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