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Wild Cards II: Aces High Kindle Edition
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Soon to be a TV show on Hulu!
After the alien virus struck humanity in the wake of World War II, a handful of the survivors found they possessed superhuman powers. The Wild Cards shared-world volumes tell their story.
Here in book two, Wild Cards II: Aces High, we trace these heroes and villains through the tumultuous 1980s, both like and unlike our own. Now, after centuries of travel through space, an extraterrestrial being called the Swarm is headed for Earth. Meanwhile, some of the aces given superpowers by the virus are hatching conspiracies to control the human world. These factions are about to collide…and the fallout could be catastrophic.
Featuring stories from SF and fantasy giants such as George R. R. Martin, Roger Zelazny, Pat Cadigan, Lewis Shiner, Walter Jon Williams, and others.
Rights to develop Wild Cards for TV have been acquired by Universal Cable Productions, the team that brought you The Magicians and Mr. Robot, with the co-editor of Wild Cards, Melinda Snodgrass as executive producer.
The Wild Cards Universe
The Original Triad
#1 Wild Cards
#2 Aces High
#3 Jokers Wild
The Puppetman Quartet
#4: Aces Abroad
#5: Down and Dirty
#6: Ace in the Hole
#7: Dead Man’s Hand
The Rox Triad
#8: One-Eyed Jacks
#9: Jokertown Shuffle
#10: Dealer’s Choice
#11: Double Solitaire
#12: Turn of the Cards
The Card Sharks Triad
#13: Card Sharks
#14: Marked Cards
#15: Black Trump
#16: Deuces Down
#17: Death Draws Five
The Committee Triad
#18: Inside Straight
#19: Busted Flush
#20: Suicide Kings
The Fort Freak Triad
#21: Fort Freak
#23: High Stakes
The American Triad
#24: Mississippi Roll
#25: Low Chicago
#26: Texas Hold 'Em
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
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About the Author
The Wild Cards Trust is the creator of the Wild Cards series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B005FWORYS
- Publisher : Tor Books; First edition (December 20, 2011)
- Publication date : December 20, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1101 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 494 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #402,866 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Part of the problem was too many overlapping story lines--an alien invasion of earth, a Takisian succession dispute, a chase after a black hole-powered singularity shifter, and an occult society of Masons trying to call down a mythological god to take over the world. Individual stories were forced to move too many players across the board from Point A to Point B in order to feed an overall arc, rather than letting each story play itself out in an organic way to serve its point of view characters.
On the other hand, maybe the root problem was that I just found the Mason society to be irritating and uninteresting.
Here are the individual story reviews:
“Pennies from Hell” by Lewis Shiner – Using a few clues planted in his previous story (“The Long, Dark Night of Fortunado”), the ace whose power is fueled by tantric sex tracks down a group of occultic Masons dedicated to bringing an ancient Sumerian deity named Tiamet to earth. This story sets up one of the vital plotlines of the book, but it seemed like a lackluster outing for one of my favorite characters.
“Jube” by George R.R. Martin – This is not so much a story as a series of interstitial scenes interspersed throughout the book to tie many of the other stories together into a unified whole. Jube is the Walrus joker mentioned but not named in Wild Cards I. Turns out, Jube is actually an alien, not a joker, and he has the key to technology that can save earth from an imminent alien invasion.
“Unto the Sixth Generation” by Walter Jon Williams—An alien swarm attacks earth and is repelled when all the aces gather (like the Avengers!) to destroy it. Meanwhile, a mad joker scientist living in New York creates an android named Modular Man who helps the aces. The Masons and Modular Man all hunt an alien singularity device that may (or may not) stop the aliens and may (or may not) summon Tiamet. If this plot sounds disjointed and somewhat reliant on coincidence, it is. The story is broken up into four parts with other stories mixed in between.
“Ashes to Ashes” by Roger Zelazny – The Sleeper returns in this broad comedy. Croyd is hired to rob the corpse of a dead alien—one of Jube’s associates—but a series of nearly slapstick digressions caused the body to be slowly lost and destroyed piece by piece.
“If Looks Could Kill” by Walton Simons – A telepathic but psychologically damaged ace is recruited by the Masons and their shadowy leader, known as The Astronomer. This story relies on scenes of ritual sacrifice and violent rape, but the plot is rather lame.
“Winter Chill” by George R. R. Martin –We catch up with Tom Tudbury twenty years after he became Turtle and find that living as a secret hero has ruined his chances with the woman he loves. This is the first strong, character-driven story in the book. However, I had a major quibble with one significant plot point: In a world that has been living with the virus for over 40 years, I think everyone would understand how the virus passes from parent to child—when it is dominate or recessive, and how someone can be a carrier without showing symptoms. This would be part of the fabric of everyday life and relationships, not secret information shared by Dr. Tachyon on the roof of a building in a clandestine meeting.
“Relative Difficulties” by Melinda Snodgrass – Fearing the planet will soon fall to the Swarm, the Takisians arrive on earth to collect ace specimens for further study and also recruit Dr. Tachyon as a pawn in a family power struggle. Readers learn a great deal about the doctor’s background and culture. Mark Meadows returns and the full range of his ace powers is revealed—he is Captain Trips, who uses various drugs to bring forth a host of multiple personas and bodies. All of a sudden, he is a more interesting and versatile character than when he was simply Radical. Turtle has a redemption arc, and even Kiet is brought into the forefront of the narrative in a surprising way. This story is funny, exciting, and layered.
“With a Little Help From His Friends” by Victor Milan – This is essentially a continuation of the previous story. Dr. Tachyon and Captain Trips investigate the death of an eccentric scientist, which leads to evidence the alien swarm is preparing a second wave of attack, this time possibly aided by Tachyon’s relatives.
"By Lost Ways" by Pat Cadigan -- Water Lily is an interesting addition to the pantheon, an impressionable young woman with an ability to manipulate water and a pesky habit of killing people she does not like by sucking all the moisture out of their bodies. Unfortunately, we do not get to see too much of her because this story expends a lot of its energy gathering all the various Masonic bad guys into one place, so the aces can defeat them and close out this subplot.
"Mr. Koyama's Comet" by Walter Jon Williams -- A well-told tale of an amateur astronomer whose life's desire is to discover a new comet, but he only succeeds in establishing the position of the Swarm ship.
"Half Past Dead" by John J. Miller -- Yeoman teams up with Fortunado, Dr. Tachyon, and Mai to infiltrate the Swarm Mother ship and save the planet. Fortunado's unique properties are underused, but otherwise this is a fun engaging tale. Mai's character gets an especially appropriate sendoff, and I hope to see her again to find out what happened after the alien ship left our orbit.
Book one took place over the space of about 40 years as it traced the Wild Card virus back to its origin and brought it up to modern times (the mid-eighties, at time of publication). Book two now is entrenched firmly in the modern era, with second- and third-generation wild cards popping up as new characters, while some older ones are still around. Since most of the characters were established in book one, the second book turns them loose onto a single cohesive storyline. Though the book is written by many different authors, the effort to weave them together into a single tapestry is evident, especially how one character's presence or behaviors trickle into a subsequent chapter. It's very well done in that regard.
There is a definite climactic ending to the book; it's nice to have everything wrapped up. But there are still plotlines left dangling, which are left out there to be explored at another time - most likely in the third volume, Jokers Wild.
Top reviews from other countries
this second volume is based on a dark conspiracy of cosmic proportions and is a refreshing change from the first book's grim and gritty take.
more power to George RR Martin!