Wild Cards Volume VI — Ace in the Hole


Published By
First Published
1990 (softcover)
Previous Novel
Following Novel

Ace in the Hole is the sixth volume in the Wild Cards shared universe fiction series edited by George R.R. Martin.

Like the third volume in the series (Jokers Wild), this volume uses the format of a mosaic novel, where several writers write individual storylines which were then edited together into one novel length story.


The plot of Ace in the Hole centers on the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Following many years of inadequate recognition and inaction, the plight of the unfortunate victims of the wild card virus, the jokers, now forms a large part of the Democratic campaign.

With this backdrop, numerous aces, jokers and nats converge on Atlanta to support or attempt to kill various candidates, lobby for more specific causes, or just create and revel in chaos.


  • Ace in the Hole and Dead Man’s Hand were originally meant to be released as a single novel, but Bantam Books decided that it would be too large to release as a single paperback.
  • The title Ace in the Hole refers to Hartmann’s secret ace abilities.


Ace in the Hole contains the following stories:

Story Author(s) Description
"Golden Boy’s Story" Walter Jon Williams Golden Boy is intent on getting the nomination for Gregg Hartmann, which means keeping him from harm.
"Gregg Hartmann’s Story" Stephen Leigh Puppetman is cautiously moving himself into position so take over the presidency.
"Mackie Messer’s Story" Victor Milán Mack the Knife loves Hartmann in his own twisted way and will kill anyone he thinks is a problem.
"Sara Morgenstern’s Story" Victor Milán Sara Morgenstern is determined to take down the man who abused her, tossed her away and even murdered her sister.
"Demise’s Story" Walton Simons Demise is in town for a job. Somebody wants Gregg Hartmann dead, and Demise is just the man to do it.
"Dr. Tachyon’s Story" Melinda Snodgrass Dr. Tachyon is with the convention to show that joker’s support Hartmann, but his personal life and history make this another emotional roller-coaster ride for the doctor.

Cover Gallery Edit