Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad
George R.R. Martin
Tor Books, Jan 13 2015, $15.99
This mostly reprint contains two new tales (in Peru for “Warts and All” by Kevin Andrew Murphy and Carrie Vaughn’s “Always Spring in Prague”) that blend in nicely with the original 1988 publication. The premise focuses on the Wild Cards’ escapades during a UN and WHO sponsored world tour. The key connectors are "The Tint of Hatred" by Stephen Leigh with the return of the Puppetman and “From The Journal Of Xavier Desmond” by that include stopovers in places like Afghanistan. The first official stop of the "Stacked Deck" jet is Haiti where Ti Malice works his “Beasts Of Burden” (by ). In "Blood Rites" by Leanne C. Harper, Mayan psychic twins lead a revolt in Guatemala. Other stops include meeting Nur-Al-Allah and the Gods in “Down By The Nile” by ; Dr. practicing medicine in ’ “The Teardrop Of India”; an encounter in Australia with who lives “Down In The Dreamtime” by ’s “Zero Hour” in which saves a life in Japan. There are also stops in Europe (see “Puppets” by where we encounter in Germany, and M. Snodgrass escorting fans to Versailles’ “Mirrors of the Soul”).
This is an entertaining entry as fans meet influential (in future sagas) new Aces, Jokers and some entities difficult to classify in places around the world while holding up to the test of time even in Soviet Moscow (Michael Cassutt "Legends"). While the superb contributions highlight the Wild Cards world and introduce two major villains, this anthology would have been incredible with more focus on the newbies rather than those we know.