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Wild Cards: Aces High v.2: Aces High Vol 2 Paperback – 15 Oct 2001

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About the Author

George R.R. Martin work includes many short stories which are dominated by visual imagery. His most recent work A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, a dynastic epic which includes A GAME OF THRONES has won him a number of fantasy writing awards.

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Amazon.com: 12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Royal Flush 27 Aug 2001
By Greg McElhatton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Over a dozen years ago I received the first two Wild Cards books as a birthday present. I read the first one, enjoyed it, but wasn't so sure about the series. But I already had the second one, so I might as well give it a shot, right? What a difference a second chance made.
Wild Cards Volume 2 (Aces High) is, for me, where the Wild Cards series really began. Unlike the first book, which is a series of introductory and mostly unconnected plots, this one features several central plotlines as the storylines all begin to converge. An alien race known as the Swarm is heading for Earth. The Astronomer, leader of the Masons, is preparing for his own conquest. And when one of your greatest defenders is a pimp whose powers only activate when he engages in tantric sex, well, you're in big trouble.
There's so much great stuff in this book it's hard to leave any of it out. Lewis Shiner's "Pennies from Heaven" establishes the Astronomer as a real threat, setting the stage for both this and the next book. Walter Jon Williams's "Unto the Sixth Generation" is one of the cornerstones of the book, both introducing the Swarm into the Wild Cards universe, as well as Williams's robotic hero Modular Man. Several other stories introduce new, very-long-running characters; Walton Simons's "If Looks Could Kill" brings aboard the very dangerous James Spector (aka Demise). "By Lost Ways" has Pat Cadigan bring aboard Jane Dow, the Water Lily who really would be happy to just slink into the background and whose story is more important than one might think at first... Last but not least, George R.R. Martin's "Jube" story twists and turns its way through the book, uniting the short stories almost effortlessly.
Old favorites still abound, of course. Roger Zelazny's "Ashes to Ashes" is a hysterical romp through Jokertown as the ever-unpredictable Croyd tries to go on a simple seek-and-locate mission with predictably disastrous results. George R.R. Martin's "Winter's Chill" has Tom Tudbury discover that being an Ace doesn't make your life great at all; in fact, sometimes it can downright ruin it. Melinda M. Snodgrass and Victor Milan coordinate their stories "Relative Difficulties" and "With A Little Help From His Friends" as Dr. Tachyon and Dr. Trips have to join forces (not once but twice) to deal with Tachyon's not-very-happy relations. John J. Miller's "Half Past Dead" is both an epilogue to the Swarm story as well as continuing the story of Yeoman.
There are very, very few books in the Wild Cards series where every single story hits a home run, but this is one of them (the next book, Jokers Wild, also manages to do this). If you were on the fence after the first book, trust me--this is the one you definitely can't miss.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Deal out another hand in a fantastic Sci-Fi series... 5 April 2004
By Jonathan Burgoine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The continuing short story collection set in the shared world as introduced in 'Wild Cards,' this is the continuing stories of those Aces and Jokers (and sometimes plain old natural humans) in the fallout of the genetic Wild Card virus. We're in the eighties now, and a new menace looms on the horizon - a dark alien organism is on its way, and the Swarm Mother sends terrible creatures down to attack earth in many places - and who else can stop them but the super-powered Aces?

The nice thing is the story-arc merely starts with the swarm assault, and from there, the weaving in of new and old characters is superb. We revisit some of the best characters from the first volume (The Great and Powerful Turtle is my favourite so far), and the story of the Swarm Mother certainly doesn't end in that single attack. This is solid stuff, and very well organized to say that it's a shared world.

Now I've ordered book three in with the last of my online gift certificates, and hope it arrives soon! Nothing quite like a new literary addiction.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Give it a chance its well worth it. 19 May 2008
By General Pete - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The second installment of one of the best scifi anthologies around and also the first where my all-time favorite Joker of all time Jube the Walrus is introduced (or is he a joker or something else entirely you will have to read to find out.

The story forces on an invading force from outer space dubbed in typical pulp fashion "The Swam" the stories focus on the attempts by Aces and Jokers to fight it and by a tyrannical cult to control it in the mistaken belief that the swarm's arrival is for the greater good of all humanity.

There are also appearances by other Aces including Cord, the Great and Powerful Turtle Captain Trips and an unfortunate teenager named Kid Dinosaur who can change into any of the long dead reptiles that he has knowledge of...unfortunately his mass doesn't change.

This is another time where my powers of description do not measure up to how great this book is

If you are a fan of

Lewis Shiner
Walter Jon Williams
Pat Cadigan
George R.R. Martin
Roger Zelazny

Then do yourself a favor and find a copy of this book.
Super Reader 1 Aug 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Aces High is a high class, and high up restaurant catering to the Aces, the Wild Card victims with powers. It is expensive and snooty, run by one of their own, a man named Hiram Worchester, who has the ability to control weight.

The Aces have two serious problems in this book, and the stories all relate to these somehow, the menace of the alien Swarm, and the crazy black magic style power use of the Astronomer, a geeky crazed black magician type.

The other memorable nasty, Demise, with his death gaze and regeneration abilities, also is introduced in "If Looks Could Kill".

Wild Cards 02 : 01 Pennies from Hell - Lewis Shiner
Wild Cards 02 : 02 Jube: One - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 03 Unto the Sixth Generation: Prologue - Walter Jon Williams
Wild Cards 02 : 04 Jube: Two - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 05 Ashes to Ashes - Roger Zelazny
Wild Cards 02 : 06 Unto the Sixth Generation: Part One - Walter Jon Williams
Wild Cards 02 : 07 Unto the Sixth Generation: Part Two - Walter Jon Williams
Wild Cards 02 : 08 Jube: Three - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 09 If Looks Could Kill - Walton Simons
Wild Cards 02 : 10 Jube: Four - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 11 Unto the Sixth Generation: Epilogue - Walter Jon Williams
Wild Cards 02 : 12 Winter's Chill - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 13 Jube: Five - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 14 Relative Difficulties - Melinda M. Snodgrass
Wild Cards 02 : 15 With a Little Help From His Friends - Victor Milán
Wild Cards 02 : 16 Jube: Six - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 02 : 17 By Lost Ways - Pat Cadigan
Wild Cards 02 : 18 Mr. Koyama's Comet - Walter Jon Williams
Wild Cards 02 : 19 Half Past Dead - John J. Miller
Wild Cards 02 : 20 Jube: Seven - George R. R. Martin

Fortunato meets a nice girl to go along with his geisha collection, but his pursuit of the Masons through rare coins has terrible consequences.

5 out of 5

Walrus boy ain't what he seems.

4 out of 5

An ally makes a desperate teleportation attempt to warn Jube of the Swarm.

4 out of 5

The death of his alien ally and the loss of the singularity shifter and a garbled message of warning distracts Jube from the xmas cheer.

4 out of 5

The death of his alien ally and the loss of the singularity shifter and a garbled message of warning distracts Jube from the xmas cheer.

4 out of 5

Jube hires Croyd to find the alien corpse, and anything with it. Devil John biffo.

4 out of 5

Modular Man made, Swarm invade.

4 out of 5

Singularity shifting. Don't try and mind-control androids.

3.5 out of 5

When Jube realises his ally meant the Swarm, he knows he needs the power of the Singularity Shifter rather more urgently.

3.5 out of 5

Astronomer hires Demise eyes.

4.5 out of 5

Jube enlists the transparent infobroker.

3 out of 5

Punks find Shifter.

2.5 out of 5

Girl shy Turtle.

4.5 out of 5

Astronomer, Swarm, Takisians all prove to be a little overwhelming.

3 out of 5

Captain Trips drops back in, as Tachyon's relatives show bad timing, capture them, Turtle, and others.

5 out of 5

Tachyon and Trips vs Takisians and Swarm for the fate of the world.

5 out of 5

On the Mason trail.

3 out of 5

Astronomer has hostages and Shakhti machine, but the Aces rally for a raid.

4 out of 5

Swarm sighting.

3 out of 5

Yeoman finds the Singularity Shifter while taking out Egrets. When Tachyon learns of this, he has a plan to take the fight to the Swarm.

5 out of 5

Jube tells Red about some aliens and decides his allegiances are local.

3.5 out of 5
Excellent addition to the series 3 Nov 2005
By mr sachmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the second book in the Wildcards series. This book focuses on the lives of many of the aces of the wildcards universe, with the main unifying plot of the stories being the threat of an alien invasion.

Aces High is a more focused book, dealing with a smaller group of aces and returning to them more often rather than the sampler that the first book was. Many of the favorites return; Fortunato, Dr. Tachyon, The Great and Powerful Turtle, but there are some really nasty villians that appear in this book, as well. The villians are not nice people, so be warned, but they are interesting characters. The leader is pretty much evil to the core, but his hirelings are much more human, each with their own motivations which are explained pretty well in the book. They aren't all evil; many are just looking to get ahead and backing the team that they think will win. Well, and perhaps are a bit more accepting of the "win at any cost" mentality.

I can't think of a story I didn't enjoy in this book, either. All were well written, and were tied together well. I think my favorite story may have been the exploits of Modular Man, but Captain Tripps is a very interesting character as well. I hope to see more of them in future books.

So far, it seems that these books should be read in order, so if you skip Wildcards 1 and start here, you may be lost. Just a word of warning, since I know the books can be hard to find.

I recommend this book to all Wildcards fans and any superhero fan that has not read this series yet is doing themselves a disservice.
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