November 9 is going to be a big day for Wild Cards fans.
That’s the day that Tor is going to be releasing not one but two classic hard-to-find Wild Cards novels as reissues. These are not the usual mosaics, but solo novels by two of the mainstays of the series, John Jos. Miller and the late great Victor Milan.
I have already blogged about John’s novel DEATH DRAWS FIVE (take a look downstream if you missed it). Volume seventeen in the overall series, it was initially released by iBooks a week before the company went under, and later made available by Brick Tower Press as a print on demand title. The new Tor hardback will be the first edition to get widespread national distribution. This will be a great chance for all of you who missed DD5 the first time around to fill that hole in your Wild Cards collection. And it’s a helluva ride.
But that’s only half the news. Tor will also be releasing Vic Milan’s much sought after Cap’n Trips novel, TURN OF THE CARDS, as a trade paperback the same day, with a stunning new cover by Michael Komarck.
TURN OF THE CARDS was the twelfth volume in the series, and the last to be released by Bantam Spectra, our original publisher. Our contract was up once Vic delivered the book, and rather than re-up for more volumes, we moved Wild Cards over to Baen Books. (Which proved to be a huge mistake, but that’s a tale for another time. Buy me a margarita at a con some day and maybe you can winkle it out of me).
Unsurprisingly, moving the series to a rival house did not endear us much to the old team, and when TURN finally came out as a mass market paperback, only a month before the first of the Baen volumes, promotion was pretty much non-existent, and sales declined sharply from the previous volume.
Which was a disappointment to all, and a real shame. Vic was one of the stars of Wild Cards, the guy who started the whole thing when he gave me that SuperWorld game, and TURN OF THE CARDS is some of his very best work. Over the years Vic created a dozen characters for us, great and small… but the most memorable and popular of them all was Mark Meadows, a blond bearded scarecrow of a hippie who ran a head shop, wore a purple Uncle Sam suit, and went by the nom de guerre Cap’n Trips. Despite the colorful costume, Trips seemed to have no actual superpowers. Most of the people in Jokertown regarded him as a colorful eccentric rather than an ace. Ah, but Mark was also a genius biochemist who had concocted a number of designer drug cocktails… and he had friends.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (that’s him above, on the cover). Aquarius. Starshine. Moonchild. Cosmic Traveller. Monster. Each with his (or her) own personality, quirks, passions, and powers. And the Radical, the first and the last, who combined the powers of all of them.
Mark and his friends were among the most popular characters in Wild Cards, right from the start.
TURN OF THE CARDS is his novel, a globe-spanning adventure that takes him halfway across the world to Vietnam, with DEA agents, SCARE heroes, and all manner of other aces in hot pursuit.
Like as not, you missed it the first time around. Don’t miss it now.
NOVEMBER 9. From your favorite online bookseller or local brick-and-mortar bookshop.
Current Mood: pleased