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Wild Cards I (2010)

by George R. R. Martin (Editor)

Other authors: Edward Bryant (Contributor), Michael Cassutt (Contributor), Leanne C. Harper (Contributor), Stephen Leigh (Contributor), David D. Levine (Contributor)9 more, George R. R. Martin (Contributor), Victor Milán (Contributor), John J. Miller (Contributor), Lewis Shiner (Contributor), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Contributor), Carrie Vaughn (Contributor), Howard Waldrop (Contributor), Walter Jon Williams (Contributor), Roger Zelazny (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wild Cards (1 expanded)

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4801140,558 (3.64)9
A collection of stories about heroes gifted with strange, superhuman powers, with contributions by authors such as George R.R. Martin, Roger Zelazny, David D. Levine, and Carrie Vaughn.
  1. 00
    Watchmen by Alan Moore (asha.leu)
    asha.leu: Both are dark, gritty deconstructions of superhero tales, presenting alternate histories of a 20th Century where superheros are commonplace and influence major historical events of the period, and function as allegories to prominent issues and wars from the 1940s to the 1980s, including WW2 and the Vietnam and Cold Wars, McCarthyism and the Civil Rights movement.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I really wanted to love this book, but my reaction was very mixed. First off, I think the world-building and the premise is fascinating. However, while I loved some of the stories, I also hated some. And most, I thought were just okay. ( )
  queenofthebobs | May 15, 2019 |
A collection of short stories all by different authors but set in the same world where an alien virus as turned some people into Aces (superpowers), Jokers (disfigured), or just dead. It starts in the 1940s and the stories are in chronological order until the 1980s. Just like any set of short story collection, it can be hit or miss, but most of these stories are hits and none of the misses are that bad. I like how they are all set in the same universe as it gives each story more weight. While not completely connected, each story does either characters that may be present in the story or a call-back or mention of another character from a different story. Each character is more grounded and real with grit and flaws. None of the stories have typical superhero stories and not all the characters are even heroes. ( )
  renbedell | Oct 8, 2018 |
I like the premise, about aliens using our planet as a testing lab and the results.

Didn't care so much for a jaded alt-history left leaning retell.

This just reminded me of [b:Watchmen|472331|Watchmen|Alan Moore|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327866860s/472331.jpg|4358649], in that the super powered are simply flawed humans. I don't like that. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Surprisingly good. This first volume of Wild Cards is a series of short stories by a variety of authors, but it is written as if it is a novel, with good continuity. I greatly enjoyed it and now I'm reading the second volume. George R.R. Martin did an exceptional job of editing, and also wrote some of the stories. ( )
  rondoctor | May 19, 2016 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Sept 15, 1946: Wild Card Day. When aliens from the planet Takis wanted to test their newly developed virus on a species that is similar to them, naturally, they brought it to Earth. Though they were thwarted by one of their own princes, a foppish alien who has become known to Earthlings as Dr. Tachyon, the virus fell into the hands of evil Dr. Tod, a Nazi sympathizer who, thinking it a biological weapon, decided to drop it on New York City. His archenemy, Jetboy, tried to stop him in a now-legendary air battle above Manhattan, but Jetboy was unsuccessful. When the virus was dumped on New York City, it killed 90% of the people it infected. Nine out of every ten who lived mutated into strange, often hideous, creatures who became known as ??Jokersƒ? while one in ten developed a special superpower and became an ƒ??Ace.ƒ?

WILD CARDS is a shared universe in which several SFF authors contribute their own stories about those who ƒ??drew an Aceƒ? on Wild Card Day. There are several volumes in the WILD CARDS series, all edited by George R.R. Martin, the mastermind who created WILD CARDS (with a little help from his friends) 25 years ago. For its 25th anniversary, WILD CARDS is being reprinted by Tor and, for the first time, produced on audio by Brilliance Audio. This first volume has the original stories plus three new ones. All of them introduce Aces and Jokers who lived in America during the time between the end of World War II and the end of the Vietnam war, an era known for the McCarthy hearings, the Civil Rights movement, drugs, sex, and rock ƒ??nƒ?? roll. Later WILD CARDS volumes expand on these characters and their storylines and introduce many new ones.

ƒ??Prologueƒ? by Studs Terkel explains the Wild Card virus, why the aliens of Takis invented it, and how Dr. Tachyon tried to get here in time to warn us.

ƒ??Thirty Minutes Over Broadwayƒ? by Howard Waldrop is the story of how Jetboy tried to save New York from the alien virus in an air battle over Manhattan.

ƒ??The Sleeperƒ? by Roger Zelazny tells the story of Croyd Crenson, a school boy who runs home during Jetboyƒ??s battle on Wild Card Day. When he goes to bed, he sleeps for a long time. Afterward, he wakes up to find that he has a different body and a superpower. The strange thing about Croydƒ??s manifestation of the virus is that every time he wakes up, he has a different body and power.

Anti-communist sentiments are strong and the Aces, those who received special superpowers from the virus, are easy to mistrust. ƒ??Witnessƒ? by Walter Jon Williams is the story of the trials of the Four Aces and how Jack Braun, aka Golden Boy, will forever be known as a Judas.

Blythe Stanhope Van Renssaeler, the Ace known as Brain Trust, can absorb the knowledge from anyoneƒ??s brain. ƒ??Degradation Ritesƒ? by Melinda M. Snodgrass tells her story and explains why her nervous breakdown broke Dr. Tachyonƒ??s heart.

In ƒ??Captain Cathode and the Secret Aceƒ? by Michael Cassutt, Karl, a Hollywood producer with superpowers, decides to help catch The Medusa Killer, a serial murderer who targets Jokers. This is a new WILD CARDS story ƒ?? it wasnƒ??t in the original Wild Cards anthology.

The U.S. government has started rounding up Aces, but nobody knows what itƒ??s doing with them. In ƒ??Powersƒ? by David D. Levine, we find out when one secret Ace decides to out himself so he can help rescue a captured U.S. airman.

ƒ??Shell Gamesƒ? by George R.R. Martin is the story of a college-age secret Ace who decides to come out of his shell after the assassination of President Kennedy. The courage of The Great and Powerful Turtle is inspiring to Dr. Tachyon, whoƒ??s been a depressed alcoholic since Blytheƒ??s breakdown.

In ƒ??The Long, Dark Night of Fortunatoƒ? by Lewis Shiner, a black/Japanese pimp discovers that heƒ??s an Ace who can use tantric sex to power his magic.

Victor Milan's "Transfigurations" introduces Mark Meadows, a biochemistry grad student who is talked into trying LSD by a girl he has a crush on. Under the influence of LSD, he transforms into an Ace who becomes known as The Radical when he gets involved in an anti-war protest in Berkeley. Dr. Meadows will later be known as Captain Trips.

ƒ??Down Deepƒ? by Edward Bryant and Leanne C. Harper takes place mostly in the abandoned subway tunnels underneath New York City and introduces Sewer Jack Robicheaux, who turns into an alligator when stressed, and a homeless lady named Bagabond who talks to cats.

In ƒ??Stringsƒ? by Stephen Leigh, we meet a senator who is trying to use his power of influence over others to become president of the United States.

ƒ??Ghost Girl Takes Manhattanƒ? by Carrie Vaughn, is another new story. Wraithƒ??s ƒ??aceƒ? is that she can make parts, or all, of her body transparent. Sheƒ??s been reluctant to use her power, but a night out on the town changes her mind.

ƒ??Comes a Hunterƒ? by John J. Miller tells of Daniel Brennan (ƒ??Yeomanƒ?), a Vietnam veteran who got tied up with a traitor in Vietnam and framed for treason. After many years of hiding and training, Daniel is ready for revenge.

There are five interludes interspersed among the WILD CARD stories which further describe or explain some aspect of the WILD CARDS world. There is also an appendix at the back of the book (and at the end of the audiobook) which explains some of the background, history, and science of the virus. Audiobook readers may want to listen to that after listening to ƒ??Prologue.ƒ?

Luke Daniels narrated Wild Cards, which means that it was wonderful to listen to on audio. I was excited to see this title in Brilliance Audioƒ??s catalog this season and I look forward to reading the next WILD CARDS volume, Aces High in this format. Wild Cards is more than a good anthology ƒ?? itƒ??s a wonderful shared world experience, I suspect, mostly because of George R.R. Martinƒ??s careful editing. I didn't love every story in this volume, but I do love the endless variation in the WILD CARDS world and how these stories fit together so well, each expanding this crazy world in another direction while remaining true to the original shared vision. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassutt, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harper, Leanne C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leigh, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levine, David D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milán, VictorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, John J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shiner, LewisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snodgrass, Melinda M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, CarrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waldrop, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Walter JonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zelazny, RogerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komarck, MichealCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the expanded reprint of Wild Cards, Volume 1, with 3 additional stories: "Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace" by Michael Cassutt, "Powers" by David D. Levine, and "Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan" by Carrie Vaughn. Please do not combine with earlier editions lacking these stories.
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A collection of stories about heroes gifted with strange, superhuman powers, with contributions by authors such as George R.R. Martin, Roger Zelazny, David D. Levine, and Carrie Vaughn.

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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.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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