Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)” as Want to Read:
Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Aces High

(Wild Cards #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  4,523 ratings  ·  219 reviews
It all began in 1946, when the bizarre, gene-altering Wild Cards virus was unleashed in the skies over New York City. A virus that created super-powered Aces and bizarre, disfigured Jokers. Now, thirty years later, the victims face a new nightmare.
Paperback, 361 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by iBooks (first published 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Aces High, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Aces High

Watchmen by Alan MooreSoon I Will Be Invincible by Austin GrossmanThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael ChabonBatman by Frank MillerHero by Perry Moore
Superhero Fiction
716 books — 1,142 voters
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin GrossmanHero by Perry MooreWild Cards by George R.R. MartinKingdom of Heroes by Jay  PhillipsSteelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Super Hero Books
269 books — 268 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,523 ratings  ·  219 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddyread with John Goode, John's review here :)

This one had its moments (Croyd, Tachyon, Brennan)but overall, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first volume. Why? Get to that in a minute or so.


We get to see Croyd again... though not nearly enough
New Ace with (view spoiler) ,brief glimpse
Get to know Jube better.
Modular Man was fun and interesting


*Minor spoilers abound, fair warning now*

The Masons, Astronomer, Swarm Mother storyline/plot.
The forme
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
I liked the first volume, and absolutely hated this one. I nearly stopped reading it several times, but cajoled myself into continuing each time because I hoped the next story would be better. It never was.

In short, I hated every character in this anthology except perhaps the Turtle/Tom and Croyd. Their stories were the only ones I read with at least some interest. Fortunato, on the other hand, kept showing up in every other story, and each time he was mentioned I wished he would just disappear
Jul 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1974-2002
Christmas Gift, 1987. Along with a Laser Tag set that drained batteries with a startling quickness. Read this during the winter introduction to the Egyptian Freemasons...Cthulhoid creatures...tantric sex magick...yeah, this little paperback warped me eternally. And, for that, I'm grateful.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leo (Rahien Sorei)
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Eric Mesa
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
As usual for an anthology, I'm going to post my thoughts on each story, but before I get to that, my thoughts on the book as a whole. It was a big change from the previous book and that might be good, bad, or neutral to you. The first book, our introduction to the Wild Cards universe, was basically a series of stories that took place in the same universe and used the same characters (everyone LOVES to play with Croyd) but there wasn't any unifying story outside of Dr. Tachyon coming to terms wit ...more
Baal Of
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoying this series. This volume puts together a slightly tighter story arc than the previous book, with good collaboration between the various authors. There are some new characters introduced, with interesting backgrounds. The Swarm as a primary villain of one of the major arcs is pretty cool, especially the way it adapts continuously to the changing conditions, constantly probing for ways to get established on Earth. The other primary villain, the Astronomer, is very nasty in the ...more
Jeff Harris
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Another solid Wild Cards anthology. The narrator for this books does a nice job of staying consistent with the various characters, which can be the downfall of many good "voices". Some stories were weaker and I thought Fortunato's stories were rather weak. The Great and Powerful Turtle's backstory was wonderful and I thought his journey in this anthology was what made it all worthwhile.
Shannon Appelcline
Fortunato's story of TIAMAT was one of the most obvious dangling loose ends from the original Wild Cards volume, so it's great to see that it was all a setup for this second volume.

However, what's greatest about this volume is how successfully it interweaves multiple short stories to create a ... mosaic (though the book doesn't use that term in its early printings). This was a step beyond what Thieves World had done, creating not just a coherent universe, but also a coherent story.

This second vo
Beth The Vampire
You know what....DNF at 80%

It has been a year since I last picked this up, and it is clear I have no intention of going back. I love the promise of this series, and the first book was pretty good. This one was a flop. The stories were so disjointed, the main antagonist was dealt with by the middle of the book, and none of the characters were captivating.

I may give the series one more chance (and since I already own the third book....)

So I think I may just call it quits here. And get my Slytherin
Michael Caveney
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This was almost as good as the first book, but somewhat dragged fro me because I didn't love the alien invasion subplot. Still, lots of good writing here, well worth your time.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Keeps you hooked all the way through to the end. Seemingly disparate stories all linked together beautifully. Full of adventure.
John Goode
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first Wild Cards book had me hooked because I am a history nut as well as a comic book fan. A book that puts the two together is cheating and there was no way I could escape it's grasp. So when I set out to the second one I was worried that the story itself might not hold my interest.

Man was I wrong on that one.

The true strength of these books, besides their concept, is the way that each character is treated like a main character. Take Jube for example. The walrus joker who sold papers and t
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...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 ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Ben Lund
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty sure that the Wild Card series is my absolute favorite. This is the third time I have read this book and I've loved it every time. The idea of this shared universe with so many colourful characters written about by so many different authors. I can't get enough of it. Tachyon, Captain Trips, The Great and Powerful Turtle. They are all there, and it feels real, (as much as an alternate reality, 1980's can feel). And it's all so seamlessly woven together, thanks to, I'm sure, some heavy ...more
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.
Robert Gilson
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this book when it came out in 1987. Listening to it on Audible was a lot of fun. I had forgotten a lot of it and it brought back many memories. The reader kept my interest and made it feel all new again. Story wise it had more action this time compared to the first book. With the invasion of the Swarm Mother, two encounters with Takisians Dr. Tachyon's people and one arc with Jube, the alien Network spy/scientist this book was all about expanding the Wild Card universe.
Jul 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second volume of Wild Cards opened in 1979, a third of a century after the virus struck and brought Aces and Jokers to Earth. Now they have to defend the Earth from another alien threat, the Swarm. My favorite sections were once again written by Zelazny and Martin.
I am a firm fan of this series which is news to me although there are 23 books so far. Unfortunately, there are no current plans to make audiobooks of the rest of the series, but I'll soldier on with the ebooks.

I recommend it for any comic/graphic novel fan and fantasy/scifi-ers in general.
Jun 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-reading
This original seres is more fun than humans can imagine!
Craig Childs
I was somewhat disappointed in Aces High after Wild Cards I had surpassed my expectations. I enjoyed some of the new characters--especially Dinosaur Kid, Water Lily, and the four new incarnations of Captain Trips--but the overall quality of many of the stories was lacking.

Part of the problem was too many overlapping story lines--an alien invasion of earth, a Takisian succession dispute, a chase after a black hole-powered singularity shifter, and an occult society of Masons trying to call down
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Where Wild Cards introduced the setting and spanned decades dealing with the introduction of the wild card virus and how the world diverged from our own, Aces High feels a lot more focused, dealing primarily with two plot lines: the arrival of an alien 'swarm mother' (a hive mind/bio ship intent on eating planets, as one does) and the Masonic conspiracy we first got a glimpse of in Fortunato's introduction.

The story starts out a bit rough. I don't really care for the Mason/Fortunato's plotline.
Adam Whitehead
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The world has been divided by the wild card virus: the unaffected, the deformed "jokers" and the super-powered "aces". All have their own agendas, some darker than others, but all are threatened by the arrival of the alien Swarm. As Earth comes under concerted attack by the creatures, several of Earth's own alien allies (such as Dr. Tachyon) help lead a defence. But destroying the Swarm Mother may be impossible as a cult of sympathisers leap to her defence...

After the original Wild Cards focused
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the second installment in the Wild Cards universe where an alien virus has caused people to develop superpowers ('aces') or weird and wonderful deformities ('jokers'). The series is written by a collective rather than a single author.

Whilst the first book was all about introducing the universe and some of it's characters, this one tells a more concise story. The Earth is threatened by the Swarm Mother and her Swarm and those with powers need to come together to defeat it.

Like the previ
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Oh man, this book took me a couple tries to get through. It’s inconsistent, unrelentingly weird and gross, and barrels from writer to writer unpredictably with all the changes in style and content that brings. It’s very much a Frankenstein’s monster of a book without a concrete idea of what it truly is. And it’s amazing.

That’s right, I’m giving this book five stars. I just can’t ever hate a “mosaic novel” (their words) about a bunch of people, most with superhuman powers but also some without, s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Darker Mask: Heroes from the Shadows
  • George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards: The Hard Call
  • Nobody Gets the Girl (Whoosh! Bam! Pow!, #1)
  • From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain
  • The Button Man and the Murder Tree
  • Devil's Cape
  • Black and White (The Icarus Project, #1)
  • Masked
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighth Annual Collection
  • Playing for Keeps
  • Villains Inc. (Wearing the Cape, #2)
  • Fever Season (Merovingen Nights, #2)
  • Who Can Save Us Now?: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories
  • It's Superman!
  • Aftermath (Thieves' World, #10)
  • User Friendly
  • The Last Defender of Camelot
  • The Secret World Chronicle
See similar books…
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)
  • 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)
  • Dealer's Choice (Wild Cards, #11)
“It was always the innocent ones you had to watch, Kim Toy thought wryly. Their strength was as the strength of ten because their hearts were pure and their sincerity made them lethal.” 0 likes
More quotes…