View Full Version : Wild Cards
March 25th, 2004, 07:44 PM
I was just browsing amazon.co.uk, and as well as noting that book 5 of ASoIaF's due next month, I noticed that GRRM also has his name attibuted to a series of books called 'wild cards.'
I've read ASoIaF so far, along with Fevre Dream (which I preferred), and was wondering what people thought of Wild Cards. They seem a lot more orientated to 4 colour superhero comic storytelling, and seem like fun. Here's the blurb from book 1
The alien virus arrived on Earth just after World War II-and the world was never the same. For those who become infected, there are two results: death, or transformation. And depending on the recipient, death is sometimes the preferable outcome. Only a few lucky ones become superhuman "aces" as a side effect of the virus; and the rest are turned into horrible, grotesque "jokers." It's a strange and wonderful, terrible and terrifying world where anything can go. A world that, in a twist of fate, could lie just outside your door.
Has anyone read these? How many volumes are there? Is the series complete? What did people think?
March 26th, 2004, 01:50 AM
There are 12, no 15, no 16. Hang on.
IIRC the original Wildcards series got up to Volume XII. Then the Wildcards:Cardsharks trilogy came out. More recently, there's "Deuces Down". Oh and there is at least one comic miniseries. You might try Googling it.
I've got and read all of them except "Deuces Down" and the comic miniseries. GRRM's credit is as editor. Let me explain: Wildcards was conceived as a series of 'mosaic' novels set in an alternate Earth which splits from ours just after WWII. It's a 'shared world' series. When it was good, it was very good but as with all such 'shared world' ideas, it can be very patchy. Conceived as an ongoing series, with writers dropping out and coming in, it's open ended. There are overall arcs though, initially in groups of three e.g Vols. I-III, Vols. IV-VI.
Mind you, some big names (Roger Zelazny comes to mind) contributed characters and stories. Unlike comic book superheroes, Wildcard characters are played straight, behaving as you'd expect real people to behave, sometimes not nicely. The series combines gritty realism with superheroes. Apparently, it arose from GRRM's roleplaying group which contained several writers. After a while, he was finding that he was expending a lot of creative energy into it so dreamed up the series as a way of getting some financial benefit out of it. It really appeals to me as it was an intersection of several of my interests (roleplaying games, superhero comics and SF/Fantasy).
Would I recommend it? Yes. It is unlike any other series, highly original. But realise that it's not for everybody. The books bristle with creative energy as writers kept trying to outdo each other. Some times it got a bit silly, like when the time Chris Claremont (famous for his X-men comic writing credits) introduced 'jumpers' who could switch bodies. But there were way cool characters such as 'Lazy Dragon' whose ace was the ability to fold origami animals that came to life.
iBooks recently published them as fairly pricy trade paperbacks. On the plus side, each one has a new afterword by GRRM recounting his experiences trying to get writers working as a team. The term 'herding cats' comes to mind.
If you're interested, I suggest sourcing a second-hand copy rather than forking out for the iBooks version.
Not sure if any of that helps.
March 29th, 2004, 12:37 AM
Looks like I was out of date with my iBooks comment. They've recently begun reprinting the WILDCARDS books as the cheaper mass market paperbacks rather than the trade paperbacks which I still think are pricy.
At @$5 the mass market paperbacks are definitely worth a go.
February 16th, 2006, 04:12 AM
Has anyone bought the mass-market paperbacks that ibooks recently reissued? I got the first, as my copies of Wild Cards 1-3 had been lost in a move a while back, but I missed the second and now it looks like it has gone out of print. I can get the old editions easily enough but I want the Martin afterword and the illustrations. Can anyone advise me of the ISBNs? I think they reprinted books 2 and 3 (Aces High and Jokers Wild) before the current confusion with Ibooks took over.
February 16th, 2006, 12:50 PM
The Amazon UK site has it as ISBN: 0743423917
Does this help?
February 16th, 2006, 12:54 PM
Sort of. That's the trade paperback edition (ie hardback size, but paperback). As I'm replacing books I'd rather get the cheaper mass-market paperback that came out last year. I have the first one in that format, but not the second, which I saw, but didn't buy... I think I've found the right ISBN, but its unavailable, says its hardback...
February 17th, 2006, 05:41 AM
Well I've bit the bullet and bought replacements via ebay, as they were cheaper. I've found up to book 6, which is all that was published in the UK. I think I'll reread those before I try to find the later volumes, as they're considerably harder to find.
February 1st, 2010, 02:37 PM
Here I am, raising the dead, but can I get a more recent take on this series. The wiki entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Cards#Books) for it shows three additional books out since this thread last saw the light of day. Anybody looked at these? What's the deal?
February 1st, 2010, 11:07 PM
The three new books are essentially a reboot, featuring the next generation of aces and jokers. The starring roles are mostly new characters with some older ones mostly in cameo and supporting parts. It brings the timeline up into the "current" era with storylines such as a reality show and a new organization of aces working for the United Nations. Another book will be out sometime later this year I believe.
I've read the first three Wild Cards books plus the the three new ones. I have to admit I really love this series. I'm planning to read all of the books if I can get a hold of them.
February 2nd, 2010, 12:51 AM
There are a few sites devoted to these and George Martin posts about the new ones on his blog regularly.
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