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Wild Cards I Audio Download – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is wonderful stuff. The premise is that an alien virus infects Earth in 1945, producing "Aces" -super talented people, and "Jokers" bizarrely mutated creatures. They thus survive with the rest of the world, occasionally interfering in real events. A benevolent member of the alien species, Dr. Tachyon, stays on Earth to help deal with the outcome.
The book brilliantly captures the mood of paranoia, as HUAC and Joe McCarthy turn their attention to Aces. It also shows up the shameful treatment meted out to Henry Wallace for being "too" anti-fascist. In the book he employs Aces to overthrow fascist dictators in South America.
Later books show the introduction of drugs, the role of Islamic fundamentalism, the Vietnam war and so on.
If you love serious comics and sci-fi, you'll love this.
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Format: Paperback
Having loved the latest Wild Cards triad (Inside Straight, Busted Flush, and Suicide Kings, I was curious to read about how it all began. And with Tor Books reissuing the original Wild Cards installments, I wasn't going to miss out on the opportunity.

Here's the blurb:

Back in print after a decade, expanded with new original material, this is the first volume of George R. R. Martin's Wild cards shared-world series.

There is a secret history of the world--a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces--those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers--cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.

Originally published in 1987, Wild Cards I includes powerful tales by Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, and George R. R. Martin himself. And this new, expanded edition contains further original tales set at the beginning of the Wild Cards universe, by eminent new writers like Hugo-winner David Levine, noted screenwriter and novelist Michael Cassutt, and New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.

I remember being concerned about the mosaic novel format when I first read Inside Straight, fearing possible glitches in terms of continuity, consistency, chronology, style and tone. I was worried about how the individual stories would fit and further the plot of the overall story arc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to this book and this series, after attending a panel by George R.R. Martin, and other contributors to Wildcards, at Eastercon. I am a big Song of Fire and Ice fan, and this other aspect of George R.R. Martin's writing appealed to me.
I was intrigued with the idea of a shared world sci-fi anthology and the super hero elements. What I discovered having read the book was something a whole lot more sophisticated than what I imagined.
The stories exist in a world that is not just a sci-fi setting but also brings in alternative history and political elements. I was very much reminded of Alan Moore's Watchmen.
Each individual story tends to deal with a different Ace, Joker or situation and are of varying quality (though non of them are a bad read). This and the fact that each story can seem a bit disjointed from the next is the reason I gave it four stars. I think, however, that is the very nature of the project and am looking forward to seeing how this develops over the rest of the series. Books two and three are on my shelf and next on the list. Can't wait to read them.
Aces High (Wild Cards)
Wild Cards: Jokers Wild v. 3
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An alien species decides to use Earth to test a new bioweapon. An airborne criminal seizes the weapon and tries to use it to blackmail the city of New York. A former WWII flying ace tries to stop him. And, on 15 September 1946, the world is forever changed when the wild card virus is unleashed in the skies over Manhattan.

Ninety percent of those infected by the virus die instantly. A further nine percent develop crippling deformities or abnormalities, becoming known as 'jokers'. And one in a hundred of those infected develops a wondrous superpower. They become the 'aces'. As an alternative history of the 20th Century unfolds, the American government first tries to use the aces for their own ends and then, in a paranoid frenzy, turns against them, before they finally win some recognition for themselves. But for the jokers, forced to live in a ghetto in Manhattan, their road to recognition and respect will be much harder.

Wild Cards is the first book in the series of the same name, which of this time of writing spans twenty-one volumes with two more planned. This isn't a series of novels, but collections of stories written by many different authors. George R.R. Martin (of A Song of Ice and Fire fame) and Melinda Snodgrass provide editorial control, ensuring that each volume has its own narrative drive and point beyond just collecting random short stories together. The stories are set in their own milieu, with authors sharing ideas, using each other's characters and building up a consistent, coherent shared world.

The first Wild Cards book opens with a bang, with Howard Waldrop giving us the origin story for the entire setting in 'Thirty Minutes Over Broadway'.
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