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Wild Cards I Paperback – November 23, 2010

152 customer reviews
Book 1 of 22 in the Wild Cards Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This volume in the Wild Cards shared-world saga is an expanded edition of the first in the series, containing all the stories and pseudodocuments of the alternate time line launched when the Wild Card virus hit during WWII that were in the 1987 original edition. Some of the stories have been expanded, and to them are added a batch of new stories that, by and large, fit well with the old. Among the best of the oldies are Walter Jon Williams’ “Witness” and Melinda Snodgrass’ “Degradation Rites.” Carrie Vaughn has done the new “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan,” and David Levine, “Powers.” Old faithfuls among Wild Cards fans may really revel, but even newbies should enjoy this solid volume of intelligent entertainment. --Roland Green


“Delicious…. Everything I'd hoped for in a new Wild cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I'd expect out of a George R. R. Martin project.” ―Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, on Inside Straight
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Product Details

  • Series: Wild Cards (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Expanded edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326157
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Killer Shrike on February 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this series when it was originally released. I wasnt happy with where the series eventually ended up late in the series, but the earlier works are fond favorites.
People buying this book (or others in the series) because they are fans of GRRMartins Song of Ice and Fire series are likely to be disapointed due to misaligned expectations.
The only thing this series has in common with the Song of Ice and Fire is a gritty certainty that favorite characters will get killed....or worse, and the use of widely scattered often disconnected characters and plotlines that sometimes may cross but also might never. Further, as this is a 'mosaic' novel, GRRMartin isnt the sole proprietor of the stories.
Treated as a seperate entity from GRRMartin's more recent series, the Wild Cards series is a fairly unique and often brilliant body of work. Due to its nature, not all of the short stories will appeal to everyone; to be sure there are stories and story arcs that dont appeal to me either.
Regardless, taken as a whole the series is really something special. Its similar to a massive wall mural which cant be appreciated from up close; you have to pull back abit and look at it in its entirety to fully appreciate the overall effect.
The strength of the series lays in its deft characterizations. Some of my favorite fictional characters are from this series; the Turtle, Croyd Crenson (the Sleeper), Golden Boy, Mackie Messer, Carnifex, Mr Nobody, Jumpin Jack Flash (et al), Kid Dinosaur.....the list goes on and on.
The series really picks up in the second book, but the 1st is where all of the necessary background resides.
Unfortunately, the books are being released in a grossly overpriced large softbound edition; my advice it to find the original paperbacks in a used book store.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Art on November 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are a *lot* of non-comic character based super-hero books, but the Wildcards series has an impresive list of authors and edittors (its editted by George R.R. Martin, author of the currrent best selling A Song of Fire and Ice series) and spans around 20 volumes. Please note that Wildcards is NOT similar to A Song of Ice and Fire, and the people trashing this book because they bought it because of Martin's involvement just didnt do their homework before buying the book. More on that later. These are full length books, and take themselves fairly seriously -- they are not necessarily rigidly realistic, but are not "pulpy" in comparison with most super-hero books.

The format of book 1 is that most of the chapters tell mostly self-contained stories, with the chapters written by different authors. A few chapters provide backstory on the origins of the wildcard virus (which gives the super powers, mutations and afflications), but most are generally centered around the origin and story of a particular person affected by the wildcard virus, whether as an "ace" or "joker" (super-powered character or individual afflicted with random disfigurement or other problems.) Certain individuals appear in more than one chapter, and some of them have continuing relevance throughout the series, while others are one chapter characters that either die or return to obscurity. There is fairly little over-arching story in this introductory volume -- rather, you get a slice of time in the alternate history of the world where the wildcards virus causes the emergence of super-heroes and jokers (i.e. mutants) in the 40s. In addition to a bit of the history and backstory, you get a bunch of origin/introduction type stories.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David Berkowitz on December 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Wild Cards the week it was released in paperback. I probably read it five more times until the paperback fell apart - or more likely my son absconded with it when he went to college. And it had been out of print for a long time.

I requested that the publisher put out a Kindle edition and was thrilled when it showed up. Better than showed up as, apparently, the original work had some revision done before the release. Not having read it for more than a decade, I can't really spot what was added, deleted, modified. But I enjoyed it as much as I ever did on any previous read.

And, the subsequent Wild Card novels are starting to appear for Kindle too. I have my work cut out for me!

If you are new to the Wild Cards saga - this is the place to start. The later books in the series read like novels rather than a collection of short stories. But this is the place to learn the history of the WC universe and meet the characters that shaped it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are those who have complained that the stories in this book aren't complete, but seem like they're just beginning. This complaint is valid, but the reasoning is inaccurate. Look at the Wild Cards series as comics books told in narrative rather than picture form. A regular comic book series doesn't usually have a complete tale, without clues to the future, and neither does this book. Some of these stories are setups to larger stories, and believe me, that ain't bad. I have read all sixteen books, and in my opinion, while some of the stories ARE weaker than others, the whole is much bigger than the sum of its parts.
The fact is that I grew to care about these characters. I wanted to know more about them, and that need to know drew me deeper and deeper as the series progressed. Now that the series is being re-released, I can honestly say that if you are comic book fan in search of more serious fare, where even the so-called "good guys" can have some unpalatable personality traits, than the wild cards series is for you. If you don't want to blow the bucks for a brand spanking new one, than get one used. I will say that if you dismiss this series without at least trying ONE book, you are missing out on the next level of superheroics.
Try Vol.1 out. If you don't end up loving Croyd (the Sleeper), I'll eat my hat!
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