Reviews of Wild Cards I (1987)
Review by clong (2005-01-28)
I am a big fan of Martin's, and I think some of his short stories are among the best in the scifi genre, so it seemed like a natural to try out this first book of his (as editor) Wild Card Series. Frankly, I was disappointed.
The premise is that at the end of WWII an alien virus causes random mutations in much of the population of New York City; many die, others are tranformed in disgusting, disfiguring ways, and a few lucky ones are transformed in "good" ways. The stories in this volume, primarily about a variety of people with "good" mutations, are a pretty mixed bag. The Martin and Leigh stories were quite good; a couple of the others were not at all my cup of tea (most especially "The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato," a story about, I kid you not, a pimp turned avenging superhero whose superhuman powers are triggered by a bizarre tantric sexual act performed upon him by one of his girls). Martin's Afterward, explaining how he and a group of his freinds got hooked on a RPG that led to the Wild Cards concept was probably the most interesting part of the book.