Wild Cards Volume II — Aces High


Published By
First Published
1987 (softcover)
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Aces High is the second volume in the Wild Cards shared universe fiction series edited by George R.R. Martin.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Published in 1987 the second Wild Cards novel dealt with two main plots that linked the stories in the volume: the arrival of the alien Swarm and a Masonic conspiracy led by the villainous Astronomer. In the end, these two storylines connect.

The title "Aces High" comes from the name of a popular and ritzy restaurant of the same name that caters to a clientele consisting largely of Aces — those victims of the Wild Card virus who gain "superpowers" as a result of their exposure — and features in several of the stories, along with its proprietor Hiram Worchester (aka Fatman).

Reprint[edit | edit source]

The Tor reprint was released on the 20th of December 2011.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Stories[edit | edit source]

Aces High contains the following short stories:

Story Author(s) Description
"Pennies From Hell" Lewis Shiner Fortunato continues to investigate the Egyptian Masons, involving museum curator, Eileen Carter. She joins the masons to learn about TIAMAT and has her mind destroyed. Out of compassion, Fortunato stops her heart.
"Jube" George R.R. Martin Introduces Jube the Walrus and gives his backstory about his mission as well as involving him with the important characters in this and the following book.
"Unto the Sixth Generation" Walter Jon Williams Introduces Modular Man and weaves his story into the plot for the next novel.
"Ashes to Ashes" Roger Zelazny Jube hires Croyd Crenson to retrieve Ekkedme’s body from the morgue.
"If Looks Could Kill" Walton Simons James Spector (Demise) gets recruited into the Egyptian Freemasons by Nurse Gresham and the Astronomer.
"Winter's Chill" George R.R. Martin The story revolves around the personal life of the Great and Powerful Turtle.
"Relative Difficulties"" Melinda M. Snodgrass Dr. Tachyon, Tom Tudbury, Asta Lenser, and Mark Meadows are kidnapped by a group of Takisians led by Tachyon’s cousin Zabb.
"With a Little Help From His Friends" Victor Milán Mark Meadows, aka Captain Trips and Dr. Tachyon investigate the murder of Dr. Warner Fred Warren, of which the joker Doughboy is falsely accused.
"By Lost Ways" Pat Cadigan Introduces Jane Dow, Water Lily and chronicles the destruction of the Cloisters.
"Mr. Koyama's Comet" Walter Jon Williams Relates the discovery of the Swarm Mother en route to the Earth.
"Half Past Dead" John J. Miller Yeoman, Fortunato, Mai Minh and Dr. Tachyon attack the Swarm Mother, intent on giving it cancer. Rather than kill it, Mai merged with the Swarm Mother and headed her off into deep space.

The stories "Jube" and "Unto the Sixth Generation" occur as interludes between the other stories; the former throughout the entire book, the latter ending just after "If Looks Could Kill".

Cover Gallery[edit | edit source]

Although the three known Russian HC volumes (1-3) share the cover layouts with the iBooks PB reprint eds. (which re-use the original UK Titan books Brian Bolland cover art), vol. 2 has unique artwork of Yeoman instead of Jube.

Wild Cards Series Novels
Previous Novel
Wild Cards Volume I:

Wild Cards (novel)

Wild Cards Volume II:

Aces High (novel)

Following Novel
Wild Cards Volume III:

Jokers Wild (novel)

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