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Inside Straight (Wild Cards #18)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,011 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected.Nine percent of those who survivedmutated into tragically deformed creatures.And one percent gained superpowers.The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Tor Books (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,288)
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Randy Lander
Feb 25, 2009 Randy Lander rated it really liked it
After a long time away (I don't know that I read the last couple of books), I was drawn back to Wild Cards by the promise of an updated universe and my interest in George R.R. Martin thanks to Game of Thrones.

I was very pleased with the results. As with all of the "mosaic novels," there are chapters, writers and characters who are not as strong as the rest, but the American Hero reality show and its varying contestants make up a pretty strong group, as diverse and interesting as the original Wil
Apr 17, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sciencefiction
I've been interested in reading some of the Wild Cards books for awhile- I'm a casual fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire series and since I've collected comics since the 7th grade, I've always been told the series would be up my alley... but I've never run across any of the books in my travels. Local libraries don't have 'em and when I remember to do a search around the used bookstores, I usually come up empty. Although not ideal, this new anthology was sittin' on the shelves o ...more
Aug 13, 2009 Tom rated it it was ok
A compilation of characters in a superhero world dreamed up by a bunch of famous writers over beer & pretzels.

A dozen books later... we have this volume edited by George RR Martin.

In this book, heroes try to monetize their powers by going on a "Survivor-esque" television show. That concept, while painfully corny, served to setup the difference later in the book between the "TV" heroes and "real" heroes. In this case, the "real" heroes turn out to be the losers from the TV show, who band tog
Jul 26, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
INSIDE STRAIGHT was my introduction to the WILD CARDS universe. When this series was first conceived in 1987, the idea of a dark, more realistic take on the superhero genre must've felt pretty revolutionary. Unfortunately, time has marched on, and movies like WATCHMEN and CHRONICLE, TV shows like HEROES, and countless other comic book titles have stolen much of WILD CARD's thunder.
Compounding the problem is the fact that INSIDE STRAIGHT is largely a satire of the reality TV show craze that began
Jan 24, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Inside Straight was the first Wild Cards book I ever read. I read it right around when it was first coming out, because, hey, GRRM's name on the cover and it did sound like an interesting premise. At the time I read it, I enjoyed it without really getting it. With the most recent of the Fort Freak-centered novels calling back to the characters introduced here, I was curious to go back to read it again now that I know more of the universe and more of where everyone ends up.

I also wondered whethe
Apr 02, 2010 Craig rated it really liked it
This is the 18th Wild Cards book, and appeared 21 years after the first. It's also the start of a new cycle within the series, and marks the 4th rebirth with a new publisher. The idea is that an an alien virus was released on Earth many years ago which changed all of the people who contracted it. Most of them died, but a few were changed into superheroes (known as aces) and others were changed significantly but not necessarily in a good or beneficial way, these latter being known as jokers. Many ...more
Sep 25, 2008 Wm rated it liked it
I was scanning the shelves of my local library, found this title and decided to check it out because Daniel Abraham contributed to this wild cards novel. As a fan of George R.R. Martin, I had been aware of the series for several years, but had never been willing to commit to it. It seemed too long. But since this volume leaps ahead in the wild cards universe, I thought I'd give it a shot.

The verdict:

1. I really like the collaborative approach to the novel (and it does cohere as a novel). It must
Sep 09, 2014 Sina added it
Jonathan Hive ist ein Ass, weil er sich in einen Wespenschwarm verwandeln kann. Aufgrund dessen bewirbt er sich bei der Fernsehshow „American Hero“, die neueste Casting Show im Fernsehen, die herausfinden will, wer Amerikas größter Held ist. Er kämpft mit anderen Assen um eine Million Dollar. Doch seine Chancen stehen eher schlecht und so nimmt er sich vor, die Show als Recherche für seinen Blog zu nutzen und die Hintergründe zu erkunden.
Als aufgrund eines Attentats in Ägypten Unruhen ausbrechen
Sep 05, 2014 Myrdschaem rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Good world building, but really didn't live up to it. The reality tv show arc was ok. It is diverse, so that gets some brownie points, I liked some of the characters that only got some limelight chapters.
Stuff I disliked is a lot longer as a list. We get several characters that are clearly assholes - Hive and DB on the front of those - but are either expected to like them (Hive) or buy redemption/he's not t h a t big of an asshole (DB). Couldn't buy it with the narrative. When the text explicitl
Alison C
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved the original four or five titles in the long-running Wild Cards series, in which the alien Tachyon unleashes a virus in the Earth's atmosphere that turns some humans into superhumans, either "jokers" (whose "wild card" manifests as terrible mutations) or "aces" (whose mutations are more like comic-book superhero powers). The series, started in the 1980s, began at around the end of WWII and carried on into the then-present, but once
Alex Sarll
So, with the middle volumes of Wild Cards out of print at the moment, I thought I'd simultaneously start reading the modern, 'next generation' books in the series. And yes, I have picked up one or two spoilers for what's coming in between, but the timeframe is such that it's not too big a problem; these young aces have only a hazy idea of their own history, and this book was intended as a suitable jumping-on point.
The set-up at first seems dated in the way only something from the recent past (fi
Mar 30, 2012 DMS rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 22, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, fantasy, sci-fi
I liked this book for many reasons. I like the idea of the Wild Cards series. I discovered them when they first came out and read several. I like the character growth (and death). I like the interactions between authors. I'm an admitted comic book/super hero fan. The series is more X-Men than Justice League. More Authority than Avengers.
I've always liked the premise of this series and the way it addresses contemporary events. In this installment there are middle-east problems and reality TV. Th
Tristram Taylor
Mar 08, 2010 Tristram Taylor rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Comic Book Lovers
The Wild Card books are a mystery to me. I didn't hear about them until I picked this one up at the bookstore because I had finished the Song of Fire and Ice series and wanted more Martin. I turns out that there have been over a dozen Wild Card books produced, starting in the early eighties. They are mosaic novels, each chapter written by different authors, to make one big story. It's based in a world were a virus was released that killed 90% of the population, deformed 9 % and gave superpowers ...more
Jun 18, 2015 Greyweather rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned

For those not familiar with the long-running superhero series, Wild Cards are all mosaic novels: multiple authors each contributing stories using a shared setting and characters to a larger overarching story. The core narrative of Inside Straight, the eighteenth book in the continuum, is maintained by Daniel Abraham through the perspective of his character Jonathan Hive: superpowered “ace,” blogger, amateur journalist, and reality TV show contestant. Yes,
Feb 08, 2013 Zedsdead rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Tim
I thought this was going to be a superhero parody of American Idol. That's how it began, but halfway through the story took a sharp left and became a war story and political thriller, with a solid helping of requisite Martinesque tragedy.

The writers demonstrated a high level of creativity in constructing dozens of superheroes. A lot of it is old hat--teleporters, strongmen, fliers and speedsters--but the attention to detail makes it feel fresh. One indestructible guy (with the awesome name Stun
Jan 09, 2012 Alytha rated it really liked it
While I really liked the story, I have some problems with the front and back covers. Why on Earth is Luke Skywalker on the cover of this one? (yeah yeah, I get that it's supposed to be Lohengrin, but the face, the posture and the glowing sword just remind so much of those classic Star Wars posters that their artist could sue the hell out of Michael Kormarck.)
The other problem is that the back cover blurb must belong to some other novel, because it has utterly nothing to do with the plot of this
Feb 05, 2008 Tom rated it it was ok
I loved the 'wild card' series in a big way when I first discovered it in the late 90s. It was written a decade earlier, and was one of the first works to take a serious look at what the world would be like with 'super powers'. It looks at most of the major events (to Americans, at least) between WWII and the 1980s from the point of view of a wide range of characters; each book is broken into chapters written by a different author, featuring a different character. The authors consistently manage ...more
Jamie Revell
Sep 14, 2012 Jamie Revell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Good to see the Wild Cards books back on form again, after a fairly long hiatus. This new volume brings the world fully into the 21st century (not, of course, the first volume to do that, but perhaps the first where it's truly obvious), with reality TV shows and Middle Eastern conflicts both taking a rather topical share of the centre stage.

Although the previous book. Death Draws Five, introduces one of the key characters in this one, for the most part its a metaphorical passing of the baton to
Pablo Amaral
May 11, 2012 Pablo Amaral rated it really liked it
So, Wild Cards. Heard a lot about it and decided to read something to know what people liked so much about this series. At first, I was puzzled. Not because there was anything wrong with the writting, but the backcover told me that I would read a completely different story with zombies and nuclear bombs, if I recall right. And I really didn't care about the whole reality TV plot. So, it was a bad start.

But I kept on reading and some of the characters started to grow on me. And I really liked wh
Mar 15, 2008 R. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: reality show junkies, fanboys
Shelves: 2008
Update: I want to give this big six stars, mainly because of the joy I felt upon the turn of events in the last third of the book. Seriously, I wanted to hoot. The shared-world anthology format brings the characters so much more alive; really care - hell, I was surprised to find myself with empathy for Drummer Boy.

Update: I like the Jonathan Hive character. I, too, would be among the first kicked off a reality TV show. Plus, he's a struggling journalist (read: blogger) that the chicks
Nan Silvernail
Aug 26, 2011 Nan Silvernail rated it really liked it
Aces and Jokers compete to find out who will be the first American Hero on a reality TV show. But what does it really mean to be a hero? Is it how someone uses their powers only while the camera is on? What real difference can these extraordinary people make in the tinsel-town land of Hollywood or out in the real world? How much are they willing to risk to win in the little games and also in the bigger ones?

This Wild Cards book is full of twists and turns. It had me hanging on in the last couple
Brittany Lorraine
Mar 18, 2015 Brittany Lorraine rated it really liked it
Where is GRRM?!? What is he doing that is keeping him from writing the next GOT novel?!?

This.This is what he is doing. He is editing amazing works of amazingness like this

I love everything about everyone of these characters. I even love how much I hate them sometimes.

This is a must read for the lovers of freaks and superheroes...and superheroes that are really freaks or freaks that are superheroes...which are my personal favourite kid of hero!
John Edwards
May 23, 2010 John Edwards rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I loved the shared world anthology Thieves' World in the 1980's and recently devoured all twelve books. That left me hungry for something new so I tried this relaunch of the original Wild Cards shared world anthology series that we are publishing now.

Premise is an alien invasion in the 1940's released a virus that killed off 90% of the people it came in contact with. Of the 10% who survive, they all end up mutating and developing strange features or powers. Some turn up "jokers" with bizarre fa
Scott Bell
Mar 19, 2014 Scott Bell rated it liked it
A lightweight superhero fantasy by one of my favorite authors. I hadn't read any of the other books in the series, but it didn't prevent me from enjoying the novel. I enjoyed the world because the superpowers ranged from completely useless to completely bizarre to awe-inspiring. I also enjoyed the criticism of reality TV even though it was a little clumsy and perhaps overused in novels recently.
May 22, 2011 Daphnar rated it liked it
This book is a mosaic novel, where several writers write individual storylines which were then edited together into one novel length story. As per wikipedia, this is the 18th novel in the series, but no where in the book do they explain anything about the series or its origins. As for the actual book, the first half of the book had individuals with superpowers (aces) competing on a "Apprentice" type program, with individuals being voted off every week. Each chapter focuses on another character ( ...more
Feb 25, 2009 Russ rated it really liked it
I chose this book largely on the basis of its association with George R R Martin, and I was not disappointed. This is a series of short stories that tie together to tell a great story about people with super-human powers in a slightly alternate, though very similar, twenty-first century Earth. I have not read any of the old series of Wild Card books, so this was my initial foray into the universe and I didn't feel like I was missing much. There were references to some very large events in previo ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it
An alternate reality where superheroes are common place. This book is about a reality show where the teams are made up of aces (those with powers.) The teams are hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades. I don't care for today's reality shows, but this book had me engaged. What makes a true hero? Find out when you read Inside Straight!
Tammy Mabra
Jun 19, 2009 Tammy Mabra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a good book reviewer (yet, I've never done it, so I can only assume) but, I am a picky reader... I enjoyed this book. It was good entertainment. I'm a bit of a sucker for human mutation due to radioactivity or in this case an alien virus.

This book/series is a collaboration of multiple writers, where writer's are assigned to chapters and the book is edited by George R. R. Martin. I found it imaginative, witty, well written and never a dull moment.

I look forward to starting the next one,
Mar 01, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it
The year 2007 saw the (second?) rebirth of this series of 'mosaic' novels, a series of books set in a shared universe, written by several authors. The first part appeared in 1987, Inside Straight is book 18. Normally I wouldn't start a series at book 18 but many of the previous books have been out of print for a while. I understand Tor means to reissue some of the older ones in omnibus editions but I can't find a publication date for the first one. To make this 18th book a good entry point Marti ...more
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
More about George R.R. Martin...

Other Books in the Series

Wild Cards (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)
  • Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)
  • Jokers Wild (Wild Cards, #3)
  • Aces Abroad (Wild Cards, #4)
  • Down and Dirty (Wild Cards, #5)
  • Ace in the Hole (Wild Cards, #6)
  • Dead Man's Hand (Wild Cards, #7)
  • Wild Cards: Graphic Novel
  • One-Eyed Jacks (Wild Cards, #8)
  • Jokertown Shuffle (Wild Cards, #9)

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