Inside Straight

Inside Straight

by George Martin

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Overview

Montana Slim plays Seven Card Stud in Las Vegas. A player fills a longshot draw to an inside straight and is accused of hand mucking. He responds with uncanny stories which put the other players on tilt, as well as the casino management. A proposition bet and a series of escalating arguments cause an official inquiry involving truth serum, hypnosis and expert interrogation techniques.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940153038940
Publisher: George Martin
Publication date: 05/24/2016
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 979,808
File size: 244 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The author has traveled across America by car and other means numerous times. He has driven trucks and taxicabs, clerked in warehouses and worked as a market analyst. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and is the author of nine books. 1. The Boxcar Dawn. 2. Three Stories; (The Block, a novella. Double Blackmail. The Twins.) 3. Beartooth Gap. 4.The Club. 5. Riptide. 6. RipCurrent. 7. Retail Blue. 8. Inside Straight. 9. Retail Red. 10. Rip Off.

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Inside Straight 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Cauterize on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of Inside Straight as part of the Early Reviewer program. This was my first Wild Cards novel and foray into the world of George R. R. Martin. Apparently, the world was previously struck by the "Wild Card Virus" and it is latent in the body until triggered. When triggered, the virus gives a small percentage superhero powers ("Aces") and another small percentage are given physical mutations ("Jokers"). I felt this book did not give the reader good summary of the world-building; I had to look up the mythology on Wikipedia. I got the impression that it assumes you have read a previous novel from the series. This novel started off with unknown Aces participating on a new reality TV show, American Hero. There are four teams of Aces who live together in a big house à la Big Brother. At the end of each week, they must complete a heroic challenge and the teams who lose must vote one of their teammates off. This reality TV satire was the half of the novel I really enjoyed. The reader follows a few key Aces as they audition, compete in the show and eventually the fallout from being voted off. The authors capture perfectly how people - whether normals or Aces - can lust after infamy on these shows. I do think it was a pitch-perfect spoof that was both witty and insightful.However, the second half of the novel shifts to the Aces fighting an intense battle in Egypt. The Egyptian governmental and religious authorities have decided to launch a full offensive against their Jokers who they accuse of assassinating a religious leader. For various reasons, some of the American Heroes decide to fly over there and protect the Jokers. I felt this part of the novel led to blatant Americana, Ameri-centrism and Imperialism. In it, the story narrates the world sitting powerless on its hands when faced with rampant genocide and only the 'Good Guys' (Americans) will be brave enough to try to stop it.I did not realize until I was 3/4 of the way through the book that the each section was written by different authors and this was an anthology. When I finally comprehended that fact, it made way more sense why the novel was so uneven in tone and viewpoint! There weren't any glaring contradictions between the stories, but I do feel it was obvious that each writer had their own agenda they were pushing in their own stories. In the end, I felt all the writing was pretty solid and each Ace's character was well delineated. If the story had stuck to the reality TV satire, I would have given this book 4 or 4.5 stars. But I do feel that the "Only Americans Can Save the World" subtext in the second half left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
Shijuro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable update of a fun series.The [Wild Cards] series came out in the 1980's, featuring various authors contributing individual short stories that formed an overall composite tale. This book brings the series into the present day, with a fun take on reality TV and a superhero version of middle-eastern conflicts.The basic premise is that an alien ship was destroyed in the mid-1900's releasing a virus that mutates individuals based upon their personality and the thoughts they have while infected. Humans aren't entirely compatible so the virus is fatal in the majority of cases but some come through with fantastic mutations ("jokers"). The ones who gain useful powers are called "aces".This particular book concerns a group of young "aces" coming to grips with a wide variety of abilities while participating in a reality TV project. Each author tells a story from the viewpoint of one of the aces as they deal with artificial crises and personality conflicts. Meanwhile, the Middle East has become increasingly unstable due to the presence of jokers resembling the old gods of Egypt and the activities of some aces.The overall story was interesting, the individual sections were usually fun and the characters were memorable. I was going to say I hope they continue with the series, but apparently another book is already out with more planned for 2010.I received this book in the early-reviewers program but had misplaced it for the better part of a year. I hope that my take is still timely enough to be helpful.
rivkat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah, so this is the volume I missed before the last one I read¿it actually gives the story of how the American Idol-esque American Ace competition produced some actual international heroes/colonial imperialists (depending on your perspective). It¿s a good enough Wild Cards adventure, but it does make clear that the authors know that sending a bunch of Americans and a German (whose Ace is ghost armor and is known, I kid you not, as Crusader) to the Middle East raises a whole lot of problematic issues; they just don¿t care/are on the side of the Americans anyway. I¿m sure the earlier Wild Cards books would give me the same kind of conniptions now if I reread them.
eviltammy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sixty years ago, an alien virus spread a wave of mutations around the globe. Jokers got more visible mutations, aces became more like superheroes. But now the whole thing is a bit more mundane and Hollywood is cashing in reality TV style - a Survivor-type show to choose the newest American Hero. But reality TV gets overtaken by reality, when a couple of the cast-offs and one of the production staff, who has gained new powers, head to Egypt where the assassination of the country's ruler has lead to genocide against the changed.I read a couple of the Wild Card books back when they first came out, but don't really remember them. And it's not really necessary for understanding or enjoying this one - the background is woven into the story, though some of the references to past Wild Cards would be easier to catch if you had read others.This is a shared universe novel, with different parts written by different authors, and woven together into one story. Daniel Abraham's pieces - blog posts written by Jonathan Hive - do an excellent job of anchoring the story, wrapping up chapters and setting up the next parts. I really enjoyed the book - though the switch from Hollywood to Egypt seemed very abrupt, but that may also be because the type of action changes so dramatically - from reality TV challenges to real battles. Not sure I'll go back and read the older books, but I definitely think I'll pick up the new ones.Oh, and as one other reviewer noted, the blurb on the back of the book is for the sequel, not this book.
cshigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was surprised at how good this book was. All the authors do a fantastic job of bringing together all their parts for a very enjoyable, cohesive story. I've never read any superhero fiction outside of comics, but now I'm left wanting to continue the series!
ursa_diana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Engaging and entertaining. This was my first Wild Card novel, so I came into it knowing nothing about the world. I didn't need that prior knowledge, in fact I was totally sucked in to the world through this story and finished it wanting to go and find more of the series.It's a s/f, fantasy world,and sure, on the surface it's about mutant "superheroes", but it's also very character driven and smart.
WorldMaker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a huge interest in shared worlds and Wild Cards is a shared world that I¿ve spent a reasonable amount of time in. Wild Cards is a shared world series that is only a few years younger than I am and at this point encompasses 18 volumes, the shared effort of over a dozen writers and the steady editorship of George R. R. Martin, now perhaps better known for his high fantasy series. The basic premise is a world with super-powers (due to an alien virus referred to as the ¿wild card virus¿). It¿s a (sometimes quite dark) funhouse mirror of our own history, but filled with heroes (¿aces¿), villains, a deformed under-class (¿jokers¿), plague deaths (¿black queens¿), assassinations and alien invasions.The series has some of the seriousness in tone and literacy of the post-Watchmen era of comics, as if perhaps reading novelized excerpts from some post-modern comic canon. As much as it speaks of our own history, it possibly has more to say as what might pass for a broad comics continuity such as Marvel or DC¿s had one been established in the same time period with a copy of Watchmen in hand, smuggled back in time¿This volume serves as a reboot of sorts, hoping to be a conduit to both new and old readers alike. This corresponds with both a new publishing arrangement and an interregnum of several years between it and its predecessors. With my forgetful knowledge of the preceding series I never had a moment where I felt like I needed to reread a previous book or read a book that I may have missed. Certainly there were also a few "mythos" moments where a mention of some previous event sparked a quick "Yeah, I remember that now." I didn't feel like any of those were crucial to the plot.The structural theme of the first half of the book is very smartly the idea of a "American Hero" reality show based upon open auditions for a new generation of aces. The rules of the reality show run parallel to those that contemporary television has beaten into our heads into a relatively standard form. This provides explicit pathos to the goal of seeking a "new generation of aces" with respect to the earlier parts of the series. The familiar reality show rules provide useful space to reiterate and reinterpret the shared world's own rules.
Corbeau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was strange. I haven't tried a book written chapter by chapter by different authors. I found myself absorbed in some chapters and wishing others would be over faster so I could move on to something better. The story was ok, but not great. I thought this was ok, but I don't think I'll be hunting down the rest of the series.
kbuxton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I would have figured out what was going on earlier if I'd read previous Wild Cards books, but at least I now have them to look forward to. This is an odd form of novel in that the chapters are written by many different artists. It ties together remarkably well for that.As for the plot, I'll let you discover most of it yourself, but will just mention that it's as if superheroes were on a reality TV show called American Heroes.
sdobie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first in a new series of books set in the Wild Cards universe where in the 1940's an alien virus transformed a portion of the population into aces with superpowers or into jokers with bizarre physical transformations. In this volume a set of aces are competing on American Hero, a reality show that is trying to create a new celebrity superhero. Some of the aces eliminated early on in the show overcome their depression at being losers by taking up the cause of an attempted genocide of the joker population of Egypt.I had not read any of the previous Wild Card books, but this book was totally understandable without having done so, although there are plenty of references that I am sure would mean more if I had. The book is a little different from most shared-world anthologies in that is structured more as a novel so that each contributer's piece is more of a chapter than a standalone story, with short bits by Daniel Abraham from the viewpoint of Jonathan Hive, an ace who can transform into a swarm of wasps, acting as connectors between a lot of the sections. The structure works well with the characters seeming to act consistently across different authors sections, which is often not true in shared worlds. The story kept me interested with plenty of action, and creative use of the various aces superpowers. I will be interested in reading the follow-up volumes as well as the original Wild Cards series.
wendyrey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first straight SF book I have read in a while , several years I think, as I have been reading mainly fantasy and literary fiction and it was interesting to see where the genre had got while I wasn't watching. in this alternative reality there was contact with an alien spacecraft that resulted in a major virus epidemic that changed some people , developing new skills and bodies - crocodile heads and flying and so on.However this book is much more a mixture of a satire on 'reality ' shows of the 'Big Brother' type and war in the middle east where the 'normals' are out to eliminate the 'Jokers'. Heroism ,self sacrifice and a bit of apparent baddie makes good .It is also written by committee with a number of different authors writing chapters , usually from a different character voice.Does the story work? More or less though it seems an odd mixture. Does the format work? I found the constant change of voice a bit wearing after a few chapters. Stories with 2-4 voices work for me when well written but I think that this is too many voices and perhaps too many hands.Decent enough post-modern SF.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Inside Straight is like a long comic book without the illustrations. To clarify, for me, it was like a long, enjoyable comic book. This was my first Wild Cards novel and I enjoyed it. There are enough pop culture references to help pull you in as a reader and although it was a light read, it still gave some things to think about.There were enough superheroes (or, in Wild Card language, "Aces") around to keep things fun. It barely delved into any past histories, but it didn't really need to do that. There were a handful of characters that would have been better to know a bit more, like King Cobalt and Hardhat for reasons I won't reveal here. Anyway, it's a fun read and recommended for those who liked reading comics when they were younger or for those who like the show Heroes and/or some of the reality elimination shows like Survivor for example.
CUViper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very cool! This was my first entry into the Wild Cards series, and I will definitely check out more. I was worried about having so many different authors involved, but it works very well because they are divided on character viewpoints. This give an enhanced individuality to the players that I really enjoyed.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of the Wild Cards novels is that in the recent past, an alien brought a virus to Earth that created mutations in humans. Jokers are mutations with just bodily changes (sometimes drastic) while Aces are mutations with superhero powers. I would have enjoyed this book more except for the major plot element, which is the American Hero tv show. A American Idol for superheroes? I realize the whole point of the book is to rise above the triviality of the made for TV contest and do something real, which some of the characters do, but it felt too contrived. Considering how many superhero TV shows and movies are out at the moment, too, I think I'm saturated on super powers. Typical of a shared world book, there isn't a lot of character development either.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't be fooled by the cover! Its not a new Star Wars book!Onto the actual book - I used to love the Wild Card series, and then ithe plot line started getting weird, the characters nonsensical, and way too many threads in one story. This book is more the original style, and it holds its own, but doesn't compare to the first books in this series. The book starts well, a reality TV show is being produced that is pitting teams of Aces (superhero's) against each other, team members are voted off, and the world watches. In typical Reality TV, the Aces live together, and are followed by cameras 24-7. In the background, we see the effects of an assassination of the Muslim Caliph, riots, and a massacre in Egypt.Different authors write each segment, from a different characters perspective. This works some of the time, but if you are really into a character, the narrative might not come back. The plot quickly jumps from a reality show, to the war in Egypt, where some of the discarded aces from the show decide to take on the Egyptian Army and the Caliphs army, and become real heroes. I think the Aces fights Religious Group plot has been done in this series, although maybe not quite like this. I guess my biggest complaint is that the Reality TV show plot just kind of fizzled - And that is the whole reason I wanted to read the book!
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