Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)
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Aces High (Wild Cards #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,988 ratings  ·  85 reviews
It all began in 1946, when the bizarre, gene-altering A3Wild CardsAy virus was unleashed in the skies over New York City. A virus that created superpowered Aces and bizarre, disfigured Jokers. Now, thirty years later, the victims face a new nightmare. From the far reaches of space comes The Swarm, a deadly menace that could very well destroy the planet. Putting aside their...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by iBooks (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Jim
This was pretty good, not quite a 4. Again it was short stories, but much more tightly bound together over the course of the book. There were several definite objectives that went through each story. Very well done. Several new characters were also introduced, but one of my favorites is Cap'n Tripps. Croyd also makes several short appearances. Lots of fun.
R.
Christmas Gift, 1987. Along with a Laser Tag set that drained batteries with a startling quickness. Read this during the winter break...my introduction to the Egyptian Freemasons...Cthulhoid creatures...tantric sex magick...yeah, this little paperback warped me eternally. And, for that, I'm grateful.
Calamity
Jan 06, 2011 Calamity rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Lovers of sci-fi and super powered adventures
This time around the Wild Card universe takes us trough an alien invasion, giving clever nods to ancient mythology and even the ctulhu mythos, while introducing several new characters like Walrus, the Astronomer, Dr. Tachyon’s family and their sentient ships (Hellcat and Baby), Captain Trips, Modular Man, and many others.
I was again mesmerized by this alternate Earth that George R R Martin and his friends created, even if it did not amaze me as much as the first volume, it felt as if I was readi...more
Rob
...I guess this volume signals change for the reader. It exchanges some variety and distinctness found in the first volume for a more solid story arc in the second. I don't think the series would have lasted twenty-five years and produced twenty-one volumes (I understand there is a twenty-second in the works continuing the Fort Freak story line). It also shifts the focus a bit from the Aces and Jokers to the various alien races that inhabit the Wild cards universe. Maybe doing both at once is a...more
Alytha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
In the second book of this shared-world series, the authors introduce a new Big Bad (the Astronomer) and a threat to the world -- the alien Swarm. Basically a novelized form of the cross-over "Big Event" that most comic book companies do from time to time, where some major threat affects every series in their line. This was still a great read, although you start to see the direction the rest of the series will take, as awful things happen to one sympathetic character after another.
Andrew
And so continues the saga of the wild cards - the Aces and Joker survivors of the Wild Card biological weapon. The "cast list" of players is still being expanded but the interesting thing here is that the main challenge is from another outside source - this time the "swarm" and extra terrestrial threat that requires everyone to join together and temporarily put aside the differences and work together. I must admit that even though the storyline was fun - carrying on the tradition of the super he...more
Michael
I'd hoped the reissued edition was updated in the same way as the first volume, but no such luck. Still really enjoyable, although a couple of the stories fall flat (re: Yeoman). Deus ex machina alert. The Astronomer, as an antagonist, is just much better than the Swarm. GRRM, hurry up and reissue the rest of the series!
Gail
This original seres is more fun than humans can imagine!
BigJohn
Aces High, book two in the Wild card series, has more of a central plotline. Whereas book one was mostly world building and introducing some main characters, book two pits those characters in a classic good vs. evil battle. The story features visits from two different alien species, with different ramifications for each. The world comes together to face one threat, and yet the social structure becomes even more segregated between Aces (those infected by the Wild Card virus who are granted powers...more
Francesco Zullo
Meno riuscito del capitolo precedente, WildCards L'Invasione anziché narrare le singole storie degli esseri super normali del mondo condiviso "diretto" da Martin, introduce una vera e propria trama che tiene insieme i racconti che i vari autori di WildCards hanno ideato per presentare i loro personaggi.
Quello che ci era parso nella prima raccolta un bel mosaico ricco di personaggi del tutto originali, in questo secondo capitolo ci appare un comunissimo racconto di fantascienza, infarcito di alcu...more
Des
Unlike the first Wild Cards book, Aces High is a tightly written tale, following some threads to their end, more or less. It means that, generally, the individual stories are less noteworthy (with the exception of the remarkable "Winter's Chill" and the half comic "Ashes to Ashes") but the overall quality is high.

The book introduces us some new heros. the most entertaining of them are Jube, an extraterrestrial who knows more jokes than anyone else around, and Kid Dinousaur, a boy who can change...more
Mark
This book is pure cheese. People with superpowers running around trying to stop or hasten an invasion of alien insects - totally cheesy. If that's your thing, you will like this book. If it's not, you won't, and that's okay.

Where the first book of Wild Cards was more of a meandering journey through the mid-20th century as it would have been affected by the presence of aces and jokers, the second tries to focus more on this invading alien plot. I say tries because, well, I don't really think it s...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.
3.5 stars

Aces High is the second volume of George R.R. Martin’s long-running WILD CARDS anthology. In the first volume, Wild Cards, we learned how aliens from the planet Takis decided to test their new virus by using humans as their guinea pigs. In the 1960s, they let loose what has now become known as the Wild Card virus on Manhattan. Much of the world population died and many of the survivors became grossly deformed and are now referred to as “Jokers.” A...more
Nathan Burgoine
The continuing short story collection set in the shared world as introduced in 'Wild Cards,' this is the continuing stories of those Aces and Jokers (and sometimes plain old natural humans) in the fallout of the genetic Wild Card virus. We're in the eighties now, and a new menace looms on the horizon - a dark alien organism is on its way, and the Swarm Mother sends terrible creatures down to attack earth in many places - and who else can stop them but the super-powered Aces?

The nice thing is the...more
Leo (Rahien Sorei)
This installment of the Wild Cards saga was much more cohesive than Wild Cards. We followed only a few characters whom we got to know very well - Jube, Dr. Tachyon and some other old faces like The Great and Powerful Turtle. Except everyone who we encountered at the height of their popularity (or stigma) has declined somewhat. We also aw new faces, who were a treat to meet - Captain Trips and all his friends, Water Lily Jane and Modular Man. I loved Captain Trips as a byproduct of quiet little B...more
Shawne
This second installment in the Wild Cards series lays similar claims as the first book did to being a ''mosaic novel' i.e., a novel composed of stories written by several authors, all of which contribute and tie into a larger, coherent narrative. The original Wild Cards asserted that it was such, but aside from the basic premise and some interlinking moments and cameos, was really more an anthology of short stories. Does this second book better fulfil its remit?

I'd say yes. The tale reads smooth...more
Michael
The second volume of Wild Cards called Aces High collection of stories relate more to one another and tie into one another. Unlike the first volume which was mostly a collection of stories that only slightly had any connection accept for the Wild Cards virus.

I overall felt like that Aces High was a much better book than the first Volume. Many character return from the first book including the Great and Powerful Turtle, Dr. Tach, Sleeper, and Yeoman. There are also new character introduced inclu...more
Luci
I really enjoyed this book. Not so much as the first one in the series but I did enjoy it. My issue is that I enjoy the stories of the different jokers and aces interacting with real life, so the Turtle/Barbara story was one of my favorites (even though at first glance it didn't make much sense within the framework of the novel and only bore connection to the mosaic at the end). I like the concept of the mosaic novel and I like the reappearance of characters throughout. I will definitely continu...more
Craig Fisher
The second in the (currently) 25 volume Wild Cards anthology series and one of the better ones. After the establishing stories being necessarily character heavy and diverse, the sheer action pace and cohesion of all these writers makes it feel like the second part of a trilogy written by a single author.

George R R Martin's talents as an editor shine through here. Havving said that, anyone that does not enjoy a short story format and multiple creators should still steer clear of this and any comi...more
Phil
What I liked about the first book in the series was how each story was by a different author. Each story had it's own flavor, and was very linked in a very subtle way to the preceding story.

In this book, however, it was almost as if Mr. Martin laid out the complete outline of the story and just gave different parts to different authors to write. In some of the stories, the new author's voice came through loud and clear, but most of them were indistinguishable one from another.

The other thing I...more
Fantasy Literature
3.5 stars
Aces High is the second volume of George R.R. Martin’s long-running WILD CARDS anthology. In the first volume, Wild Cards, we learned how aliens from the planet Takis decided to test their new virus by using humans as their guinea pigs. In the 1960s, they let loose what has now become known as the Wild Card virus on Manhattan. Much of the world population died and many of the survivors became grossly deformed and are now referred to as “Jokers.” A much smaller proportion of those who we...more
David(LA,CA)
Drops a lot of the realistic elements from the first book for a much more comic book centered focus. The first one dealt with historical events of a world where people started developing super powers, and how those powered individuals had an impact on history and society. This one, we have an alien menace from space and a cultish secret society trying to do... something (the two are tied together, but I never really got a feeling of what exactly the cult was trying to get out of the deal).

Also,...more
Kathe
Incredible! A clever mixture of history and Scifi cleverly woven together through multiple characters' lives. In this second book of the series, the characters introduced in the first book begin to come together to save the world from multiple threats, including those history made for us but also new ones due, in part, to the problems created by the wild card virus. The virus, introduced in the first book as an experiment on humans by an alien race, has produced superheroes, grossly disfigured p...more
Dan Polley
Very disappointed in this volume. The first book had me hooked and solidly excited for the universe and the characters in it.

And while there were highlights of stories in this volume, overall I was not as hooked by it, and felt the characters and the universe interest me less.

I think I will try to head to the next volume, but probably after a bit of a break.
Ying Hui
I'm not so much a sci-fi person, but this book proved to be readable. There were times I wanted to give up, not because the story was bad in any way, but because I couldn't understand what the authors were trying to convey. I'm not an expert in machinery, you see. However, this book surprised me on the amount of humanity the characters have, each with their own purpose in life. The divide between Aces and Jokers is just like the modern day segregation of privileged and unfortunate. There is a th...more
Mark
This was an interesting follow up to the first a Wild Cards book. Fewer overall characters, and only a couple new characters, make for a tighter story. The trade off, like in many sequels, is that we get less of the wonderment factor.
There was one brand new corner of the Wild Card universe. The Takisian chapter and the living ships was a lot of fun. This is a must read for the superpower fiction fans, and a nice book for a sci-fi/fantasy fan.
Mark Webb
A couple of comments on my website in my monthly books I've read summary.
Alex Sarll
The first book was a short story collection covering four decades of an altered America's history with superhumans, into which I dipped over several months. The second is a mosaic novel, telling a single story through linked shorts, and hence much more satisfying to read straight through. Being more of a single entity, it never quite soars as high as the best of the first volume, but the lows there are equally evaded. And the big bad here - the adaptable alien menace known mostly as the Swarm -...more
Daryl Nash
I originally read this in high school, and I can see why I never read any further in the series after this book. It's not horrible, but most of the stories are average or mediocre with lots of comic book and sci-fi cliches rendered in fairly conventional ways with no subversion or expansion. The Mason plotline is especially bland. The two most notable exceptions are Zelazny's "Ashes to Ashes", a quick funny romp with the Sleeper, and Martin's "Winter's Chill," a touching riff on the old story wh...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
More about George R.R. Martin...
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