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Tor Books re-release cover spotlighting Jetboy
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The first volume in the Wild Cards shared universe fiction series edited by George R. R. Martin. It was published in 1987 and contains several short stories establishing the Wild Cards universe, introducing the main characters, and setting up plot threads that continue to play out over the course of the rest of the series.

The stories that make up this book are:

  • Prologue: Introduces Dr. Tachyon, the virus and its effects.
  • Thirty Minutes Over Broadway: Introduces Jetboy and his efforts to stop the release of the virus.
  • The Sleeper: Introduces Croyd Crenson and our first look into a world with Wild Cards.
  • Witness: The rise and fall of the Four Aces in McCarthy era America.
  • Degradation Rites: Dr. Tachyon's doomed romance with Blythe van Renssaeler.
  • Shell Games: Thomas Tubury discovers his ace abilities and become the Great and Powerful Turtle.
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  • The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato: Fortunato, a high class pimp with powerful ace abilities, discovers the first signs of a Masonic conspiracy.
  • Transfigurations: Wimpy Mark Meadows takes a trip into the hippie world and discovers his unique ace abilities.
  • Down Deep: Introduces several characters in the sewers of New York and gives a glimpse into the mafia's machinations.
  • Strings: Introduces Puppetman and Gimli at a joker political rally gone wrong.
  • Comes a Hunter: Introduces Yeoman and Chrysalis and shows the gang presence in Jokertown.
  • Epilogue: A young boy discovers his ace power.

A revised edition was released in 2010, and included three new stories. "Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace" explores jokers and aces in Hollywood in the '50's; "Powers" puts a different spin on the Cold War and the U-2 spy plane controversy; and "Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan" is an "introduction" to Wraith as she discovers the extent of her ability in one wild night.

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