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Fort Freak

(Wild Cards #21)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Now in development for TV: 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.

In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent
Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Tor Science Fiction (first published June 21st 2011)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  785 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Well, this was a pleasant surprise. After reading a less-than-impressive short story of Martin's in a zombie-themed collection, I have never really been interested in the stuff he would rather do than work on the behemoth flagship series that I am now convinced he secretly hates. But I had a signed copy of this fall into my lap a few years ago, and happened across it again recently, so I figured I’d give it a try. Despite my skepticism, I was hooked within a few pages, and stayed engaged the who ...more
Jul 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious series freaks
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
This relatively late installment in the long-running (and at least twice-rebooted) Wild Cards series won't make much sense if you're coming into it cold... there's a lot of previous (alternate) history here, with which your familiarity is simply assumed. If you're not even sure where Jokertown is, or why it'd be appropriate for its police precinct headquarters to be nicknamed "Fort Freak," then this is not the place to start finding out. In this review, I am also going to assume that you are alr ...more
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The more Wild Cards books that I read, the more that I realize these are what the TV show Heroes wishes it could have been. I liked two out of three books of the re-launch trilogy, and those were books that were about the high-flying, high-powered aces who were off saving people in large numbers, and saving the world in turn.

Fort Freak reminds us there's more to the world than that. Here we are in Jokertown, a chunk of New York City that, in the Wild Cards universe, has come to be inhabited by a
Andy Horton
A recent entry in the long-running wild Cards shared-world series. A police procedural with superhuman cops and criminals, in the usual gritty style of this series. I found this a bit long, and the main story arc didn't work for me as well as the short stories along the way. The shared-world format with a small cast of cops at the precinct also led to the same characters being introduced again and again and again by different authors which became tiring.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED IT. Ah the sheer pleasure of quite unexpectedly finding a good book quite by chance. We had coffee together, we sat under trees, we curled up at the end of crap days. The question then becomes whether the romance can continue...

I picked this up as I walked through the library simply because it has George RR Martin blazoned across the front. Sometimes, books like these are truly crap; a famous name as a figurehead editor and multiple authors writing their own bits and pieces. For me, I susp
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I've read just a few Wild Cards books over the years, and liked them okay. I liked this one enough that I'm going to read a few more. The plots: a soon-to-retire detective decides to revisit a 30-year-old case, and digs up lots of dirt. A new young cop gets some experience. A young public defender, the same. A very young joker gets in deep trouble because of a couple of very bad cops. The cops work on a perplexing series of thefts. Father Squid has quite a past, and some of it catches up with hi ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this volume much more than the previous few. Not only did the writers have the opportunity to tell interesting stories about longstanding background characters, but they also told great stories about jokers. I guess I get sick of aces aces aces. Also, I don't read many police procedurals (any?) so that was fun for a change.
Rich Steeves
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Rogers
May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, serves me right, I missed the "Wild Cards" tag. For fans of this genre only.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
One of the best of the Wild Cards series, both in terms of characterizations and plots, and in terms of clean, error-free writing (and editing).
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y2017
Still satisfying, even after all these years.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
T.L. Barrett
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading The Wild Cards series with the first volume when I was thirteen years old. Except for three or four in the nineties, I've read them all. When I was thirteen I loved, loved, loved the shared world experience, the switching point of views and the somewhat more realistic take on superheroes (I've always been a huge comic book superhero fan). Back then I relished the tales about The Great and Powerful Turtle, The Sleeper, Golden Boy and all of the other Aces, that were the lucky on ...more
Jamie Revell
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
The start of a new "trilogy" of Wild Cards novels, this focusses on the eponymous NYPD precinct station that covers the area of Jokertown. As such, there is more of a focus on jokers than usual, especially in the earlier parts of the book, although we do also see a number of new aces.

Unusually, for the start of a WC trilogy, the book is a tightly woven mosaic novel, with several plot lines running through it, in addition to the main linking story, concerning a cold case multiple homicide from t
John Patrick
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that so far this has been my favorite of the Wild Cards books I have read. I only picked up the Wild Cards with the first novel of the most recent cycle (Inside Straight) but have enjoyed every book. Fort Freak is a departure from the previous three books which focused one Jonathan Fortune and the Hero's of the UN Association Task Force. This book takes us to Jokertown's 5th Precinct nicknamed Fort Freak. The book starts out with the story of Detective Leo "Ramshead" Storgman, just ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remain amused that for a man who despises fanfic that George R.R. Martin continues to edit and contribute to the Wild Cards series. Basically the series grew out of Martin, and a group of fellow writers with whom he is friends, love of super heroes, a RPG they were playing, and he has made veiled comments that some of them were writing fanfic.

Fort Freak is not the strongest entry in the series. After the trilogy the previous three books provided we receive a stand alone that takes place entire
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
My only previous exposure to the Wild Cards series was through the short stories (really, selections) published in GRRM's Dreamsongs collections. I knew this was going to be a "mosaic novel" but what that actually meant didn't sink in till I was past the first chapter, at which point I began to fully appreciate GRRM's contribution to this book. It's one thing to edit a collection of short stories, but to have the vision to corral a bunch of sci-fi authors and have them work together to write a c ...more
Peyton Banks
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unsurprisingly, I really enjoyed this book. Of course I was going to because it's a Wild Cards books, but this was a very different installment in the series. The stories revolve around the goings-on in New York's "Fort Freak," a precinct located in Jokertown. There are two big overarching plot. The first involves a murder mystery that Detective Leo Storgman is desperately trying to solve before his retirement. The second deals with corruption within the precinct. The nature of these two plots g ...more
Alex Sarll
Now he's won the Game of George Martins, can GRRM ditch those middle initials? Anyway, he only edits rather than writing for this installment of the Wild Cards series, so let's move on. Fort Freak is a precinct story with an ensemble cast, following the genre's familiar batch of intertwined stories - the retiring detective re-examining the old case that nags at him, the dirty cops trying to cover up a bad shoot, and the rookie getting the shitty cases, plus the everyday business of high-profile ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A few weeks ago, I was a bit let down by the latest Bordertown book, which I reviewed as stuck too much in the past, even as it tried to bring that setting into the present day.

Paradoxically, that's what I enjoyed most about Fort Freak - after the last several books featured an almost entirely new generation of Aces and Jokers involved in major events around the globe, this one goes back to where it started - New York, specifically Jokertown. There are plenty of new characters, but featured rol

Fort Freak was a bit of a mixed bag for me--except for Paul Cornell's story, the writing was very consistent and fresh compared to previous volumes in the series. I appreciated the focus on Jokertown, there is a lot of good story and character to be mined in that relatively small area (considering the world-wide scope of the previous trilogy). I think Cornell is a very entertaining writer normally, but his story sticks out like a sore thumb and was tonally wrong for Fort Freak. He introduces som
I have to thank the woman at Jeanne Stein's book signing at Broadway Book Mall for turning me onto the Wild Card series. She assured me I could start at any point among the twenty-one books, so I began with the one she handed me, FORT FREAK, the latest.
The premise of the series is that an alien virus struck in 1946, killing 90% of the population, deforming others and giving a small percentage of the population superpowers.
FORT FREAK takes place in New York City's 5th Precinct, aka "Fort Freak"
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...Fort Freak is written as a standalone and given the limited availability of the older books in the series, that makes sense. It can be read without having read any of the other volumes but I'm not sure it is a good point to enter the series. There are a lot of nods to other books in the series, and some characters have quite a history. Besides the aforementioned Father Squid, The Sleeper, originally a creation of Roger Zelazny, make an appearance for instance. This novel is a treat for those ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fort Freak
by George R.R. Martin (Editor)

Going back to the detective work and mystery crossovers of down and Dirty and Death draws five. This new trilogy of the Wild card series is not a reboot but a continuation of a great series. Decades later in our current time a decade after the turn of the century the world of Jokertown has many old stories are coming to light and their repercussions are affecting those who have survived so much. New characters and events never before come to light. We look
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how this ended up on my reading list. I enjoyed it, but it was a strange reading experience. It is part of a series about an alternative reality where a virus has caused many people to change into strange mutations (called jokers) and others to develop unusual powers (angels). This particular book is about a cold case mystery that occurred in Jokertown.

The reason I called this a strange reading experience is because the story alternates between chapters that tell the story of the p
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before we get anywhere - GRRM's name on the cover in giant letters is a cheap marketing trick. There are no stories by him here. I repeat, no stories from his pen appear in this book.
Also for some reason the title no longer has anything to do with card games...

Now that's outta the way, may I present Jokertown modern day: the gritty cop movie.

It pretty much takes all the usual tropes & pieces and puts them in. We got dirty cops, Detective few months away from retirement, rookie comin in, old
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this volume of Wildcards.
The only part that disappointed me was Melinda Snodgrass' one on the first case of rookie cop Franny Black. It's a bit too goodie two-shoes and too easily wrapped up. much prefered Slim Jim's story in that regard.

On the whole though, the stories are good, especially Leo's quest to solve a long-dead case before it's too late. It gives some good insight into the characters.

One might accuse this book of following the usual tropes of police proedural fiction,
Fort Freak is the 21st volume of the Wild Cards series, a.k.a. that George R.R. Martin series that's older and comes out in a more timely fashion than the one that's on tv. The reason it comes out more often is, of course, that there are many, many other writers who work on it.

And it's awesome. Did I mention it's awesome? An alternate history in which superpowers are real (although not without their nasty side effects), with a heavy dose of grim dark. Or, given that this volume hangs off the ven
Fantasy Literature
Fort Freak is the twenty-first entry in the WILD CARDS universe, a long running series of mosaic novels edited by George R.R. Martin. It is not necessary to have read the previous twenty volumes to read this one; Fort Freak works fine as a standalone. There are numerous references to earlier books and cameos by characters that starred in them, but nothing that makes it absolutely necessary to have read earlier volumes. That is probably a good thing. The WILD CARDS series is currently published b ...more
Unlike the previous volume I’d just read, ‘Fort Freak’ doesn’t follow the international Ace jetset all over the world. Rather, it is set entirely in Jokertown, New York and centres on the police precinct there. The tone was still thriller-ish, but with more of a noir mystery edge. It occurred to me whilst reading that I don’t notice the transitions between one writer and the next. The consistency is impressive. I enjoyed the focus on the police and the various crimes they had to deal with and th ...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,

Other books in the series

Wild Cards (1 - 10 of 29 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)
  • One-Eyed Jacks (Wild Cards, #8)
  • Jokertown Shuffle (Wild Cards, #9)
  • Double Solitaire (Wild Cards, #10)