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Aces Abroad

(Wild Cards #4)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,071 ratings  ·  86 reviews
What would our world be like if superhuman heroes and villains had been real flesh-and-blood men and women who lived through the 20th century's most turbulent history? In Wild Cards 4: Aces Abroad, a fact-finding mission seeks the truth about how Wild Cards are treated in other nations. From the jungles of Haiti to the Great Wall of China and behind the Iron Curtain, the W ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by iBooks (first published May 1988)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  2,071 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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ylva a.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
My finger hovered over the fifth star for this one. It really did.

Maybe it’s because I’m writing this review right after finishing the last two stories, and concluding diary entry, all three of which were absolutely phenomenal. I won’t spoil what happens in Melinda Snodgrass’s breathtaking “Mirrors of the Soul”, only say that it contains a scene that I have, quite literally, been waiting for since book 1. And boy was it worth the wait. That story, paired with the amazingly well-done
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Wild Cards has had an interesting journey. Born in obscurity in the 1980s, toiling in that same obscurity for 17 books worth of material over nearly two decades, it got a new lease on life in the 2000s when (I'm assuming) somebody took a look at the nerdy cultural landscape, saw that George R. R. Martin was selling a boatload of books, and, in the theaters, nerd movies with people with superpowers have kind of been cashing in. And so along with a new kind of second generation set of stories laun ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: superheroes
It astounds me that this is one of the least-popular Wild Cards books. As someone who's reading the series from the beginning with absolutely zero knowledge of where things will go, I can say that this is possibly the most satisfying volume I've read yet.

The format is similar to volume two, Aces High. It's an anthology volume, but a tightly-woven anthology volume with a solid overplot. In this case, the two linking stories are written by George RR Martin and Stephen Leigh.The Stephen
In brief: A group of celebrity aces, jokers, and politicians take a world tour to see how the powers and mutations of wild card virus have affected countries other than the U.S. Fourth in a series.

Thoughts: This is this year’s first and hopefully only example of things not to do in fiction—and I’m not just talking about the stuff in my warning below. I also mean the whole premise of the book and the way it was executed in terms of narrative structure. It just totally flopped for me a
Robert Gilson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a re-read. I had originally read this when it first came out in the 80's. This audio book is based on the expanded current edition. Great readers and the new bits were a lot of fun. It gave us a lot more of the Wild Cards world than the previous version.
Craig Childs
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aces Abroad is the strongest mosaic Wild Cards book since the first one. Most of the stories are entirely self-contained with little obvious editorial interference to fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.

“From the Journal of Xavier Desmond” by George R.R. Martin – This is an interstitial framing device inserted between the short stories to tie them together in a novel-like narrative. Xavier is the trunk-nosed joker we last saw as doorman at the Funhouse. Now, much older, he is the unofficial
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was actually moving in places. For a brief overview of the tale up to this point, you can check out book one, book two, or book three, as I reviewed 'em.

In this fourth installment, to try and aim attention to some positive things that the Aces and Jokers of the world can accomplish (especially in light of the gore and disaster of Wild Card Day's 40th anniversary in New York), Tachyon, and a few aces and jokers, a press troupe, and some politicians fly around the world, with
Baal Of
Weakest of the volumes I've read so far. There were sections I liked a lot, and then a couple segments I didn't like at all. I particularly hate Josh McCoy, the new love interest for Peregrine, because he is an abusive asshole. I really want her to kick him to the curb, but one thing that this series contains is people making poor life decisions, just like in real life. The death of Xavier Desmond at the end was handled with grace, and I found it rather moving. The developments around Senator Ha ...more
Claire Gilligan
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
Not as tight as the previous 3 collections, especially in the beginning, but things came together nicely, especially as I realized this was another transition of generations, handing the torch to the next set of jokers and aces.

The idea was brilliant, an opportunity to see the wild card virus in action in so many different countries and the various cultures therein. The combination of these stories was long and enjoyable.

Narration was also not as consistently excellent as
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-series
Reading this book was a bit like riding a roller coaster. There were sections where I savored every word and some I couldn't wait to skip ahead in. One of the weakest volumes in the series so far. Intriguing developments for Senator Hartmann, who wasn't that exciting, to begin with, set him up for the major character ahead. I hope I'll find some deep colorful character ahead.
Molly Cinderella
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I am really glad this series got back to the short story format. This was fantastic! I really liked the interludes from Xavier's journal, and it contained a minimal amount of Fortunato (always a good thing).
Shannon Appelcline
Aces Abroad has never been my favorite Wild Cards book. Somehow its grand idea of a world tour comes off as dull, possibly because it's leaving its familiar plots and settings aside for a visit with other plots and settings that won't really be that important to the future of the series. Surely, this was intended to be a mirror of the first Wild Cards book: a tour of space instead of a tour of time. But that first Wild Cards book introduced so many characters and plots of note that this one, jus ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
After Jokers Wild, I'm glad to see Aces Abroad move on from Fortunato/the Masons (although Fortunato isn't gone for good just yet). After listening to the afterward by George RR Martin, that seems to have been intentional: the first three books were ordered together and made a self contained arc. A similar pattern will continue through the rest of the books.

It's also interesting this time that where we were mostly limited to New York and Jokertown before, now we're getting a look at the rest of the world-
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read, read-a-sff
Aces Abroad follows the second trilogy of the Wild Cards Series. I been interested in this series for months and was happy to finally have a copy of it to read. This follows events happening back in the 1980's in an alterate reality where some people catch a virus that gave them powers, Ace, or deformities, Jokers. This fourth book follows loosely events of the first trilogy, as past events were often mention with past characters. In this story we follow a group of representatives going around t ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Continuing my reread of this series; continuing to be disappointed. I remember these books as one of the defining pillars of high school, but I'm starting to think they may be best left there.

In all fairness, even teenage-me didn't particularly care for this volume, as is proved by the fact that I remember almost none of it. It's an entirely forgettable installment in the series, focusing mostly on characters that we've never seen before and never hear from again. I know it's an atte
Scott Laight
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this up after a quite a break from the first three books in the series and although it took me a while to remember some of the finer details from the first 3, I went on to recall what I love about the series; the gritty, human stories that run through this supernatural world.
Aces Abroad maybe isn't the best effort yet but I thoroughly enjoyed discovering new characters and seeing old ones meet new challenges in far off countries. the are some really fun and sometimes moving stories her
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I think it's pretty safe to say that any fictional work involving super-powered beings will, of necessity, be one that dabbles in alternate versions of reality. Comic books have long traded in such bending and distortion of truth and history - in some instances, readers are presented with a completely unrecognisable fantasy world fuelled by untrammelled imagination; in others, human nature and events remain broadly (and far too often depressingly) the same even after the definition of 'human' ha ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the stories in this volume a great deal. It also went back to the style of Aces High were each story was an individual story tailored to the character but also share facets and bits and pieces of the larger story. The book is four stars.

This audio book edition is only 3 stars because once again they chose to go with multiple readers instead of just one. Thankfully it's one reader per story and not switching readers for dialogue. Though in a book with overlapping characters I liked the
Deckard Ra
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Wild Card novel I have read and I am already in love with this universe. Tales after tales, each set in a foreign country with their own plot twist, will keep you hooked. Be warned though, like everything George R.R. Martin touches, plenty of blood and sex is included in this tome. It is also an alternate history novel dealing with every kid's fantasy: superpowers. Excuse me while I google for Wild Cards fanfiction online.
Tariq Malik
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing adventure in the Wild Cards universe. I'm still surprised there's very little evidence of any space race or space exploration in these stories now that we are in the 80s in this installation. It appears the Challenger disaster didn't occur in this universe. While some tales here were draggy, all offer the tantalizing glimpse at how the Wild Card virus affected the entire world, and not just NYC. Cannot wait to see what happens next.
Stephen Dorneman
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Wild Cards series hits its stride with this volume, with a solid through line (an international diplomatic tour of nat diplomats, aces, and jokers) and various side plots offered and resolved. A little frustrating in that multiple Big Bads are introduced without resolution, but that certainly leaves the reader wanting more. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Glen Longwell
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Rogers
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Another in the series reread, this is middlin because of the usual anthology problems - some of the stories (Xavier Desmond's journal, the story on Sri Lanka) are exceptional, other OK, some poor (the Australia is disconnected and generic to the point of stalling all future reading). It's not the best book of the series, but there is a lot of set up for books 6-7.
Andrew Stadler
Well, this book took me 2 years, 2 months, and 2 weeks to read. So it’s not great. I still enjoyed it though. While expanding the series and characters was enjoyable it was tough just getting a taste of future storylines.
On to the next one
Alabaster Mango
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a good Wild Cards experience. I liked the different ideas about the virus in other countries. Due to the traveling nature of the plot some storylines abruptly ended, and I was left wanting more.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not my favourite. Again, it was very confusing, with boring plots.
Only "From The Journal of Xavier Desmond" - written by G.R.R.M.- saved it.
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad
Trust, Wild Cards
This is a reprint of the original mosaic novel with two new stories added in seamlessly. The main idea is a brain trust of American politicians, journalist, jokers and aces tour the world to see how the world embraces and reacts to the advent of the Wild Card virus. This is the fourth book in the series, and with its worldwide tour you will find that despite all the internal squabble and problems relations between those affected by the Wild
Ruby Ridge
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thoroughly unsatisfying collection of short stories that go absolutely nowhere. WTF was that Australian garbage. Nothing good here - move along
Scott Andrews
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not as good as the previous installments in the series. On to the next one. I actually finished this ages ago and moved on to something else for a while.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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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)
  • 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)