The Wild Cards series has been around since 1987, and to date we have published twenty books, with a twenty-first in the pipeline (FORT FREAK) and scheduled for June. Over that span, we have been with four different publishers, the latest being Tor Books. Tor’s “next generation” Wild Card books have done very nicely, thank you, and have brought in a lot of new readers, many of whom are now looking for copies of the earlier books.
Which is where things get complicated. With that long a history, some of the volumes are naturally much harder to find than others. The original twelve-volume run from Bantam can usually be found via ABE.books or ebay at reasonable prices, but the three volume “Card Shark” series that followed, published by Baen Books, is considerably more challenging, especially the third and concluding volume of the triad, BLACK TRUMP. If you do find it, it will likely cost you a lot more than it originally sold for.
That being said, even BLACK TRUMP is easy to find compared to the two hardcover originals published by iBooks when they brought the series back after a seven-year hiatus — DEUCES DOWN, a typical Wild Cards book with stories by various hands, and DEATH DRAWS FIVE, John Jos. Miller’s solo WC novel. DD5 was published only one week before iBooks went bankrupt and closed up shop. As result, to the best of our knowledge, only 600 or so copies ever got into the bookstores. (Was that the total print run, or are there more sitting somewhere in a warehouse? No one seems to know, and there’s no one left at iBooks to ask). In the years since, and especially after Tor and INSIDE STRAIGHT kicked off the second coming, demand for the book has steadily risen, along with its price. It has become the Holy Grail of Wild Cards collectors.
Well, I can’t help those of you who want a copy for your collection — but now at last there is an answer for fans who simply want to READ John’s novel. Brick Tower Publishing acquired many of the assets of iBooks in the bankruptcy, including the rights to both DEUCES DOWN and DEATH DRAWS FIVE, and they have released an ebook version of DD5 for Kindle. You can buy it here http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Cards-Death-Draws-ebook/dp/B003HNNIBA from Amazon… and most likely it can also be found from other Kindle retailers.
(The Kindle release did have some initial problems, as you can see from the Amazon reviews. Defective copies were distributed, which did not open. However, I am reliably informed that these problems have been fixed, so you Kindle folks out there will get a readable copy).
So… those of you who would like to fill in the last gap in your Wild Cards reading, ask Santa for a Kindle this Xmas. Or else wait another decade or so till we get around to reprinting this one. It was volume seventeen in the series, after all, and Tor has just released its reissue of volume one.
And as long I am talking about John Jos. Miller (who used to be John J. Miller in the early days of Wild Cards, but had to change his name so people would stop confusing him with John J. Miller of NATIONAL REVIEW, and John Jackson Miller the comic book writer), I should also plug ACES & JOKERS, the latest supplement for the Wild Cards RPG, which John authored with Steve Kenson for Green Ronin.
ACES & JOKERS is now on sale at your favorite game store, and is also available direct from Green Ronin at their online store: http://www.greenronin.com/store/ A perfect Xmas gift for any gamer / superhero fan.
Oh, and for all John’s fans out there, I should also mention that he’s got a new gig, blogging about bad movies (and occasionally a good one) for a new film blog called Cheese Magnets, where he is part of rotating cast of crazed and masochistic cinefiles. JJM and his fellow Cheese Magnets are brave people. They watch this crap so we don’t have to! But the blogs are a lot of fun, and will tell more than you ever wanted to know about some flicks that truly have to be seen to be believed (but not by me, John knew the job was dangerous when he took it).
You can find Cheese Magnets at http://www.cheese-magnet.com