Alan's Reviews > Fort Freak

Fort Freak by George R.R. Martin
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May 02, 2012

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Read from May 02 to 19, 2012

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 entirely in New York. Jokertown is the section of the city occupied primarily by Jokers (those the Wild Card virus deformed, or deformed and gave minor powers to). Jokertown's police station is nicknamed Fort Freak.

Whereas previous volumes in a like setting maintained a steady story flow this one feels more like a novel that has fits and starts. Arguably Cherie Priest's The Rat Race is used as a framing device. We follow the last few months of detective Leo Sotrgman, Ramshead, career before a forced retirment (the virus made him grow ram's horns), and the events that lead him to look into a 30+ year old cold case. As we go month to month we follow his steady working through leads to find the real killer.

Out of the new writers recruited to the series Dr. Who screenwriter Paul Cornell's More is the best entry mixing action and humor with well paced writing. Priest's story would have worked better if told by itself, and the months could have been used as chapter headings.

If anything the book's editor (be it Martin or Tor Publishing) should have kept the stories by themselves, and this would have been a better book and stronger entry in the series.
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