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Busted Flush Edited by George R. R. Martin

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2009 at 9:11am

The reinvigoration of the Wild Cards franchise, which originally launched in the shared world boom of the 80's, continues. George R. R. Martin, along with some of the series' original creators and a host of talented newcomers, returns to a world of Aces and Jokers in the second book of a new triad, Busted Flush.

If you are a follower of modern superhero comics, Wild Cards will seem familiar: government regulated powered operatives, superhuman ghettos, etc. But be aware that Martin and crew were telling these stories long before Wildstorm's Authority or Marvel's Civil War. Even Grant Morrison's seminal run on The X-Men wouldn't feel out of place in a Wild Cards mosaic.

The Commitee, an arm of the U.N. -- and manned by the former glory-seeking stars of the reality television series American Hero -- is keeping up the good fight by trying to put out the fires of world conflict that result when the Caliphate cuts off oil to the west and freedom fighters begin committing atrocities in Nigeria. Closer to home, with another hurricane bearing down on New Orleans and nuclear fallout in Texas, things don't look much better.

Wild Cards books are more than just anthologies; they are mosaic novels, where the world is shared by the various authors, each often using the characters their fellows have created and weaving the individual chapters into novels. The trilogies, called triads, finish with what Martin calls a "true mosaic" -- Suicide Kings for this round of books -- where the viewpoints will be edited together to form a single continuous narrative, and each author will be responsible for a single viewpoint. This is a form unique to the Wild Cards series, and if you have ever read one, the results are well worth the headaches they must cause Martin, the series' editor.

If you are a long-time reader, some old favourites return in Busted Flush: The Radical, Cameo, Billy Ray. If you're new to the world of Wild Cards, Inside Straight and Busted Flush make for an excellent gateway drug. Read them, and join me in hoping Tor republishes the early adventures, so everyone can enjoy learning how the Wild Cards World came to be.

Categories: Reviews, Staff Pick, SciFi & Fantasy

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