Top 10 (+4) Must Reads of October 2013 (SF/F/Horror)

There’s a ton of great new releases ahead for October in the SF/F/Horror category! Here are a few that I’m especially looking forward to (in no particular order)!


theabominableThe Abominable by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown-Oct. 22nd)
Synopsis-It’s 1924 and the race to summit the world’s highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt. Everest. By the following year, three climbers — a British poet and veteran of the Great War, a young French Chamonix guide, and an idealistic young American — find a way to take their shot at the top. They arrange funding from the grieving Lady Bromley, whose son also disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. Young Bromley must be dead, but his mother refuses to believe it and pays the trio to bring him home.

Deep in Tibet and high on Everest, the three climbers — joined by the missing boy’s female cousin — find themselves being pursued through the night by someone . . . or something. This nightmare becomes a matter of life and death at 28,000 feet – but what is pursuing them? And what is the truth behind the 1924 disappearances on Everest? As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature could ever be. A pulse-pounding story of adventure and suspense, The Abominable is Dan Simmons at his spine-chilling best.


eatbrainsloveEat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart (HarperTeen-Oct. 1st)_
Synopsis-A laugh-out-loud funny, surprisingly romantic, zombie road trip novel filled with heart—and brains. Eat, Brains, Love is perfect for fans of Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies.

The good news: Jake’s dream girl, Amanda Blake, finally knows his name.

The bad news: it’s because they both contracted a mysterious zombie virus and devoured the brains of half their senior class. Now Jake and Amanda are on the run from Cass, a teen psychic sent by the government’s top-secret Necrotic Control Division to track them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends and set off in search of a cure for the zombie virus, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own—one that will lead all three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.


yearofthedemonYear of the Demon by Steve Bein (Roc- Oct. 1st)
Synopsis-Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask—or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields.

The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees—and before the underboss decides her time is up….


ghostsknowGhosts Know by Ramsey Campbell(Tor-Oct. 1st)
Synopsis-Ramsey Campbell’s Ghosts Know is a fascinating exploration of the twists and turns of reality-media personalities, the line between the dead and the living…and how the truth can be twisted to serve all manner of reality.

Graham Wilde is a contentious, bombastic host of the talk radio program Wilde Card. His job, as he sees it, is to stir the pot, and he is quite good at it, provoking many a heated call with his eccentric and often irrational audience. He invites Frank Jasper, a purported psychic, to come on the program. He firmly believes that the man is a charlatan, albeit a talented one. When Jasper appears on his show, Wilde draws upon personal knowledge about the man to embarrass him on air, using patter similar to that which Jasper utilizes in his act.

Wilde’s attack on Jasper earns him the enmity of his guest and some of the members of his audience. He next encounters Jasper when the psychic is hired by the family of a missing adolescent girl to help them find her. Wilde is stunned and then horrified when Jasper seems to suggest that he might be behind the girl’s disappearance.

Thus begins a nightmarish journey as circumstantial evidence against Wilde begins to mount, alienating his listeners, the radio station, and eventually, his lover. As Wilde descends into a pit of despair, reality and fantasy begin to blur in a kaleidoscope of terror….


coldbloodedCold Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Orbit-Oct. 8th)
Synopsis-Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.

On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.

Arriving on the Vampire Queen’s doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.

The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn’t realize is just how soon she’ll have to cash it in…


copperheadCopperhead by Tina Connolly (Tor-Oct. 15th)
Synopsis-Set in an alternate version of early 1900s England, Copperhead is the sequel to Tina Connolly’s stunning historical fantasy debut.

Helen Huntingdon is beautiful—so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask.

Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face—and now has to cover her face with iron so she won’t be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.

Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing—and is implicated in a murder.

Meanwhile, Alistair’s influential clique Copperhead—whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra—is out to restore humans to their “rightful” place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.

Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband—and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary—she’s pushed to discover how far she’ll bend society’s rules to do what’s right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor…and her heart.


thecreepsThe Creeps by John Connolly (Atria-Oct. 22nd)
Synopsis-In this delightfully imaginative novel, once again, hell threatens to break loose as Samuel Johnson and his ragtag group of friends must defend their town from shadowy forces more threatening than ever before…

In this clever and quirky follow-up to The Gates and The Infernals, Samuel Johnson’s life seems to have finally settled down—after all, he’s still got the company of his faithful dachshund, Boswell, and his bumbling demon friend, Nurd; he has foiled the dreaded forces of darkness not once, but twice; and he’s dating the lovely Lucy Highmore, to boot.

But things in the little English town of Biddlecombe rarely run smoothly for long. Shadows are gathering in the skies, a black heart of pure evil is bubbling with revenge, and it rather looks as if the Multiverse is about to come to an end, starting with Biddlecombe. When a new toy shop’s opening goes terrifyingly awry, Samuel must gather a ragtag band of dwarfs, policemen, and very polite monsters to face down the greatest threat the Multiverse has ever known, not to mention assorted vampires, a girl with an unnatural fondness for spiders, and highly flammable unfriendly elves.

The latest installment of John Connolly’s wholly original and creepily imaginative Samuel Johnson Tales, The Creeps is humorous horror for anyone who enjoys fiction at its best.


blackheartBlack Heart by Christina Henry (Ace-Oct. 29th)
Synopsis-As a former Agent of Death, Madeline Black is no stranger to witnessing violent ends. But being the one to cause them is an entirely different story…

Despite her having saved Chicago from a vampire invasion, the Agency wants to get Maddy off their payroll—permanently. With the deadly Retrievers hot on her trail, she has no choice but to trust Nathaniel to port her to safety. But even the exotic and dangerous world that she winds up in is not as peaceful as she would have hoped. Caught in a turf war between a group of fae and a disturbingly familiar foe, Maddy soon discovers that the twisted plots of her grandfather, Lucifer, and his brothers extend even into this unknown realm.

Now, with enemies gathering on all sides, Maddy’s fate is looking darker than ever. And to protect her unborn son from her adversaries, she may have to tap into a power she hoped never to access……


sickSick by Tom Leveen (Amulet -Oct. 1st)
Synopsis- Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.


deathsoftaoThe Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu (Angry Robot-Oct. 29th)
Synopsis-The sequel to The Lives of Tao.

The Prophus and the Genjix are at war. For centuries they have sought a way off-planet, guiding humanity’s social and technological development to the stage where space travel is possible. The end is now in sight, and both factions have plans to leave the Earth, but the Genjix method will mean the destruction of the human race.

That’s a price they’re willing to pay.

It’s up to Roen and Tao to save the world. Oh, dear…

File Under: Science Fiction [ Manning Up | A Long Journey | Bye-Bye Mankind | Personal Space ]


twoserpentsriseTwo Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone (Tor-Oct. 29th)
Synopsis-Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc—casual gambler and professional risk manager—to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father—the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists—has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire…and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.


lighthouse islandLighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles (William Morrow-Oct. 8th)
Synopsis-See the rain forests . . . northern beauty, misted nights. Come to Lighthouse Island . . .

In the coming centuries, the world’s population has exploded and covered the earth with endless cities. Animals are nearly all gone. Drought plagues the land and cloudy water is issued by the quart. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years. On this urban planet the only relief from the overcrowding, the petty informers, and the harsh rule of the big Agencies is the television in every living space, offering dreams of vanished waterfalls and the promise of virtual vacations in green spaces for the lucky few.

It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan, abandoned by her parents on a crowded street when she was four with only a drawing of the constellations of the Big Dipper—Cassiopeia’s Chair and the North Star—and her mother’s parting words: “Look to the North Star, and we will always be there.” Shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, foster family to foster family, Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest where she believes her long-lost parents must be. As her obsession grows, so too does her determination to find her way there.

In the meantime, this bright and witty orphan falls into the refuge of old and neglected books; the lost world of the imagination filled with characters who can’t disappear, or be arrested, or hurt her. And there is the voice, bounced from an abandoned satellite, that patiently reads, over and over, the great classical books of the world—Big Radio, a sound in the night that lifts Nadia above the relentless television noise and the dull and perpetual Present. Despite deprivation, uncertainty, and the deceptions she must use to survive, Nadia’s dream never waivers. “It will get better, life will get better.”

When an opportunity for escape appears, Nadia takes it, abandoning everything to strike out for Lighthouse Island in a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. She faces every contingency with bottomless inventiveness and meets the man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, a mapmaker and demolition expert. Together, they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megalopolis: Lighthouse Island and its all-seeing eye.


deadsetDead Set by Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager-Oct. 29th)
Synopsis-After her father’s funeral, Zoe moved to the big city with her mother to start over. But change always brings trials, and life in the city is not so easy. Money is tight, and Zoe’s only escape, as has always been the case, is in her dreams—a world apart from her troubled real life where she can spend time with her closest companion: her lost brother, Valentine.

But something or someone has entered their dreamworld uninvited. And a chance encounter at a used record store, where the vinyl holds not music but lost souls, has opened up a portal to the world of the restless dead. It’s here that the shop’s strange proprietor offers Zoe the chance to commune with her dead father. The price? A lock of hair. Then a tooth. Then . . .


thedevilsapprenticeThe Devil’s Apprentice by Jan Siegel (Ravenstone-Oct. 29th)
Synopsis-The Devil is retiring… but who’s taking over? In the house with no front door, a group of teenagers are trapped in assorted dimensions of myth and history, undergoing the trials that will shape them to step into his cloven footwear – or destroy them…

The Devil is retiring… but who’s taking over?

When teenage Pen inherits the job of caretaker for a London building with no doors and only a secret entrance from the caretaker’s lodge – which she must never use – little does she know it will lead her into unbelievable danger.

For Azmordis, also known as Satan, a spirit as old as Time and as powerful as the Dark, Immortality is running out. In the house with no front door, a group of teenagers are trapped in assorted dimensions of myth and history, undergoing the trials that will shape them to step into his cloven footwear – or destroy them.

Assisted by only by an aspiring teenage chef called Gavin and Jinx, a young witch with more face-piercing than fae-power, Pen must try to stop the Devil’s deadly game plan – before it’s too late.

2 Comments:

  1. October is always a month to look forward to because of all the great new horror books. Pickings are often slim for better horror novels the rest of the year but now in one month we get the new Dan Simmons, a new Ramsey Campbell and the new Christopher Buehlman (whose first two novels blew me away). I’m surprised it didn’t make your short list. It’s call THE NECROMANCER’S HOUSE. And sure to be a good read. There’s also the long overdue, JOHANNES CABEL: THE FEAR INSTITUTE by Johnathan Howard!

    Also new this week is a lovely new omnibus of JULES VERNE from Everyman’s Library. And the beautiful 6 volume set from Guillermo del Toro that includes: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, AMERICAN SUPERNATURAL TALES, HAUNTED CASTLES and more.

  2. Pingback: S&L Podcast – #144 – Kick-off Boneshaker by Cherie Priest | Tom Merritt .com

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