Knopf)
Gork isn’t like the other dragons at WarWings Military Academy. He has a gigantic heart, two-inch horns, and an occasional problem with fainting. His nickname is Weak Sauce and his Will to Power ranking is Snacklicious—the lowest in his class. But he is determined not to let any of this hold him back as he embarks on the most important mission of his life: tonight, on the eve of his high school graduation, he must ask a female dragon to be his queen. If she says yes, they’ll go off to conquer a foreign planet together. If she says no, Gork becomes a slave. Vying with Jocks, Nerds, Mutants, and Multi-Dimensioners to find his mate, Gork encounters friends and foes, including Dr. Terrible, the mad scientist; Fribby, a robot dragon obsessed with death; and Metheldra, a healer specializing in acupuncture with swords. But finally it is Gork’s biggest perceived weakness, his huge heart, that will guide him through his epic quest and help him reach his ultimate destination: planet Earth.
Cat Pictures Please & Other Stories—Naomi Kritzer (July 11, Fairwood Press)
Here are seventeen of Naomi Kritzer’s marvelous tales of science fiction and fantasy, including her Hugo Award-winning story “Cat Pictures Please,” about what would happen if artificial intelligence was born out of our search engine history. Two stories are previously unpublished. Kritzer has a gift for telling tales both humorous and tender. Her stories are filled with both wit and intelligence, and require thoughtful reading.
The Art of Starving—Sam J. Miller (July 11, Harper Teen)
Young adult. Matt hasn’t eaten in days. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away. Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have … powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space. So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe? Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger … and he isn’t in control of all of them.
Telling the Map—Christopher Rowe (July 11, Small Beer Press)
There are ten stories here including one readers have waited ten long years for: in new novella The Border State Rowe revisits the world of his much-lauded story “The Voluntary State.” Competitive cyclists twins Michael and Maggie have trained all their lives to race internationally. One thing holds them back: their mother who years before crossed the border … into Tennessee.
Sorry We Missed You!—Eugene Soukharnikov (July 11, Articulated Press)
After receiving an incredibly disturbing piece of mail from her beloved neocon-government, our anti-heroine, a lesbian mother of two surrogate daughters, determines that she has no choice but to immediately escape the country. She makes a solo break for the very dangerous Eastern border, which is a charnel house in every sense of the word. Yes, the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. has been regime-changed and Balkanized and a dog now holds the highest office in the land. The “democratic” ideals envisioned by the country’s neo-con forefathers and a fire and brimstone “Goddess” are now upheld by the few remaining states that have not been stripped off by former allies. However, if anything continues to be true, it’s that freedom is damn well not free! Your average citizen is now compelled to pay millions of dollars as a result of Congresses’ compulsory Freedom and Consumption Law (SR-911666), from which Congress itself is, of course, exempt. Sorry We Missed You! is a dystopian satire of life in a future United States.
When the English Fall—David Williams (July 11, Algonquin)
When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community. Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos: Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they don’t, can they survive?
Armistice (The Hot War #3)—Harry Turtledove (July 18, Del Rey)
In 1952 American cities lie in ruins. President Harry Truman, in office since 1945, presides over a makeshift government in Philadelphia, suffering his own personal loss and fearing for the future of democracy. In the wake of Hitler’s reign, Germany and America have become allies, and Stalin’s vise-hold on power in the USSR persists. Unwilling to trust the Soviet tyrant, Truman launches a long-planned nuclear strike on the city of Omsk—killing Stalin and plunging the Red Army into leaderless, destructive anarchy. Meanwhile, the Baltic states careen toward rebellion and Poland is seized by rebels bred on war. In a world awash with victims turned victors, refugees, and killers, has Truman struck a blow for peace or fueled more chaos? As these staggering events unfold, the lives of men and women across battle lines, ethnicities, and religions play out across the globe.
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls—Lauren Karcz (July 25, Harper Teen)
Young adult. Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile in the past year. Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is in a coma. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings. Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate. At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she hasn’t ever before. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.