By now just about everyone on the Western side of the planet must have heard of George R. R. Martin on the back of the hugely successful Game of Thrones TV show and deservedly so! Having read the books over the past several years I’ve been very impressed by how faithful the adaption is in remaining true to it’s source material. Now what some of you may not know is that he has also been involved in editing and contributing to a shared world series of stories collected in a series of volumes called “Wild Cards” which presents an alternate world populated in part by mutants and super- beings.
The books have been out of print for a while but, probably due to the success of GoT, they’re in the process of being republished with volume four due out later this year. To give you a high level summary though: following world war two, an alien with telepathic abilities but who is otherwise genetically similar to humans fails to prevent his people transporting a virus to earth where it is detonated over New York city by war criminals attempting to hold the USA to ransom.
The name of the book comes from the myriad and seemingly random effects of the virus which fall into a number of categories:
1. A minority of those infected develop a range of different super powers as we understand them (telekinesis, flight, super strength etc) and became known collectively as Aces;
2. Some developed powers which were seemingly useless such as the ability to grow hair at will or levitate exactly 2 inches off of the ground and those so gifted were known as Deuces (although as we’ve spoken about before, theres no such thing as a bad power, just a lack of imagination in it’s application);
3. Some of those infected died immediately – often in a pretty nasty and horrible way. Such people were described as having drawn the Black Queen.
4. A lot of people infected developed horrible mutations that inflicted pain and misery upon them (such as a man who grew an elephants trunk instead of a nose, another who grew an insectile hand with blind eyes in it’s palm, someone who became massively sensitive and pained by the slightest touch. These people were known collectively as Jokers and were firmly at the bottom of the social ladder being both reviled and disenfranchised.
The books are a series of short stories penned by various authors set in that world with each contributing to evolve and drive the shared world forward. Its a very interesting take on the Super hero genre and well worth a read if you’re a fan of such comics or George R. R. Martin’s work.
A few of you out there might remember my attempts to get The Big Fantasy Page off the ground last year. Unfortunately I didn’t quite manage to attract the same level of support for it as the main page and it never quite got going. As a matter of fact, I deleted it quite recently after a long period of inactivity. We had considered running special fantasy fiction weekends on the main page but again, despite it being a big interest of mine it didn’t really quite seem like we got the support going for it. That being said, if any of you guys would like to see us tackle books related to comics or inspired by the superhero genre then please let us know and I’ll look into it.
That being said, what do you guys think about superhero books or the recent trend we’ve seen with novelisations of comics being published? Let us know what you think on twitter using #comicbookbooks or drop us a line on here.