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Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)
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Book Discussions > Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 07, 2016 03:54PM) (new)

Our group's chosen short story read & discussion for June is the multi-author anthology:


Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1) by George R.R. Martin   Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

The Stories in Wild Cards #1:


Prologue (Wild Cards I) by George R.R. Martin
"Thirty Minutes Over Broadway!" by Howard Waldrop
"The Sleeper" by Roger Zelazny
"Witness" by Walter Jon Williams
"Degradation Rites" by Melinda M. Snodgrass
Interlude 1 by George R.R. Martin
"Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace" by Michael Cassutt (*2010*)
"Powers" by David D. Levine (*2010*)
"Shell Games" by George R.R. Martin
Interlude 2 by George R.R. Martin
"The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato" by Lewis Shiner
"Transfigurations" by Victor Milán
Interlude 3 by George R.R. Martin
"Down Deep" by Edward Bryant and Leanne C. Harper
Interlude 4 by George R.R. Martin
"Strings" by Stephen Leigh
Interlude 5 by George R.R. Martin
"Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan" by Carrie Vaughn (*2010*)
"Comes a Hunter" by John J. Miller
"Epilogue: Third Generation" by Lewis Shiner
"The Science of the Wild Card Virus: Excerpts from the Literature" by Victor Milán


Three stories were added in the 2010 "expanded" edition: "Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace", "Powers", and "Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan". Kind of odd to start adding stories to the then 20-year-old collection. I guess that's where they fit chronologically?


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

if ya got a kindle, Wild Cards I is $5.99 in the kindle store, and sure to be at your normal dead-tree book store, and i bet its at the local library. :)


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2052 comments Very odd to add stories so long after, but the Wild Card series was quite the rage & some of the best in the business have written for it. From some of the forewords, they had a lot of fun doing so, too. Con parties were fertile ground as were bull sessions.

Wikipedia has quick outline of the series here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Cards


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 11, 2013 07:30AM) (new)

Jim wrote: "some of the best in the business have written for it...."

In the first book, the only established "big name" at the time it was written (1986) seems to be Roger Zelazny, though today George R.R. Martin & Walter Jon Williams have also had hit series, and Carrie Vaughn, whose story was added to the book in 2010, is well known to both short story fans and urban fantasy fans.

PS It was a real pleasure to read a "new to me" story by Zelazny again.


message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2052 comments I thought Waldrop & Snodgrass were well known back then. I'd certainly been reading Martin's stuff, too. I know he's hit super star status now, be he was well known & respected back then, too. I read Fevre Dream back in the early 80's & another one or two by him.


message 7: by Evgeny (new)

Evgeny G33z3r wrote: "Jim wrote: "some of the best in the business have written for it...."

In the first book, the only established "big name" at the time it was written (1986) seems to be Roger Zelazny, though today G..."


I really did not have any intention of reading this book until you mentioned Zelazny. Now I REALLY want to read it if only just for his short story.


message 8: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2052 comments Zelazny is my favorite author of all time. I've only started one group on GR, the Roger Zelazny group. He created one of the most interesting aces of them all, Croyd, although I have to say that Captain Trips gets the most chuckles out of me.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started reading...im about 50 pages in and having a BLAST!!


message 10: by jaw (new) - rated it 4 stars

jaw | 12 comments Loved The Sleeper! That was the best one so far. I'm only on the one after that, I think.


message 11: by jaw (new) - rated it 4 stars

jaw | 12 comments Just started "Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan", and just got the part where the author mentions Sonic Youth at CBGBs in the story. Awesome! Sonic Youth is just about my favorite band and I love hearing them mentioned anywhere.

Also, GRRM does a pretty good Hunter S. Thompson. I think that interlude was my second favorite part, after "The Sleeper".


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm barely halfway through, but I wanted to say I really enjoyed the old-time flashback. In addition to some of the major plot elements taken from the time period (such as the HUAC/McCarthy hearings), there are so many cute little references to the period, such as waiting for a radio to warm up, adjusting the vertical hold on the TV, and even a reference to Pinky Lee (I fondly remember his kids show!).

It's interesting that each story bumps the calendar a few years (I've worked my way up to the LBJ presidency.)


message 13: by jaw (new) - rated it 4 stars

jaw | 12 comments I like the little flashbacks too. And all the little hints at US History - watergate, kent state, etc. I thought those were great touches.

I also really liked how the side characters are mentioned throughout the book. Characters like C.C. and the lizard king (I've forgotten his name). The same goes for the main characters like Fortunato and Croyd. It's like you're in the know.

It very much reminds me of Faulkner and yoknapatawpha county. Where you read one novel that mentions a character and then another novel that focuses on that character. I love that kind of interconnectivity.


message 14: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill | 1 comments Jim wrote: "Zelazny is my favorite author of all time. I've only started one group on GR, the Roger Zelazny group. He created one of the most interesting aces of them all, Croyd, although I have to say that ..."

I'm continually amazed that more people don't seem to have read/revere Zelazny.


message 15: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2052 comments Bill, his writing seems to bewilder many people. They just don't get half his allusions, thus lose much of the meat of his stories. Others can't stand the way he plays with format, such as in Roadmarks or Doorways in the Sand. Well, it takes all kinds. His writing just tickles me.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished up the book last night. (Something about reading short stories, every time I finish one, but feel like doing something else... other than reading the next story. So it takes me a little longer to read through them.)

I like the general structure of the series, with each story taking place a few years beyond the previous story. I was also impressed by how they were able to maintain consistency between the secondary characters and altered history. Must've been some interesting story conferences.

I did think a couple of the stories in the middle dragged a bit. Didn't care for "Down Deep" at all. But it did finish very strong with "Strings", "Ghost Girl", and "Hunter". (The last two, however, didn't seem bound is tightly to the timestream as the predecessors.)

Now I have to think about which I like the best...


Kevin (khardman) | 20 comments I loved the Wild Card books. I thought the stories got a little off-center towards the middle of the series, but were still a good read. Unfortunately, I haven't read any of the new Wild Card books yet.

As to Zelazny, the Sleeper has always been one of my favorite Wild card characters.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I'd meant to come back and talk about some of my favorite stories in this collection. So easily distracted...

"The Sleeper" was a lot of fun, mostly because Croyd is such an interesting character, basically decent guy who doesn't let things like the law and ownership get in the way.

"Witness" was among my favorites, partially for the politics. It does an interesting job introducing the Four Aces and then tearing them apart all in one story.

"Powers" was notable mostly because it was the only real straight adventure story in the collection. I also like the way it coyly gave a title that suggested one thing in the context of Wild Cards, but was actually a reference to the actual historical Francis Gary Powers.

"Strings", another one that's interesting at least as much for the politics as the story, and I like the way it used several of the other wildcards as secondary characters.

"Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan" was enjoyable for the title character, such a kind and earnest young lady to have the bad luck (or maybe good fortune) to fall in with Croyd. (At first I thought it was odd for Carrie Vaughn to appropriate Zelazny's character so completely, but then I realized this was one of the 2010 additions, so the original author wasn't going to do anything with the character himself.)

"Comes a Hunter" is another relatively straightforward adventure story, timeframe only vaguely established as post-Vietnam.


message 19: by Bev (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bev (greenginger) | 116 comments Just managed to get hold of a cheap kindle copy so hope to comment soon.


message 20: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 429 comments I have yet to try any of the wild card stories yet but plan on checking them out soon. On Tor.com there are 5 wild card stories free to read online (some at least are new) as well as all sorts of author interviews and other materials. Here is the link to the stories http://www.tor.com/tags/wild%20cards/...


message 21: by Rose (new)

Rose | 201 comments If anyone was planning on reading this but hadn't gotten around to getting it (like me), the kindle version is currently only $3.33 on Amazon.com and only $2.99 on Amazon.ca


message 22: by Kathy (new) - added it

Kathy (sunscour) I once refused to read these, I was angry that Mr. Martin wasn't working on Game of Thrones. I actually like the Wildcard series better!


message 23: by Murray (new)

Murray Lindsay | 51 comments Ah, "Wild Cards". The good old "pre-Thrones" days when Mr. Martin was a good writer and a definite attention-getter for me on book shelves.


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