In the aftermath of WWII, an alien virus struck the Earth, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Originally published in 1987, the newly expanded saga contains additional original stories by eminent writers.
©1986, 2010 George R.R. Martin (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Remembering back to the 80s and what a splash this series made, I had to give the audio treatment a try. Very well done presentation with a large variety of unique character voices.
The story itself is a classic, treating the impact of superhuman (and non-human) characters on the 'real' world. If you aren't familiar with this series, but enjoyed the TV series Heroes, give this a try!
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
I was excited about this book, George R.R. Martin is a great author. The premise for the book is excellent. A virus from outer space attacks Earth, resulting in lots of freaks and some super heroes. For every ten freaks, there is one Ace.
The prologue sets it up well. The first story by Howard Waldrop starts the book out with an exciting story about Jet Boy, the main hero. The next story by Roger Zelazny is really good. Then Walter Jon Williams gets extremely political and the list of nobody authors that follow continue the politics. There are several hours of McCarthyism and black lists. Like the holocaust we need to be reminded of these black parts of our history, so we don't repeat them, but this pretty much killed the series and droned on for hours. Martin comes in with his story and with his brand of sex and realistic horrors tries to bring the series back to interesting. Victor Milan's and Stephen Leigh's stories help, but my mind had already gone numb from the 19 hours of disappointment.
The narrator does nothing to help. I ended up toward the end putting him on fast play and that helped a little. If you have to be put on fast play to be interesting, that is saying something.
I have a soft cover of this book and there are three stories in this expanded version that are not in the soft cover. I also have volumes 2,3 and 5. I will try reading them the old fashioned way instead of listening. Do not be fooled by the amount of books in this series. There are plenty of series out there that are not worth reading.
Loved these books when they came out and was overjoyed they had finally been released as audiobooks. And as a bonus there are some stories in the collection that didn't make it into the book... at least into the UK edition. Definitely worth a listen by anyone who enjoyed the books or later shows like Heroes and Alphas
I decided to give this book a try after reading the reviews and am very pleased I did. It shows a world where an alien virus has infected the population post WWII. I greatly enjoyed the format of jumping POV's and showing how our timeline might have been effected by such an event - something I think was handled quite artfully by the writers.
The "Wildcard Virus" has effected people in several ways ranging from the Aces (superheroes) to the Jokers (those deformed or negatively effected) - and that isn't counting the overwhelming majority of those that get it that simply die horribly. With this in play it effects more than just everyday social interaction, it effects government, entertainment, crime, and quite a few other things in between.
There were characters and storylines I enjoyed more than others (the Sleeper, the Turtle, and the government anylist who can stop time being among my favorites) but all in all it was thoroughly enthralling with a wonderfully narrator to guide the whole thing.
I've read some of the books. It was an experience to hear it brought to life by a voice. Dr Tachyon's voice was not what I imagined but then I never fully read or digested his description in the book. All the characters came to life for me in this work.
Each chapter is a new story. There are several "literary voices" in this work. Each chapter is written by a different author. This very feature lends itself to the idea that each chapter was written by the character most prominently featured in the segment.
His voices weren't as distinctive as some readers I've listened too in past. However his voice had a feel, sound and quality that lent itself to the era where the story began and progressed through.
Super heroism is a disease. Look out "Body Snatchers," we've got one up on you this time.
Some of the segments of this book are not for young listeners. Personaly those stories too heavily focused on sex did not appeal to me as much now as when I read the books. For that reason the Fortunata chapters got skipped. Not that his story wasn't interesting and poiniant I just didn't like them as much as I did in my younger years.
I am an avid lover of books and stories. Audible has provided a great outlet for me to read when otherwise I couldn't. I love dogs.
It would be near the top in terms of anthology. For most of the book, it blended the stories well and managed to link them in a well structured fashion.
To some, the book, on a whole is a wonderful collection fit for a PG-13 audience. But there are excpetions, two stories in particular have dark sexual bent that is out of sync with the rest of the book and can be skipped over with little loss
Possibly the Melinda Snodgrass tale of the Blythe, it shares a sense of intimacy with the characters that is different in style from much of the book, but dives deeply into the character of Blythe and Dr. Tachyon in ways seldom achieved in the book.
These are the stories of your Heroes.
The book's first third is the absolute height of storytelling, it never truly gets bad, but this is short fiction writing at its best. The civil rights elements are well done, and were the story "Strings" to lose the focus on the violent sexual abuse, it would be a bright light into the understanding of the characters, as written the concept was a disturbing distraction from an otherwise intriguing tale.
An alien supervirus mutates a percentage of the population, creating great powers in people (Aces), or grotesque deformities (Jokers), both with no warning, reason or rhyme. Take this concept, and let loose some of science fiction's more imaginative writers to take this framework, and write stories in their own style and direction, and you have a must hear audiobook. Outside of the slow beginning, which sets up this universe, each story is different, yet still manages to tie in common events just enough to provide continuity and flow.
A few specific characters show up in most of the stories, but overall, the stories can stand alone, and actually weave together just enough to move an overall storyline along. My favorite Ace was one that hibernates, and when he awakens, has a different set of powers, good or bad, as well as a different body. There are definitely many others and you'll find your favorite, too. What I found most interesting, was that some characters I first thought were Aces actually were Jokers, and vice versa - Be ready for a few surprises.
If you want elegant prose that trips softly off the tongue, stop here. This is written in the language of the people reflected in each story, so you'll feel that this is almost a recording of the events, allbeit in a very positive way. Some of the writers provide a deep backstory, others build an action-heavy drama. All-in-all, this is a nice mix of writing that you'll enjoy. Do keep in mind that this series is so popular, that a good number of followup books were written in similar fashion. No surprise there.
In a few words, this audiobook is a delight, and if, after you're finished hearing it, quickly buy the second in the series, I wouldn't be surprised in the least. You'll like this one. I know I do.
I'm an old Wild Cards fan. I own all of the books to the series and have loved reading them for years. When I found out that there was an audiobook of book 1 I had to have it and I was not disappointed. Luke Daniels is a great reader of the stories and his voice acting was great. I really enjoyed the new story of Ghost's origin with the Sleeper (Roger Zelazny's immortal character).
My favorite part was Luke's reading of
My favorite scene is where the Radical (Mark Meadows) and the Lizard King (Thomas Marion Douglas / this world version of Jim Morrison of the Doors) team up to fight Hardhat during the 60 counterculture movement.
No. Not because it wasn't good but because it's one of my favorite books and I like to savor it like a fine wine.
If you know of or have been introduced to the Wild Cards shared universe this is a great production of book 1. If you know nothing about it I highly recommend it. It is kind of a Super Hero / Villain in an alternate reality of our world which diverged shortly after WWII into a realistic vision of our world with super powers.
a man on the edge
Excellent beginning to this series. Voice performance is high quality with a vast array of voices.
"A Super Effort"
Listening to this great little anthology I have read in my early 20's. I am glad at last these books are finally being audiobooked.
I found Luke Daniels vocal talents gave each character a voice of their own, male and female.
The new additional stories added a little extra to a great series of stories. Roll on getting the audiobooks for the other novels in the series.
(I can hope the next anthology series from my youth they audiobook would be the Thieves World Anthology. I can dream).
"Loved these as a series"
Good adaptation of the original stories, well read and well paced - the narrator captures the "feel" of the stories very well.
Hope more of the series are to follow (already purchased the 2nd)
"Wild cards a good, gritty story"
Absolutely, like a good movie you wtch twice or three times, a complex saga such as this deserves more than one listen. Characters and story lines intermingling with one anther can become a bit confusing, but this is what i enjoyed about it. Sometimes you just have to go back give it another listen which is fine because you always pick up plots and twists you didn't hear the first time.
I enjoyed Jetboys story, and i liked the fact that despite his abilities he was still mortal and had his limits.
I listened this story while i worked, and often found myself listening and not working. it kept me hooked from start to finish. A couple of laughs, a bit of irritation at the politicians interfering in the four aces story line.
If you are a fan of nightwatchmen you should enjoy this story.
If you didn't already know, George RR Martin's 'Wild Cards' series is a collection of short stories by various authors set in the same world. The standard varies, as you would expect, but for the most part are well written and entertaining. The stories fit together well, even though there is no big overarching plot, and many have you craving to hear more about certain characters.
There's a good mix of heroism, horror and humour in the stories. The highlight for me was probably the Croyd Crenson stories, but I'm sure everyone who listens will find their own favourite characters. There were a few stories that I didn't particularly enjoy, but since it's a short story collection, I didn't have to wait long for the next one.
The style, and storylines very much give the book a 'comic-book' feel. Whether or not that sound like your thing, I recommend giving this a go, for the intelligent way everything has been put together. It's quite different to anything else I've read.
"showing its age"
i didn't manage to finish this book, in fact i asked for a refund. it is a mish mash of short stories by different authors along a central theme and just as you start to get to know the characters it is over and a new writer starts a new story with a different character. its too disjointed for my liking. the style is 1950s pulp fiction which isnt one of my favourite genres.
"Reasoable anthology. Some good, some not so much."
I enjoyed listening to most of this book. My overall enjoyment was about 50% I'd say. Started off really quite well, but as the timeline is linear, all stories relate to a moment in time, usually same or after the previous story, the overall plot, which envelopes the whole idea tarts to wear thin and I wasn't really listening anymore.
So many authors, it's difficult to state and also, I imagine a lot would depend on the editor (None other than Mr Martin himself). Some stories I thought were excellent, others, left me cold. Can't please everyone all the time...
I thought he did an excellent job Charactersation was superb and you never really had to guess who was saying what. One of the best readers out there.
%0% worth listening to, the rest I felt were filler stories.
Enjoyable, but like all short story anthologies, some good, some bad ones. It's all down to what you like.
An amazing twist on a big genre! multiple writers across multiple stories works brilliantly! can't wait for the next ones.
"One minor irritation but otherwise excellent"
Wasn't sure what to expect from the compilation of short stories, but it worked really well. I look forward to the rest of the series.
Very well written, although I didn't detect much difference in writing style between the authors, with the exception of Dr Hunter S Thompson's contribution. It didn't matter though, building up into a very complete picture of an alternative history from a multitude of standpoints, as it affected a large cast of characters.
Excellent narration would have been improved enormously by gaps between scenes and chapters, and if Audibles allowed the naming of chapters in its interface.
"Brilliant: Vigilantes and government taskforces"
Real Superhero Aplication
The Sleeper escape from the wedding
It was great I laughed alot and cringed at other parts
it was brilliant, strongly recomend
narrator good, premise interesting, execution lacking. By maintaining the historical events of the 20th century unchanged regardless of the huge impact that a superman virus would have on said events, I spent half the time thinking, 'well wouldn't x have taken over the world, etc?' so the suspension of disbelief fought with itself. An alien virus that can re write genetic code and break the laws of physics, biology, chemistry, OK, cool. Apparently the same virus has no effect on works/US history? umm, no. I can't get on board with that. narrator was good though.
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