Ghosts, secrets, rewritten classics, classics being newly collected, sequels, and a guy who knows the future—this month’s genre-benders are all over the map in the best possible way.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories—Arthur Machen (April 3, Oxford University PresS)
Perhaps no figure better embodies the transition from the Gothic tradition to modern horror than Arthur Machen. In the final decade of the nineteenth century, the Welsh writer produced a seminal body of tales of occult horror, spiritual and physical corruption, and malignant survivals from the primeval past which horrified and scandalized late-Victorian readers. Machen’s “weird fiction” has influenced generations of storytellers, from H. P. Lovecraft to Guillermo Del Toro. This new collection constitutes the most comprehensive critical edition of Machen yet to appear. In addition to the core late-Victorian horror classics, a selection of lesser-known prose poems and later tales helps to present a fuller picture of the development of Machen’s weird vision. The edition’s introduction and notes contextualize the life and work of this foundational figure in the history of horror.
The Body Library (Nyquist Mystery #2)—Jeff Noon (April 3, Angry Robot)
In a city dissolving into an infected sprawl of ideas, where words come to life and reality is contaminated by stories, John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body … The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre. Only one man can hope to put it all back together into some kind of order, enough that lives can be saved … That man is Nyquist, and he is lost.
The Overstory—Richard Powers (April 3, W.W. Norton)
An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers—each summoned in different ways by trees—are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans.
The Oracle Year—Charles Soule (April 3, Harper Perennial)
Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions, eager to profit from his prophecies. He’s also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it’s come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. It’s all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.
The Invisible Valley—Su Wei (April 3, Small Beer Press)
Lu Beiping is one of 20 million young adults the Chinese government uproots and sends far from their homes for agricultural re-education. And Lu is bored and exhausted. While he pines for romance, instead he’s caught up in a forbidden religious tradition and married off to the foreman’s long-dead daughter so that her soul may rest. The foreman then sends him off to cattle duty up on Mudkettle Mountain, far away from everyone else. On the mountain, Lu meets an outcast polyamorous family led by a matriarch, Jade, and one of her lovers, Kingfisher. They are woodcutters and practice their own idiosyncratic faith by which they claim to placate the serpent-demon sleeping in the belly of the mountains. Just as the village authorities get wind of Lu’s dalliances with the woodcutters, a typhoon rips through the valley. And deep in the jungle, a giant serpent may be stirring.
Wonderblood—Julia Whicker (April 3, St. Martin’s Press)
Wonderblood is set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice. When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor’s queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl’s ascent.
Unbury Carol—Josh Malerman (April 10, Del Rey)
Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times … but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days. Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her … alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave. And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.
Circe—Madeline Miller (April 10, Little, Brown)
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
Not So Stories—David Thomas Moore, editor (April 10, Abaddon)
Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was one of the first true children’s books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories paint a magical, primal world. It’s also deeply rooted in British colonialism. Kipling saw the Empire as a benign, civilising force, and his writing can be troubling to modern readers. Not So Stories attempts to redress the balance, bringing together new and established writers of colour from around the world to take the Just So Stories back, giving voices to cultures that were long deprived them.
Traitor Born (Second Born #2)—Amy A. Bartol (April 17, 47North)
Secondborn Roselle St. Sismode was pressed into military service to battle the rebel uprising threatening the society that enslaves her. Now, powerful factions conspire to subvert the lines of succession, positioning Roselle to replace her mother as leader of the Republic’s armed forces. But the woman who bore her would sooner see Roselle dead than let her usurp her firstborn brother’s command. The deadly war of intrigue between her new masters and her ruthless family is but one conflict challenging Roselle. A soldier for the rebellion has drawn her into a rogue army’s plot to overthrow the Republic and shatter its brutal caste system. Targeted by assassins and torn between allies, Roselle’s loyalty, love, and honor will be tested in the greatest battle of—and for—her life.
Blackfish City—Sam J. Miller (April 17, Ecco)
After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living. However, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population. When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.
The Real-Town Murders—Adam Roberts (April 17, Gollancz)
Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying. Alma’s partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the five minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine. So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home. What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.
The Atrocities—Jeremy Shipp (April 17, Tor.com Publishing)
When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn’t suffer. But Isabella’s parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella’s … condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor. Or is there…?
Reset—Brian Andrews (April 24, Thomas & Mercer)
Deep in the Afghan mountains, Sergeant Michael Pitcher discovers an object with powers that defy explanation. After interacting with it, he suffers a traumatic seizure and is flown home for evaluation. Cleared by the doctors, Michael goes home to his relieved wife, Josie. But he’s a changed man. The once-loving husband is now coldly withdrawn. After emptying the couple’s bank account, he disappears into the night. When a team of scientists connected to Sergeant Pitcher vanishes without a trace, CIA agent Dean Ninemeyer comes to him for insight—only to find that the recovering soldier has also disappeared. Dean and Josie must now join forces in a desperate race against time, searching for answers in an ever-twisting mystery. What they uncover is a chilling conspiracy that already has the fate of the world in its grip.
The Emissary—Yoko Tawada (April 24, New Directions)
Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient—frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise. Mumei may be enfeebled and feverish, but he is a beacon of hope, full of wit and free of self-pity and pessimism. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers “the beauty of the time that is yet to come.” Yoko Tawada, deftly turning inside-out “the curse,” defies gravity and creates a playful joyous novel out of a dystopian one, with a legerdemain uniquely her own.