Detailed view for the Book: Wild Cards (Anthology)


Wild Cards (Anthology)



Psionic Powers
Science Fiction


Wild Cards


Review Author
George Raymond Richard Martin - Wild Cards I - 5 clong


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# Date Publisher Binding Cover
1 1986-00-00  

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The bible for all that is to follow, this sets up many of the characters and most of the 'heavy hitters' who will feature prominently in the volumes to come. Although billed as a 'mosaic novel' it is, in fact, an anthology of linked short stories interspersed with fictional extracts from relevant publications of the time and covers events from 1946 to the early eighties.

The series begins with a brief Prologue - 'excerpts' of interiews taken from "Wild Times: An Oral History of the Postwar Years" by Studs Terkel, that provide a human perspective on the arrival on earth of the father of the Wild Cards, Dr Tachyon in 1946.

The book then starts proper with the 'Golden Age' Jetboy story, Thirty Minutes Over Broadway! Jetboy's Last Adventure! (by Howard Waldrop) detailing the heroic attempt by a WW2 fighter pilot ace to prevent the dispersal of the Wild Card virus over Manhattan by a maniac in an airship.

With The Sleeper (by Roger Zelazny), we are introduced to our first Wild Card victim, Croyd Crenson, and one of the main figureheads of the series who is cursed to fall into a coma and wake up in a new body every few months. Sometimes an ace, sometimes a joker, we follow his evolution from a fourteen year old boy to adulthood and his inevitable (considering his condition) descent into the world of crime.

Next is Witness (by Walter Jon Williams), a first-person account by one of the first major aces - Jack Braun, AKA Golden Boy - who tells of his rise in the forties, the creation of The Four Aces and his fall during the HUAC witch-hunt trials.

Degradation Rites (by Melinda Snodgrass) fleshes out the Dr Tachyon character and his involvement with the other two members of the Four Aces.

We are then given our first Interlude - an extract from "Red Aces, Black Years", a New Republic article from 1977 by Elizabeth Crofton.

The 'Silver Age' of the Wild Cards universe begins with Shell Games (by George R.R. Martin) as we are introduced to the Great and Powerful Turtle in the early sixties, and witness the origin of one of the most prominent and important aces in the series.

Another Interlude - a brief news story from the New York Times from 1966 - before we seque into The Long Dark Night of Fortunato (by Lewis Shiner) which details the rise of the powerful sorcerer as he plays detective to find a serial killer.

Transfigurations (by Victor Mil??n) follows with the origin of another major ace in the Wild Cards mythos, Cap'n Trips, a hippie who finds out that that the drugs DO work as he plays host to a myriad of super-powered personalities and the beginning of his quest to find himself.

An amusing Interlude follows - from "Wild Card Chic" by Tom Wolfe, written in his style - before we move onto Down Deep (by Edward Bryant & Leanne C. Harper) and the introduction of Bagabond, a bag lady who can control the will of animals and Sewer Jack, a subway worker who can metamorphose into an alligator.

Another interlude follows, this time in the style of Hunter S. Thompson from an extract of his Rolling Stone article "Fear and Loathing in Jokertown" as he tries to deal with a paranoid Croyd Crenson.

Strings (by Steven Leigh) introduces Puppetman, one of the major villains of the series, an ace able to control the minds af anyone he touches and feed off their negative emotions, while another Interlude provides a collection of random quotes from various characters taken from "Thirty-Five Years of Wild Cards - a Retrospective" in Aces magazine.

The final story, Comes a Hunter (by John J. Miller) gives us Daniel Brennan, AKA Yeoman, a Vietnam veteran notable for the fact that he is completely unaffected by the Wild Card virus and relies purely on his human skills as he arrives in town to begin his vendetta against Kien, the murderer of his wife.

An Epilogue (by Lewis Shiner) rounds off the collection with the introduction of a minor character with the unlikely moniker of Kid Dinosaur, and we also get a couple of Appendices that deal with the Wild Card virus itself.

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