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Busted Flush (Wild Cards) Hardcover – December 9, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 19 of 22 in the Wild Cards Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The sequel to 2008's Inside Straight, a revamp of the shared Wild Cards universe, features crises ripped directly from today's newspaper headlines and summer blockbusters. A burgeoning gas shortage has sparked an invasion into the Middle East; New Orleans is hurricane-beset and zombie-ravaged; someone has set off a nuclear explosion in Texas; and genocide rages in Nigeria. The conflicts between the compellingly human superheroes on the U.N.'s Committee shape this fast-paced alternate history. Veteran contributor and now assistant editor Melinda M. Snodgrass pens standout chapters featuring British triple-agent Double Helix, who drives the plot while posing as both seductive Committee member Lilith and Middle Eastern assassin Bahir. While those unfamiliar with the Wild Cards mosaic novels will flounder, the clever twists on today's political landscape and the unique powers of several new aces will lure back past readers. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Wild Cards revival continues in a second round of the TV show American Hero, a playoff contest between superheroes created by a mostly lethal alien virus and set in a realistically tangled and bloody world. Some players are troubleshooters, others cause trouble and shoot back, and a govement agency wants to get its hands on newcomer Drake, who can generate nuclear explosions out of his body. Drake’s jailbreak is one plotline in this installment of the multi-authored (one scribe or scribe-team per chapter) series, and it ropes in a Barbarian Days festival in Cross Plains, Texas, home of Conan creator Robert E. Howard. Others include an action-packed civil war in Nigeria and the effort to rescue humans and, this time, zombies from another New Orleans–bound hurricane. Somehow, characters remain the foci of a busy book that mixes the comic and the grim to good effect. For readers who can’t get enough, there’s an interactive Wild Cards Web site, too. --Roland Green
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Product Details

  • Series: Wild Cards
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317827
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first thing you should know is that this book is not written by George R. R. Martin. He is the editor, and the novel is made up of shorter pieces by several different writers. This is #19 in a series, and while it can be enjoyed on its own, you should at least read the previous book, "Inside Straight", as most of the characters are introduced in that volume and it can be hard to keep up.

The other thing you should know is that this is completely different from GRRM's "A Song of Ice and Fire." This is superhero fiction, which owes a great deal to comic books, and is reminiscent of recent TV series such as "Heroes" and the "The 4400." If you like those shows, or have enjoyed X-Men or Justice League comic books, then Wild Cards will probably appeal to you.

Finally, the Wild Cards books are far more creative and inventive than what you'll see on "Heroes." (And I am a "Heroes" fan.) In a parallel world, humanity has been infected by an alien virus that kills 90% of its victims, horribly disfigures another 9%, and gifts the remaining 1% with a useful super-ability. These people are called "aces."

In this volume, which is a close sequel to "Inside Straight", a group of aces under U.N. auspices travels to three hotspots in the globe, where they learn how difficult it can be to solve problems, even with superpowers. The action takes a little while to build, but the story quickly builds to a breakneck pace and ultimately to a satisfying conclusion.

For fans of the series, I have to recommend this one highly. I enjoyed this one more than any volume since "Black Trump" and look forward eagerly to the next book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Busted Flush continues the adventures of next generation of Wild Cards, with a few of the originals in pivotal roles. All of them are survivors of the deadly alien Joker virus that triggers strange deformities and powerful abilities, and most of whom work for various governments as authorized superheroes or weapons. It's set in a 10 degree variant universe, wherein American Hero is a Survivor-style show for testing/recruiting new Wild Cards, the U.S. President is named Kennedy, the Attorney General is Hilary Rodham, and fuel from the Mideast costs 300 dollars a barrel, so not many people are driving cars; and evidently our politicians are still clueless and ineffective, because no one is producing ethanol from hemp. If only Arizona could send Leslie Fish to the Senate.
The "Double Helix" pieces are by Melinda Snodgrass, who wrote The Edge of Reason last year. Teleporting hermaphrodite British Interpol ace Noel leads a duplicitous life as a double-agent. As assassin Bahir, he spies on/works for/sabotages the United Arab Emirate's Prince Siraj, the man who sets the prices on oil. As Lilith, she spies on/works for/sabotages the Committee, the organization which directs superhero activities of Aces on this side of the pond. Lilith is sexy and snarky; Bahir is by turn respectful and flippant with authority figures; but Noel is trying to cope with a dying dad and accumulated self-loathing.
"Could, Would, Shoulda," penned by Caroline Spector, follows the activities of Bubbles, who has PTSD from her rescue work in Egypt and a troubled relationship with her girlfriend, but still has the heart to visit young jokers and aces kept in hospitals or other holding facilities. She befriends a Wild Card named Niobe, after the Greek queen who grieved inconsolably for the death of all her 14 children.
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Format: Hardcover
As a longtime WildCards fan (since 1987) this latest entry, the nineteenth in the series, is a pretty solid part two to the Committee trilogy and a decent introduction to the fictional world as a whole.

If you're curious about the series and the other 17 books seem daunting, give this and Inside Straight a try. You don't have to know anything other than the background info about the wildcard virus (explained at length in other reviews here) and the fact that the idealistic 20-somethings that make up the Committee have to live in the shadow of aces past.

Most compelling to me is the drive of these kids to use their abilities for the betterment of man and the exhausting realization they're coming to that you can't save the world from every disaster. It's a sacrifice that's beginning to take its toll on their united vision and I'm excited to see Suicide Kings follow this out to what feels like a catastrophic conclusion. As with all the other books in this series, the characters are strong, memorable and well-served by their respective authors.

As I told a friend of mine, this is what Heroes wishes it was.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a few of these Wild Card novels and quite enjoy them. I wouldn't have expected to like something written by several authors, but I actually think it adds to the characterisation, no-one is left as an undeveloped minor character, because each one is one of the author's 'babies'. I hadn't realised that I'd read them out of order, but it didn't seem to matter too much.
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Format: Hardcover
I would suggest that you find some way to start at the beginning with the Wildcards it is a big and expansive set of anthologies this is #19 in a set if I remember correctly. Speaking for myself I always have one problem with the books the series is so large and the cast of characters so expansive I have trouble remembering who is who and where the action is going. Still they read very quickly and the read is entertaining. I think its great that the group of authors going Wildcards has managed to keep it going for so many years.
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