All the New Horror and Genre-Bending Books Arriving in May! | Tor.com

All the New Horror and Genre-Bending Books Arriving in May!

Head below for a list of genre-bending titles—horror, mystery, short fiction collections, and more—heading your way in May!

Keep track of all the new SFF releases here. All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher. Release dates are subject to change.

 

Week One (May 2)

Not Alone — Sarah K. Jackson (Doubleday)

Five years ago, a microplastic storm wiped out most of the population. No infrastructure. No safe havens. No goodbyes. Since then, Katie and Harry have lived in isolation in their small flat outside London. Katie forages, hunts the surviving animal population, and provides for Harry, who was born after the storm, and who has never left their little home. After years without human contact, Katie and Harry are shocked by the arrival of a threatening newcomer, just as Katie’s persistent cough seems to have taken a turn for the worse. But this proof of life beyond their familiar environment spurs Katie to undertake a previously unthinkable journey, in search of her fiancé, Jack, who never came home the day of the storm, and a different kind of life for Harry. Outside of their protected bubble, Katie and Harry encounter an altered world, full of new dangers, other survivors–both friend and foe–and many surprises. Katie’s resources, energy, and parenting abilities are pushed to the brink, as Harry’s life and safety waver in the balance, knowing that the further they get from their flat, the harder it will be to return if things go wrong.

A Portrait In Shadow — Nicole Jarvis (Titan)

When Artemisia Gentileschi arrives in Florence seeking a haven for her art, she faces instant opposition from the powerful Accademia, self-proclaimed gatekeepers of Florence’s magical art world. As artists create their masterpieces, they add layer upon layer of magics drawn from their own life essence, giving each work the power to heal—or to curse. The all-male Accademia jealously guards its power and has no place for an ambitious young woman arriving from Rome under a cloud of scandal. Haunted by the shadow of her harrowing past and fighting for every commission, Artemisia begins winning allies among luminaries such as Galileo Galilei, the influential Cristina de’ Medici and the charming, wealthy Francesco Maria Maringhi. But not everyone in Florence wants to see Artemisia succeed, and when an incendiary preacher turns his ire from Galileo to the art world, Artemisia must choose between revenge and her dream of creating a legacy that will span the generations.

Clytemnestra — Costanza Casati (Sourcebooks)

You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot. But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice. Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did. If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

Chain Gang All-Stars—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Pantheon)

Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom. In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE’s corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.

Loki — Melvin Burgess (Pegasus Books)

Starting with the Norse creation myths, the trickster god Loki takes the reader on a wild ride through Norse mythology, from the era when the gods—the founders of Asgard—defeated a race of monsters, and then hurtles through legendary stories, including Odin hanging himself on the World Tree, the theft of the corrupting gold ring, and the murder of Baldr, the god of love and the sun. Born within the heart of a fire in the hollow of a tree-trunk, Loki arrives in Asgard as an outsider. He is a trickster, an unreliable narrator, the god of intelligence and politics. In spite of his cleverness and sparkling wit (or, perhaps, because of this), Loki struggles to find his place among the old patriarchal gods of supernatural power and is constantly at odds with the god of thunder—Thor. Alongside the politics of Asgard, the novel charts the course of Loki’s many loves and families, from his mothering of Odin’s famous horse to his intense, turbulent, and, eventually fatal relationship with Baldr the Beautiful—a tender and moving story of a love that goes wrong. This is a retelling that is contemporary in tone, at once amusing and relatable. It is a heartfelt plea to overthrow the old gods of power and authority and instigate a new era ruled by love and intelligence.

The Salt Grows Heavy — Cassandra Khaw (Nightfire)

You may think you know how the fairy tale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes. On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three “saints” who control them. The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.

 

Week 2 (May 9)

Adrift — Lisa Brideau (Sourcebooks)

Ess wakes up alone on a sailboat in the remote Pacific Northwest with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She finds a note, but it’s more warning than comfort: Start over. Don’t make yourself known. Don’t look back. Ess must have answers. She sails over a turbulent ocean to a town hundreds of miles away that, she hopes, might offer insight. The chilling clues she uncovers point to a desperate attempt at erasing her former life. But why? And someone is watching her…someone who knows she must never learn her truth. In Ess’s world, the earth is precariously balanced at a climate tipping point, and she is perched at the edge of a choice: which life does she want? The one taken from her―and the dangerous secret that was buried―or the new one she can make for herself?

Graveyard of Lost Children — Katrina Monroe (Sourcebooks)

At four months old, Olivia Dahl was almost murdered. Driven by haunting visions, her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the “dead women” living at the bottom of the well. Now Olivia is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own…and for the first time, she hears the women whispering. Everyone tells Olivia she should be happy. She should be glowing, but the birth of her daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia’s body starts giving out, slowly deteriorating as the baby eats and eats and eats, she begins to fear that the baby isn’t her daughter at all and, despite her best efforts, history is repeating itself. Soon images of a black-haired woman plague Olivia’s nightmares, drawing her back to the well that almost claimed her life―tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child…or herself.

Atalanta — Jennifer Saint (Flatiron)

When Princess Atalanta is born, a daughter rather than the son her parents hoped for, she is left on a mountainside to die. But even then, she is a survivor. Raised by a mother bear under the protective eye of the goddess Artemis, Atalanta grows up wild and free, with just one condition: if she marries, Artemis warns, it will be her undoing. Although she loves her beautiful forest home, Atalanta yearns for adventure. When Artemis offers her the chance to fight in her name alongside the Argonauts, the fiercest band of warriors the world has ever seen, Atalanta seizes it. The Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece is filled with impossible challenges, but Atalanta proves herself equal to the men she fights alongside. As she is swept into a passionate affair, in defiance of Artemis’s warning, she begins to question the goddess’s true intentions. Can Atalanta carve out her own legendary place in a world of men, while staying true to her heart?

 

Week 3 (May 16)

The Monsoon War — Bina Shah (Delphinium)

The Monsoon War revisits the futuristic country of Before She Sleeps, where government leaders maintain a stranglehold over women’s freedom and reproductive lives. In a neglected southern province, a female armed resistance bands together as the Hamiyat, the protectors of those who are too weak to withstand. Now, they plan a courageous attack on the perpetrators of this regime that will free them from its tyranny forever. Alia Musa is the wife of three husbands in a remote mountain village of Dhofar. When her youngest child, Noor, discovers a group of women who have escaped the regime to take refuge on the mountain, Alia must leave her home, join the Hamiyat resistance, and find out just how far she is willing to go for the daughters she loves, the husband she adores, and the mountain that she calls home. As a promising young soldier in the Hamiyat, Katy Azadeh has found family and home in the resistance. Kidnapped during an unexpected skirmish and taken from the mountains, Katy is seduced by the ways of wealthy neighboring Eastern Semitia. Despite their veiled promises, Katy must find her way back to the Hamiyat to face the war that threatens their very existence. Commander Fatima Kara is a veteran of the Hamiyat, leading her women to protect the women of the mountain villages from the government agents and the abuses of polygamy. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from Eastern Semitia makes Fatima Kara gamble with the lives of her soldiers, to win the ultimate prize for them all—their freedom.

Family Business — Jonathan Sims (Gollancz)

When Diya Burman’s best friend Angie dies, it feels like her own life is falling apart. Wanting a fresh start, she joins Slough & Sons – a family firm that cleans up after the recently deceased. Old love letters. Porcelain dolls. Broken trinkets. Clearing away the remnants of other people’s lives, Diya begins to see things. Horrible things. Things that get harder and harder to write off as merely her grieving imagination. All is not as it seems with the Slough family. Why won’t they speak about their own recent loss? And who is the strange man that keeps turning up at their jobs? If Diya’s not careful, she might just end up getting buried under the family tree.

Blue Skies — T. C. Boyle (Liverlight)

Denied a dog, a baby, and even a faithful fiancé, Cat suddenly craves a snake: a glistening, writhing creature that can be worn like “jewelry, living jewelry” to match her black jeans. But when the budding social media star promptly loses the young “Burmie” she buys from a local pet store, she inadvertently sets in motion a chain of increasingly dire and outrageous events that comes to threaten her very survival.

 

Week 4 (May 23)

No new titles.

 

Week 5 (May 30)

Uranians — Theodore McCombs (Astra House)

At the end of the Victorian era, a handful of public intellectuals advocated for tolerance of the “Uranian”—a man who loved other men. Some went so far as to propose that these “intermediate sexes” might, in fact, constitute a totally different species, even serve as intrepid guides in our march toward an uncertain future. The five speculative stories in Theodore McCombs’s kaleidoscopic collection span several possible worlds, teasing the boundaries between coexisting realities and taking up the question of queer difference from one surprising vantage after another. In “Toward a Theory of Alternative Lifestyles,” a heartbroken gay man waits in line at an exclusive Berlin rave promising visions of parallel lives across the multiverse. In “Six Hangings in the Land of Unkillable Women,” at the turn of an alternate 20th century, a policeman’s wife feels that if you want an execution done right, you just have to do it yourself. And in the operatic novella “Uranians,” an expedition of queer artists, scientists, and one trans priest embark on a lifelong interplanetary voyage that requires them to renegotiate their connections to a remote and hostile Earth, while keeping their ship’s biome—and each other—alive. Each story unfolds with the depth and complexity of an entire universe; each is inhabited by characters learning to divest from a society that has marked and rejected them. Discerning which dreams of Western civilization to hold fast to and which to leave behind, these outsiders set their gazes on new horizons and prepare for the changes to come. Arch but tender, clear-eyed and compassionate, Uranians brilliantly illustrates the vital role that queerness plays in every possible version of our world.

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