Inside Straight (Wild Cards Series #18)

( 22 )

Overview

In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent of those who survived mutated into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Martin along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the ...

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Inside Straight (Wild Cards Series #18)

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Overview

In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent of those who survived mutated into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Martin along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes among that one percent.

Originally begun in 1987, long before George R. R. Martin became a household name among fantasy readers ("The American Tolkien" --Time magazine), the Wild Cards series earned a reputation among connoisseurs for its smart reimagining of the superhero idea. Now, with Inside Straight, the Wild Cards continuity jumps forward to a new generation of major characters, entirely accessible to Martin's hundreds of thousands of new readers, with all-original stories by Martin himself, along with Daniel Abraham, Michael Cassutt, and Stephen Leigh, among others.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Since 1987, 17 volumes of the shared-universe Wild Cards series have been published, all based on outgrowths of the same riveting sci-fi scenario: In 1946, an alien virus that reformat human DNA infects the populace of New York City. Ninety percent of those infected die; nine percent become grotesquely mutated; and one percent gain superpowers. Inside Straight thrusts us into the world as it is in 2008, a place where gifted "Aces" vie for reality TV supremacy and others struggle to save the real world. The launch of a new generation of a classic sci-fi collaborative series.
Publishers Weekly

The newest Wild Cards mosaic novel marks a new beginning for the long-running saga. Veteran contributors such as Melinda M. Snodgrass and John Jos. Miller and newcomers like Carrie Vaughn and S.L. Farrell create a new generation of fantastical characters, including Jonathan Hive, who can transform himself into a swarm of wasps, and the six-armed, tattooed giant Drummer Boy. Twenty-eight superhuman "aces" are cast in a new reality show called American Hero. As the contestants compete in staged challenges and systematically get voted off amid Hollywood-fueled melodrama, horrific events in the Middle East bring to light the glaring unreality of reality television. When the show reaches its climactic final episode, some of the contestants decide to forsake the trappings of fame and fortune and become real-life heroes. The first volume of a projected trilogy, this fast-paced and sardonic story will appeal to comic book aficionados and heroic fantasy fans alike. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA
Decades have passed since an alien virus created "wild cards" in the human population: people with mutations that were (for the lucky ones) super powers. Now the many second generations of Aces-those with positive mutations-are not sure what to do with themselves. When salvation comes in the form of the reality television show American Heroes, the country and the world get to watch twenty-eight aces compete to become the next American Hero. Will it be blogger John Hive, who can dissolve himself into wasps? Or six-armed, bad-boy, rock-star Drummer Boy? Or hard-working, hard-swearing Hardhat? Some will win, some will lose, and some will look for meaning in Egypt, dealing with a wild card-related genocide. The eighteenth book in the Wild Cards series is the first to feature the next generation of aces. The first chapter includes a handy recap of history, making this book a good jumping-on point for new readers. Several collaborating authors of this anthology are new to the series; others, such as founder and editor Martin, are still contributing after twenty years of the books. Despite different authors, the individual stories flow into and smoothly build on each other. The new characters, along with a few faces familiar to fans, prove relatable and engaging, and topical elements like reality television and terrorism resonate with day-to-day existence. These injections of freshness should propel the series for at least a few more volumes to follow this welcome return to a rare prose superhero series. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
Library Journal

In 1946, an unknown virus rewrote human DNA, killing 90 percent of those who caught it and leaving the survivors with strange powers or deformities. The lucky ones, called aces, possessed the powers of heroes, while the unfortunate "jokers," embittered and dangerous, turned their back on the rest of the world. That was the first generation of "wild cards." Now, in 2007, a new group of children of the virus have come into their own and the world is theirs for the taking-or destroying. This 18th installment in the long-running "Wild Cards" series launches a new set of heroes and villains, all part of the culture of hip-hop, computers, and cell phones and holding the future in their hands. Nine interconnected stories by Melinda Snodgrass, George R.R. Martin, Michael Cassutt, and other genre authors take the tales of super-heroes in new directions. A good choice for series fans and newcomers, this SciFi Essential Book belongs in most libraries.


—Jackie Cassada
From the Publisher

"The shared-world series known as Wild Cards has had a long and illustrious history of contributors and achievements." --SciFi.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765357120
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Series: Wild Cards Series , #18
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 450,212
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

George R.R. Martin

Edited by George R. R. Martin,
with the assistance of Melinda M. Snodgrass--

--and written by:

Daniel Abraham
Melinda M. Snodgrass
Carrie Vaughan
Michael Cassutt
Caroline Spector
John Jos. Miller
George R. R. Martin
Ian Tregillis
S. L. Farrell

The four volumes (so far) of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, beginning with A Game of Thrones (Bantam, 1996), are among the top-selling fantasy of the last ten years. He lives in New Mexico.

Biography

As a child growing up in New Jersey, George R.R. Martin displayed an early interest in "the writing life" by selling monster stories of his own invention to the children in his Bayonne neighborhood. In high school he became an avid comic book collector and began to write for comic fanzines. He sold his first story to Galaxy in 1970 when he was 21 years old.

Martin received his bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. After graduation he served two years in VISTA, then worked as a teacher and chess tournament director in the Midwest, while continuing to craft award-winning short fiction. His first full-length novel, Dying of the Light, was published in 1977. A dark, lyrical sci-fi tone poem set on a doomed world without a sun, the book was nominated for a Hugo Award.

Throughout the 1980s, Martin worked in television, writing for science fiction- and fantasy-themed shows like The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. At this time he became involved with Wild Cards, a long-running anthology series composed of "mosaic stories" written by multiple authors and set in a shared universe. In addition to editing the series, Martin has contributed stories to the Wild Card books.

In 1996, Martin published A Game of Thrones, the first installment of his magnum opus, the epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice. Set in the Seven Kingdoms, a realm resembling medieval Europe, the internationally bestselling series has provided the ultimate showcase for Martin's formidable world-building and characterization skills.

During the course of his long, prolific career, Martin has accrued every major literary prize for science fiction or fantasy writing, including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, Daedelus, and Locus awards. But what endears him especially to his readers is his extraordinary accessibility. A tireless participant in genre conventions and festivals, he maintains a cordial relationship with his fans through his website and blog. He is also a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Good To Know

Christened George Raymond Martin, the author has this to say about his unusual name: "I arrived short one 'R' but fixed that at my confirmation 13 years later."

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service from 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation.

Martin was class valedictorian of his high school. In 1970, he graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University.

In the mid-1970s, Martin supplemented his income by directing tournaments for the Continental Chess Association.

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Fe, NM
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 20, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bayonne, NJ
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northwestern University, 1970; M.S., Northwestern University, 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ensemble novel by some of the most talented people writing speculative ficton today.

    Since the Wild Card virus struck Earth decades ago, the very nature of our definition of human has had to expand to encompass the Aces, Dueces and Jokers as those who contract the virus are known. Tight plotting, interwoven story lines and an amazing cast of characters.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    thought provoking royal flush

    Although his grandfather will never forgive him as he was part of the age of chivalry before JFK and Jetboy died Jonathan Hive and twenty-seven extraordinary marvelous superheroes (that word is used loosely) sign onto a survivor reality TV show. In actuality, the chosen 28 have never been heroic, but each has a superhuman skill. These ¿aces¿ will initially belong to one of four ¿suits¿ while competing in staged contests as only LA-LA land could dream up with losers voted off the show until the greatest American Hero is left standing. --- However, as the weeks go by those left standing are stunned by appalling sickening events in the Middle East. There inane games look pathetic when compared to those without superpowers risking their lives. Stunningly several including Jonathan whose grandfather is probably smiling, leave the set to become real American Heroes not just Hollywood Heroes even knowing they may die in their endeavor. --- The latest round of the Wild Cards thrillers starts a new saga in which several authors ( Daniel Abraham, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Carrie Vaughan, Michael Cassutt, Caroline Spector, John Jos. Miller, George R. R. Martin, Ian Tregillis and S. L. Farrell) contribute. The well written tale reads smooth (a trademark of the previous entries) in spite of the numerous contributors while satirizing reality TV and world affairs. INSIDE STRAIGHT entertains the audience but also asks readers to ponder two key points. First who is a hero reminds us of Charles Barkley¿s 'I am not a role model. Parents should be the role models¿ in this case soldiers are the heroes. Second that with great power comes greater responsibly beyond ¿Bring em on¿ bravado from a safe house or Hollywood set. This is an excellent exciting and thought provoking royal flush as the whole is greater than the individual parts. --- Harriet Klausner

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