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Down and Dirty

(Wild Cards #5)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,672 ratings  ·  57 reviews
The fifth volume in this totally-unique "mosaic novel" series. As in the previous volume, Aces Abroad, this one focuses on the effects of the Wild Card virus outside of the United States.
Paperback, 592 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Bantam
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,672 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Baal Of
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
That's more like it. This volume is a major improvement over the previous volume, which I found a bit tedious at some points. This brings the action back to New York, specifically Jokertown and environs, and the action is fast an furious, violent, bloody, and with heaping doses of death. Zelazny is as usual one of my favorites, and I love his sections. Croyd/Sleeper is a particularly complex character now, and it's impossible to say whether he is just an irregular person trying to get by as best ...more
ylva a.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the afterword to this book, George RR Martin straight up apologizes for its somewhat confusing structure, and many, tangled plotlines. And despite my initial confusion, I get where he's coming from with that. Kind of. Because yes, the (almost) mundane gang war that goes on while a mutated version of the wild card virus strikes fear into Jokertown and both the Turtle and Dr. Tachyon wrestle with deeply personal, and mostly unrelated, dilemmas of their own as the Puppetman story is built up in ...more
Shannon Appelcline
You can see the importance of worldbuilding to the Wild Cards universe from page one of this volume. It's actually set before the departure of the world tour in Aces Abroad. In fact, this volume overlaps quite a bit with the previous one. That's because things didn't stop happening in New York just because the World Tour left town. (In fact, this volume continues on with some ongoing plots from previous volumes, which was really what Aces Abroad missed.)

Only the Dead Known Jokertown (Miller:
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's pretty tough going as is to pithily summarise the fifth book in an ongoing series, but it's extraordinarily difficult with Down And Dirty because there is a LOT going on in the Wild Cards universe as this novel unfolds. So the wild card virus changed the world as we know it in the first book, aliens invaded in the second, aces and jokers banded together to battle street gangs and the Astronomer in the third, and a semi-diplomatic convoy of aces and jokers took a world tour in Book 4. You'd ...more
Craig Childs
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Down and Dirty is the second book of the second triad in the Wild Cards series. Chronologically, it overlaps the previous book. It actually begins a few weeks before Aces Abroad and ends several months after the characters featured in that volume have returned home to New York.

In keeping with the established format, the first two books of this triad are short story collections, usually connected by the editor's interstitial material. In this case, there are no true interstitial passages, but
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I blame jaybird1977 for my addiction to thise series, and he will pay. Oh yes, he will. Basically, around the time of WWII, an alien virus was let loose over New York, and spread around the world. Called the 'Wild Card' virus, the effects are quite random. Nine out of ten people draw the "black queen" and die. Of the survivors, nine out of ten draw a "joker" and end up deformed in some massive way. Of those one in a hundred survivors who draw neither, they might draw an "ace" (and basically end ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
As are most of the books in this series, the book was a a lot of fun to read and very enjoyable. An improvement over its predecessor, Aces Abroad, which dragged in spots, this book was almost uniformly great.

My only quibble was with the chapter describing the organization of the Wild Card/AIDS benefit concert and the courting of Buddy Holley. Reading an account of the logistical difficulties organizing a real benefit concert might have some interest; reading about the logistical difficulties of
Christopher Dodds
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
Down and Dirty (Wild Cards #5)
by George R.R. Martin (Editor / Author), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Edward Bryant (Contributor), Stephen Leigh (Contributor), Pat Cadigan (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Walter Jon Williams (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), John J. Miller (Contributor), Roger Zelazny (Contributor) , Arthur Byron Cover (Contributor), Leanne C. Harper (Contributor)

Wow very complicated story weaving intrigue politics and gang wars into one story, very
Alex Sarll
With George RR Martin at the helm, the Wild Cards series was never going to be all sunshine and light. But as the title suggests, this volume is particularly grim, containing as it does gang war, two plagues, mind control, corporate malfeasance, Snotman, heartbreak, corruption of noble ideals, and Bono.
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
Peter rock
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Steven Morton
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great gang war story and great Sleeper story!
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Down and Dirty is a bit of an odd duck, with some stories taking place at the same time as the world tour of Aces Abroad while others take place after. There are mafia plotlines, political plotlines with the Puppetman, and a bit of an internal struggle for both Tachyon and the Turtle. As with any of the short story collections, there's a wide variety of stories, for better and for worse.

Individual stories:

Only the Dead Know Jokertown: Yeoman is surprisingly interesting and I'm intrigued by his
Matt Fimbulwinter
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
(audiobook re-read)

First time hitting this one since I read it first as a teenager. It's got some structural problems, which Martin laments in his 2001 Afterword. I found some of the characterization to be off (Water Lily and Sewer Jack), and some of the story lines just didn't work (I Did Not Care about Rosemary Muldoon, Bagabond or Cordelia).

And yet... I kept listening, sitting int he car after I got where I was going to listen to just a little more. It still hooked me. The Croyd and Modular
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The march through Wild Cards history continues with this re-release of the fifth volume of the series, which in the present day is also the tenth volume of the series (five new books, and the fifth book to be re-released). It's not like George R. R. Martin is writing anything new, so hey, might as well repackage some books where you can put GRRM's name prominently on the cover.

Wild Cards books are so hit or miss for me. The good ones are really great, and there are others that just seem like
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this volume are great if not a little disjointed. The contents of the book, I would give 3.5 or 4 stars, but the performance of the readers is so terribly uneven. Felicia Day, Scott Brick and a few others give good performances but the performances for Mortality was so absolutely wrong for the feel of the story it was god awful. The narrators for Bloodties, and Jesus Was An Ace were not much better. I listened to much of the book at fast speed to just get through the poor ...more
Scott Laight
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the wild cards series and I think this might be one of my favourites thus far. some of the best characters, stories and twists yet!
lots of action, horror and sci fi themes as the story focuses on the New gang war, a mutation of the virus and the emergence of Puppetman as a presidential candidate.
some of my favourite characters returned in this book (I won't spoil) and it all looks at for a great pay off in Ace in the Hole (the final book in this triad)
Travis Kuhlman
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Huw Evans
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting continuation of the Wild Card mosaic novels.

The careful editing of sone of the stories to provide interludes between other parts of the novels drives the narrative forwards and encourages one to carry on with the one or two tedious passages as, being a mosaic of different writers works, there are a couple of patches that don’t work as well as others.
Stephen Dorneman
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit frustrating, this fifth in the series had some of the best writing and story arcs so far, but also some of the worst conclusions of those arcs. Only four stars for those resolutions, and for arcs broken a little too frequently which made for an at times confusing read. Still, as a major part of the series as a whole, Recommended.
Brian Rogers
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is a hot mess. I'm sorry, but this was always the nadir of the first seven books for me, and the reread didn't change that opinion. You need to know some of what happens here for the last two books to make sense, but it's just... ugh.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Confusing again at various points, but still it was much better than the previous book.
Ruby Ridge
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A definite improvement on the previous one but kinda choppy. Will continua reading but not really thrilled
Claire Blind Reader
Jun 15, 2019 marked it as to-read
Did not finish, the book was fine, but I probably shouldn't have started with the 5th book in. (although the audiobook... the voice acting wasn't the best...)
Andrew Stadler
I enjoyed this book, if we could give half stars this one probably would of earned three and a half. At this point you know if you enjoy the series, and I look forward to the next one
Dan Cummings
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, #5. This started off great, refocusing on the brewing gang war between the Gambione Family and the murky Shadow Fists, including Brennan's on-going vendetta against the head honcho of the latter organization; all of which started to build up steam in #3. So far, so good, but unfortunately, just as things are gearing up and becoming interesting, a variety of tangential storylines start to take centre stage, including, most bizarrely, Cordelia's obsession with promoting a career revival of ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is by far the most complicated Wild Cards book out of the ones I read so far. Aside from the first one, which I usually describe as more of an interrelated short story collection than an actual novel, I could give all other previous entries a brief one to three sentence over view. I don’t even know where to start with this one. The structure of this one is formatted like the second one, as a series of short stories advancing a variety of plotlines. Although, Down and Dirty juggles far more ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of pulp scifi
A lot of people think this is where the series starts to noticeably weaken, but I still liked it a lot. The stories weave around a gang war between the Shadow Fists and the mafia. Some of the characters and situations seemed a bit contrived - a mafia princess working as an assistant DA in NYC, and nobody knows about it? But, that's the sort of thing you put up with when you read pulp. Another issue I have with this book is there wasn't any real transcendence for many of the aces and jokers we've ...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)
  • 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)
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