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Wild Cards (Volume 1) by George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards (Volume 1)

by George R. R. Martin (Editor)

Other authors: Edward Bryant (Contributor), Leanne C. Harper (Contributor), Stephen Leigh (Contributor), George R. R. Martin (Contributor), Victor Milán (Contributor)6 more, John J. Miller (Contributor), Lewis Shiner (Contributor), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Contributor), Howard Waldrop (Contributor), Walter Jon Williams (Contributor), Roger Zelazny (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wild Cards (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
891515,912 (3.78)20
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 super-human "aces" as a side effect of the virus; 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. A world of Wild cards.… (more)

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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
This book was very different from what I usually read. It is very appealing to those who like super heroes. It is written by several different authors and in George R.R. Martin's style different chapters are about different characters. This book is meant for adults and has adult content. ( )
  LisaKramer | Apr 17, 2017 |
I first heard of this book a few years ago when I read [b:GRRM: A RRetrospective|1783847|GRRM A RRetrospective (Trade Hardcover)|George R.R. Martin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1188301243s/1783847.jpg|1782715] which included one of George R. Martins contributions to the first volume. Ever since that little glimpse I was hooked and wanted to read more. Finally I got my hands on a copy.

[b:Wild Cards|147908|Wild Cards |George R.R. Martin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172191781s/147908.jpg|1807663] is set in an alternate reality which broke away in the 1940's just after WW2. An alien virus was released over Manhattan which could affect people in one of 3 ways - kill them (90%), mutate them into a deformed creature (called a Joker - 9%) or imbue them with special powers (known as an Ace - 1%). Although not all Ace powers are very good. If you gain a power but it's not useful you're known as a Deuce.

This isn't your normal (well for the time it was written) superhero book. The best contemporary comparison is [b:Watchmen|472331|Watchmen|Alan Moore|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1238274511s/472331.jpg|4358649]. They were both written around the same time in a similar vein. Wild Cards is dark and honest and brutal. It follows through the times perfectly. The post WW2 boom time, Korea, Vietnam, the Communist McCarthy witchhunts and the HUAC. Instead of race riots there's Joker riots in the '70s.

But it's not all doom and gloom. There are some funnier stories, some feelgood stories. But it doesn't gloss over the unpopular truths as good fiction shouldn't. A brilliant collection I can't wait to read the next volume. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
3.5 stars...

A good collection and a great introduction to the Wild Cards universe, but somewhat inconsistent. Some of the stories were very good, and a few were dry. ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
I am a big fan of Martin's, and I think some of his short stories are among the best in the scifi genre, so it seemed like a natural to try out this first book of his (as editor) Wild Card Series. Frankly, I was disappointed. The premise is that at the end of WWII an alien virus causes random mutations in much of the population of New York City; many die, others are tranformed in disgusting, disfiguring ways, and a few lucky ones are transformed in "good" ways. The stories in this volume, primarily about a variety of people with "good" mutations, are a pretty mixed bag. The Martin and Leigh stories were quite good; a couple of the others were not at all my cup of tea (most especially "The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato," a story about, I kid you not, a pimp turned avenging superhero whose superhuman powers are triggered by a bizarre tantric sexual act performed upon him by one of his girls). Martin's Afterward, explaining how he and a group of his freinds got hooked on a RPG that led to the Wild Cards concept was probably the most interesting part of the book. ( )
  clong | Dec 29, 2007 |
I'm stingy with the 5 stars, but I had no hesitation with this one. Superheroes, alternative history, and a Lovecraftian menace. What's not to love? ( )
2 vote hyborianmike | Dec 15, 2005 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harper, Leanne C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leigh, StephenContributorsecondary 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
Waldrop, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Walter JonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zelazny, RogerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riley, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, StanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeck, MikeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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