In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed 90 percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived to mutate into "jokers," tragically deformed creatures. One percent, the "aces," gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R.R. Martin, along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes and villians among that 1percent.
Now a new generation has come of age, a generation born into the world of the wild card. Aces are just movie stars to them, and jokers are as commonplace as the poor. They are the computer kids, the hip-hop generation, new aces for the new millennium. They know the world needs saving, and they're the ones to do it. The old heroes messed it up. Now it's the new kids' turn.
In 2008, the highest-rated show on TV is American Hero, which pits twenty-one young aces against one another in a series of tasks and stunts. Among the judges is Peregrine, whose production company created the show. Her son, John Fortune, works as an assistant on the set and mourns for the ace powers he lost when his father cleansed the virus from his system... until Osiris of the Living Gods tells him that perhaps that door is not forever closed.
For outside the studio, the world is in dire need of heroes. Within a shockingly short time, John Fortune will be reborn to a new state of being and will lead the new generation of aces from the soundstages of Hollywood to a climactic confrontation in Egypt, at the side of the Living Gods.
Originally begun in 1987, long before George R.R. Martin become a household name among fantasy readers ("The American Tolkien" —Time magazine), the Wild Cards series earned a reputation among connoisseurs for its smart reimagining of the superhero idea. Now, with Inside Straight, the Wild Cards continuity jumps forward to a new era...
"Delicious... Everything I'd hoped for in a new Wild Cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I'd expect out of a George R.R. Martin project." —Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible