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Literature / One-Eyed Jacks

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Tor Books re-release cover spotlighting the Oddity
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The eighth in the series of the Wild Cards novels, One-Eyed Jacks is the first novel in the "Jumpers" trilogy, aka the Rox Triad. The novel revolves around a group of Wild Cards known as Jumpers, operating out of Ellis Island aka the Rox, who are able to possess people to commit crimes and cause general chaos. The main plot thread follows Jerry Strauss, the Projectionist in his investigation into the Jumpers. Other stories either also involve the Jumpers, barely involve the Jumpers, or are completely unrelated to the main story.

Those stories are:

  • "Nobody's Girl": A recurring story where Jerry Strauss deals with returning to normal society, his love for his brother's wife and the growing Jumper problem.
  • "Luck be a Lady": Dr. Cody Havero discovers how dangerous Jokertown is while looking into a job with Dr. Tachyon.
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  • "Horses": One of The Sleeper's former girlfriends discovers a new side to her sexuality, the horrors of the Jumpers and her brand new Ace ability.
  • "Snow Dragon": Lazy Dragon heads to the Rox on a drug trafficking mission that sees him come face to face with the Jumpers.
  • "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing": Mark Meadows reunites with his ex-wife and faces losing his beloved daughter, Sprout.
  • "Sixteen Candles": The Oddity's bizarre psyche makes for an strange battlefield for a Jumper.
  • "The Devil's Triangle": Blaise becomes a threat to Tachyon and he must make a decision about his Grandson.
  • "Dead Heart Beating": Yeoman's nemesis, Kien, makes a dramatic power play within his gang using Jumper's to take absolute control.

One-Eyed Jacks was re-released in 2018 with two additional stories:

  • "The Tower of Gold and Amber": Magpie plans at heist at a political fundraiser.
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  • "A Broken Thread in a Dark Room": Lady Black investigates someone sucking out the innards of stray animals.

Not to be confused with Marlon Brando movie One-Eyed Jacks.


This book contains the following tropes:

  • Adorkable: Jerry Strauss when he's not being a bitter jerk. Mark Meadows to a certain extent.
  • Author Tract: Like Ace in the Hole, it's very clear what the authors' political opinions are. All the main characters complain about how the 1980s ushered in an age of greater intolerance, and act like George H. W. Bush is the Anti-Christ who will make the country into a despotic hellhole, yet don't name or blame Ronald Reagan specifically for policies that might have contributed to such a state of affairs.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Bloat is the head of the Rox and is the main Big Bad for most of the novel, but near the end Blaise Tachyon becomes a villain in his own right.
  • Bury Your Gays: In a painfully straight version of this trope, Veronica's girlfriend is brutally murdered by the Jumpers, sending Veronica on a revenge trip.
  • Closet Key: Hannah makes Veronica realize she's not attracted to men.
  • Coming-Out Story: Veronica's story is a very by-the-books Coming-Out Story.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Veronica is at least a decent person, just burnt out by the life, and not the right orientation for her clients.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Veronica and Jerry, though the narrative makes it sound like even if she was straight she still wouldn't be attracted to him.
  • Inspirationally Disabled: Sprout, who is adorable back acts half her age.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Veronica.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Mark Meadow's daughter Sprout being taken away from him after he heroically rescues people as Jumping Jack Flash.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sunflower suffers one of these when she realizes Jumping Jack Flash is her ex-husband Mark and she just slept with him. She's not exactly a villain, though.
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