Stories, fairytales, superheroes, literary time travel—the genre-lines are crossing in all kinds of interesting directions this month. Which will you pick up first: the latest creepy thriller form M.R. Carey? Joyce Carol Oates’ new time travel novel? N.K. Jemisin’s first collection of short fiction? All of the above and then some?
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Someone Like Me—M.R. Carey (November 6, Orbit)
Liz Kendall wouldn’t hurt a fly. Even when times get tough, she’s devoted to bringing up her two kids in a loving home. But there’s another side to Liz—one that’s dark and malicious. She will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme. And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.
An Agent of Utopia—Andy Duncan (November 6, Small Beer Press)
In the tales gathered in An Agent of Utopia: New and Selected Stories you will meet a Utopian assassin, an aging UFO contactee, a haunted Mohawk steelworker, a time-traveling prizefighter, a yam-eating Zombie, and a child who loves a frizzled chicken—not to mention Harry Houdini, Zora Neale Hurston, Sir Thomas More, and all their fellow travelers riding the steamer-trunk imagination of a unique 21st-century fabulist. From the Florida folktales of the perennial prison escapee Daddy Mention and the dangerous gator-man Uncle Monday that inspired “Daddy Mention and the Monday Skull” to the imagined story of boxer and historical bit player Jess Willard in World Fantasy Award winner “The Pottawatomie Giant” or the Ozark UFO contactees in Nebula Award winner “Close Encounters” to Flannery O’Connor’s childhood celebrity in Shirley Jackson Award finalist “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse,” Duncan’s historical juxtapositions come alive on the page as if this Southern storyteller was sitting on a rocking chair stretching the truth out beside you.
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded—James Alan Gardner (November 6, Tor Books)
Only days have passed since a freak accident granted four college students superhuman powers. Now Jools and her friends (who haven’t even picked out a name for their superhero team yet) get caught up in the hunt for a Mad Genius’s misplaced super-weapon. But when Jools falls in with a modern-day Robin Hood and his band of super-powered Merry Men, she finds it hard to sort out the Good Guys from the Bad Guys—and to figure out which side she truly belongs on. Especially since nobody knows exactly what the Gun does…
Northwood—Maryse Meijer (November 6, Catapult)
Part fairy tale, part horror story, Northwood is a genre-breaking novella told in short, beautifully strange passages. The narrator, a young woman, has fled to the forest to pursue her artwork in isolation. While there, she falls in love with a married man she meets at a country dance. The man is violent, their affair even more so. As she struggles to free herself, she questions the difference between desire and obsession—and the brutal nature of intimacy.
City of Ash and Red—Hye-young Pyun (November 6, Arcade Publishing)
Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of City of Ash and Red is sent by the extermination company he works for on an extended assignment in C, a country descending into chaos and paranoia, swept by a contagious disease, and flooded with trash. No sooner does he disembark than he is whisked away by quarantine officials and detained overnight. Isolated and forgotten, he realizes that he is stranded with no means of contacting the outside world. Still worse, when he finally manages to reach an old friend, he is told that his ex-wife’s body was found in his apartment and he is the prime suspect. Barely managing to escape arrest, he must struggle to survive in the streets of this foreign city gripped with fear of contamination and reestablish contact with his company and friends in order to clear his reputation. But as the man’s former life slips further and further from his grasp, and he looks back on his time with his wife, it becomes clear that he may not quite be who he seems.
Unholy Land—Lavie Tidhar (November 6, Tachyon)
Lior Tirosh is a semi-successful author of pulp fiction, an inadvertent time traveler, and an ongoing source of disappointment to his father. Tirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa. But Palestina—a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century—has grown dangerous. The government is building a vast border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in Ararat City is growing. And Tirosh’s childhood friend, trying to deliver a warning, has turned up dead in his hotel room. A state security officer has now identified Tirosh as a suspect in a string of murders. A rogue agent is stalking Tirosh through transdimensional rifts—possible futures that can only be prevented by avoiding the mistakes of the past.
The Arrival of Missives—Aliya Whiteley (November 6, Titan Books)
In the aftermath of the Great War, Shirley Fearn dreams of challenging the conventions of rural England, where life is as predictable as the changing of the seasons. The scarred veteran Mr. Tiller, left disfigured by an impossible accident on the battlefields of France, brings with him a message: part prophecy, part warning. Will it prevent her mastering her own destiny? As the village prepares for the annual May Day celebrations, where a new queen will be crowned and the future will be reborn again, Shirley must choose: change or renewal?
Harley Quinn: Mad Love—Paul Dini & Pat Cadigan (November 13, Titan Books)
When she was only seven years old, Harleen Quinzel witnessed her father being beaten up by thugs, and then arrested by the police. That night she ran away to the safest place she could think of: Coney Island amusement park. But there, pursued into the Funhouse by the men who brutalised her father, she beheld unimaginable horrors. Years later, Harleen has put her past behind her, and used her intelligence and ambition to escape her childhood of poverty with a career in psychiatry. Assigned to her first position at Arkham Hospital, she will discover, deep in the asylum, something dangerous and alluring, something quite unlike anything else she has ever known before: The Joker. From the moment that Harleen finds a rose on her desk to the moment she dons her harlequin hat, this is the definitive story that chronicles the obsession, the burning desire, the manic laughter, and the birth of Harley Quinn.
Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils (The Cthulhu Casebooks)—James Lovegrove (November 13, Titan Books)
It is the autumn of 1910, and for fifteen long years Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson have battled R’lluhloig, the Hidden Mind that was once Professor James Moriarty. Europe is creeping inexorably towards war, and a more cosmic conflict is nearing its zenith, as in a single night all the most eminent members of the Diogenes Club die horribly, seemingly by their own hands. Holmes suspects it is the handiwork of a German spy working for R’lluhloig, but his search for vengeance costs an old friend his life. The companions retreat to Holmes’s farm on the Sussex Downs, and it is not long before a client comes calling. Three young women have disappeared from the nearby town of Newford, and the locals have no doubt who is responsible. For legend has it that strange amphibious creatures dwell in a city on the seabed, coming ashore every few centuries to take fresh captives. As Holmes and Watson seek out the terrifying interlopers, the scene is set for the final battle that will bring them face to face with the Sussex Sea-Devils, and perhaps with Cthulhu himself…
We Can Save Us All—Adam Nemett (November 13, Unnamed Press)
Welcome to The Egg, an off-campus geodesic dome where David Fuffman and his crew of alienated Princeton students train for what might be the end of days: America is in a perpetual state of war, climate disasters create a global state of emergency, and scientists believe time itself may be collapsing. Funded by the charismatic Mathias Blue and fueled by performance enhancers and psychedelic drugs, a student revolution incubates at The Egg, inspired by the superheroes that dominate American culture. The arrival of Haley Roth—an impassioned heroine with a dark secret—propels David and Mathias to expand their movement across college campuses nationwide, inspiring a cult-like following. As the final superstorm arrives, they toe the line between good and evil, deliverance and demagogues, the damned and the saved.
My Sister, the Serial Killer—Oyinkan Braithwaite (November 20, Doubleday)
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.
Lip Hook: A Tale of Rural Unease—David Hine & Mark Stafford (November 27, SelfMadeHero)
Somewhere in the British Isles, at the end of a neglected road, there is a village called Lip Hook. For its inhabitants, the village is more than the end of the road—it’s the end of the world. Beyond it, there is nothing but mist-shrouded marshland. Few travelers take the road to Lip Hook, but one foggy night, a car speeds perilously toward the village. The driver is a dangerously beautiful woman, the passenger a man with a gunshot wound and a suitcase containing a treasure he has risked his life for. Cash-strapped but in need of a place to hide, the two fugitives seek shelter at the Hanged Man Inn, where the woman persuades the innkeeper to accept payment in kind. As days pass and the woman extends her services to more of Lip Hook’s men, among them the village priest, a false faith grips the community—and reason, logic, and humanity begin to disappear.
How Long ’Til Black Future Month?—N.K. Jemisin (November 27, Orbit)
N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.
Hazards of Time Travel—Joyce Carol Oates (November 27, Ecco)
“Time travel”—and its hazards—are made literal in this novel in which a recklessly idealistic girl dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled (future) world and is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America—“Wainscotia, Wisconsin”—that existed eighty years before. Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town she is set upon a course of “rehabilitation”—but cannot resist falling in love with a fellow exile and questioning the constrains of the Wainscotia world with results that are both devastating and liberating.
Unclay—T.F. Powys (November 27, New Directions)
Reissue. First published in 1931, Unclay glows with an unworldly light—Death has come to the small village of Dodder to deliver a parchment with the names of two local mortals and the fatal word unclay upon it. When he loses the precious sheet, he is at a loss, and also free of his errand. Hungry to taste the sweet fruits of human life, Mr. John Death, as he is now known, takes a holiday in Dorsetshire and rests from his reaping. The village teems with the old virtues (love, kindness, patience) and the old sins (lust, avarice, greed). What unfolds is a witty, earthy, metaphysical, and delicious novel of enormous moral force and astonishing beauty.