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Jokers Wild

(Wild Cards #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,028 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Let the secret history of the world be told—of the alien virus that struck Earth after World War II, and of the handful of survivors who found they now possessed superhuman powers. Some were called Aces, endowed with powerful mental and physical prowess. The others were Jokers, tormented by bizarre mind or body disfigurements. Some served humanity. Others wreaked terror. N ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by Bantam
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  3,028 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A different format than before - the chapters are divided by HOURS & then all PoV characters shuffle thru that particular slice of time, It honestly does the overall book no favors as each person's writing style occasionally clashes painfully

24hours: Wild Card Day (lets celebrate 40th anniversary of virus release!). A few seemingly random events ("oriental" syndicate VS local italian mafia turf war, mcguffin theft & one joker's revenge) drag plenty of Aces and Jokers into it
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The third book in the "Wild Cards" series by George R.R. Martin (editor), this is a "shared world" series, where various authors get together and write in the same world. The world is one where an alien virus was dumped into the air shortly after WWII, and still randomly infects people nearly forty years later.

The virus - called the Wild Card for its very random results - proliferated in earth's atmosphere. First, nine in ten people who contract the Wild Card virus "draw the Queen of
Maria Kramer
This is the book that lost me. The writing is I know there are multiple authors, so I might pick it up in the future, but this volume was so clunky and erratic. Could not keep going.
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
So let's say you take everything that's cool from the first couple of Wild Cards books, like people discovering their new powers, the world getting a handle on people having new powers, the assorted social commentary that comes along with a new class of people who aren't understood, people with awesome powers fending off ALIEN INVASIONS...

... and fucking forget all of it because instead we're just going to spend a whole book where seemingly half of the pages are spent on people whose powers lit
This instalment was somewhat better than the last one. I liked that the action of the novel (which was still written by several authors so I'm shelving it as an anthology to keep with the spirit of the series thus far) took placed over 24 hours; I liked that 24 hours was enough time for several storylines to begin and conclude, and for justice to be served to some extent.

That's not to say there was nothing wrong with the book. If that was the case, it would have at least 4 stars. I don't, have the
Sara Lilkas
2.5/5 I think the what initially threw me off was the difference in formatting from the previous Wild Card books. I think part of the problem was the different writing styles didn't always flow together in my opinion. However with all the Wild Card books once the action picked up at the end I couldn't put it down, it was just getting to the end that was challenging.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the third of the series, the Wild Cards series edited by George R.R. Martin. It's a "shared universe" to which a number of authors have contributed. In 1946, an alien virus--called the "Wild Card virus"--infects New York City and the rest of the world. The virus mutates the survivors, most of whom are modified in some way (the "jokers"), with a tiny minority gaining superhuman abilities (the "aces") . That's the fun of the series, discovering what the superhuman powers are of the variou ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, anthologies, 2017
This book got better and better as it went on. Unlike the first two Wild Cards books, this one takes place over the course of one day...the fortieth anniversary of the Wild Card virus. Whereas the first two books had each individual author write their own short story about the events, this one was broken into the hours of the day with each author contributing his or her own part. Crazy editing must have been needed to make the book make sense!!

There were about seven primary character
May 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just don't get this book. I've read only 50% of it and just couldn't take it anymore. it's like every chapter it's written by a different person that never communicate or read what was wrote before. Too many characters with their own agenda. You just keep track and in the end you don't care.
Tariq Malik
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Wild Cards series continues to deliver with this awesome heist story set during the holiday celebration of Wild Card Day in NYC. All your favorite Aces and Jokers are there, with some newbies in the mix to spice things up. Can't wait for Volume 4!
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
If Aces High (Wild Cards #2) presented Earth's fledging new aces and jokers with an external menace in the form of a giant alien Swarm, Jokers Wild drags the action back to this stratosphere and pins it very firmly to the ground. The threats faced by the protagonists in this novel are all painfully, recognisably human - whether or not these threats have been twisted into monsters by the wild card virus. Jokers Wild unequivocally makes clear that the potential for great evil and corruption exists ...more
...That being said, the novel does show some of the shortcomings of a work with so many authors. In depth characterization is mostly absent and here and there, fault lines in the style of writing are noticeable. Martin has done a wonderful job in editing it so the very compressed time line of the novel makes sense however. It must have been particularly challenging to get everything to fit in just a twenty-four hour time span. It's not the most challenging reading material but it is fast and fun ...more
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This book like the others before is part of the shared Wild cards universe however here it is credited ti George R R Martin. The book consists of a series of short stories by various authors with various styles and characters but all sharing (in varying degrees) a common thread, and this is where I think the hidden strength of the Wild Card series really lies. You get to see individual styles and characters being given full and centre stage while still feeling there is a commonality to the book. ...more
Nathaniel Sanders
The first two Wild Card books were volumes I flew through and enjoyed immensely. This one....not so much and it wasn't just the fact my favorite character died. It was the fact that I could tell where the story was going from pretty much the beginning and it took FOREVER for those things to actually happen.

Hopefully the fourth volume picks up and is akin to the first couple books and proves this one to be an anomaly. *crosses fingers*
Timothy Boyd
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent series. If you are into comics at all you will love these books. Very interesting plot and the shared world makes each story new, as different writers add their twist to the world. Highly recommended
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wild-cards
I had a little trouble keeping the characters straight, especially the ones who were called by two names. Still, I enjoyed the book. Lots of action (and sex) and a satisfying conclusion. I will read more in the series.
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the Wild Cards series and it differs in format from its predecessors. This is less of an anthology and more of a 'mosaic novel' as the book is written like a traditional novel with different authors writing sections from their character's perspective.

The book is set on Wild Cards Day 1986 where there are huge celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Wild Cards virus being released. The Astronomer wants to use this day to take revenge on the Aces that prevented his s
originally posted at:

The Wild Cards series has been on my to read list for quiet some time now, I haven't read the first book in the series yet but jumped right into the fray with Inside Straight the 18th book in the series. It was the only book available at the time. Tor "rebooted" the series back in 2008 with Inside Straight but the first book Wild Cards goes back as far as 1986! I encountered these books when I was searching for new superhero books and was more than pleased with the
Craig Childs
The Wild Card series is structured as a succession of trilogies--or triads. The first two volumes of each triad are composed of short stories connected by interstitial narrative material provided by the editor. The third is a proper novel, although with different authors writing each point of view character. Joker's Wild concludes the first triad and provides the culmination of the major plot lines started in the first two books.

The story takes place over the span of 24-hours in Jokertown on t
Brian Rogers
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is interesting in that it's an editorial tour de force, merging 6 separate POV characters written by 6 different authors into one relatively seamless timeline. Like book 2, a lot of Jokers Wild is a MacGuffin hunt - for understandable reasons given the self imposed constraints of 1 day and multiple characters that's likely the easiest connective mechanism - with 3 threads. Sewer Jack's 16 year old niece has run away to the big city on Wild Card day at Port Authoirty in 1986, which was ...more
Adam Richard
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a breather between II and III, and enjoyed this much more because of it. The sexual violence is still really jarring, perhaps because there have been so many adult renderings of superhero stories, that it feels worse now than it did when I first read these. This is the first truly mosaic novel, with the various stories assembled into a whole by George R.R. Martin - there is a fascinating blog about the process at the Wild Cards website - although it does contain spoilers, so if you're planning ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Rather than the collection of short stories found in Wild Cards and Aces High, Jokers Wild is instead a mosaic novel, with the storylines all mixed into a single novel length story, with less clear distinction between the characters and their storylines.

I'm ... not thrilled with it.

In the previous case, if you didn't like a particularly story, it wasn't long before you moved on to something completely different. Here, it just keeps coming back again and again. Particularly when Jokers Wild primarily deals w
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
It pains me to give this book such a bad review. It really does. But on a reread, it's just... really not good.

I have loved the Wild Cards series since I was in my early teens. The new books are still must-read material, as soon as I know they're out. I've been looking forward to rereading the originals, to see how well they stand up. Unfortunately, the answer, in this case, is 'not well.' Honestly, if this were my first time through the series I'm not sure I'd ever read any further.
ylva a.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve realized that I start every new Wild Cards book with skepticism - before falling head over heels for the series all over again within the first 100 pages. Jokers Wild was no exception, even though the mosaic format threw me off at first. And while I recognize that those quick shifts between the (many) different POV’s was necessary to tell this story (which takes place within the span of 24 hours), I’m still not entirely sold on the concept. Or, rather, I don’t think that it was used to its ...more
In brief: It’s the 40th anniversary of Wild Card Day and things are about to get weird(er) in New York City. Third in a series.

Thoughts: Hee! In case you missed my recent post on the Wild Cards books, they’re a shared-world superhero series that is well-written, mostly holds up to modern eyes, and utterly bonkers. This installment is no exception, and as enjoyable a read as the rest of ‘em. There’s an assassination plot, a missing girl, a fermenting gang war, a bit of romance, some s
Adam Whitehead
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The alien Swarm has been driven back into deep space. The band of villainous aces and jokers who tried to summon the Swarm, led by the Astronomer, have been defeated in battle and the victorious aces are taking some time out to enjoy Wild Cards Day 1986, the fortieth anniversary of the arrival of the alien virus on Earth. Unfortunately, the Astronomer hungers for revenge and sets out to murder all of the aces responsible for his defeat.

Jokers Wild is the third novel in the Wild Cards
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I much preferred this one to the one before and when I read the afterword and realized how the book was constructed I was amazed. The structure is fascinating, especially how it gives momentum to a disparate group of characters created by a disparate group of authors writing what is essentially a collective novel. Very well done. Read at least the first Wild Cards book first, the context will be helpful, but if you need to begin with this one for some reason, you'll be able to enjoy it.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Dealer's Choice (Wild Cards, #11)