The Astronomer
Biographical Information
Real NameRobert
AliasesThe Astronomer, Lord Amun, Setekh the Destroyer
Wild Card TraitsAstral projection, extra-sensory perception, mind control, power suppression, psionic energy projection, psionic force field, telekinesis, telekinetic flight, telepathy
Social Information
CitizenshipCitizen of the United States, deceased
OccupationCriminal mastermind and cult leader
Base of OperationsNew York City
AffiliationsEgyptian Freemasons
AlliesImp, Kafka, Loophole, Revenant, Demise
First AppearanceAces High
Previous MentionWild Cards
Final AppearanceJokers Wild
CreatorLewis Shiner

The Astronomer is a character from the Wild Cards series of books. He first appeared in the short story "Pennies from Hell" by Lewis Shiner in Aces High, though his presence was earlier implied in "The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato" in the first volume of the series. Leader of a cult known as the Egyptian Freemasons, the Astronomer planned to conquer the world in the aftermath of an invasion by the alien Swarm. Once these plans were foiled, the Astronomer lived only for revenge.


The Astronomer made his first appearance in the 1960s, coming before the Egyptian Freemasons after discovering the Swarm Mother approaching Earth. Marc Balsam, the Mason's leader, determined that the description matched that of TIAMAT, the entity that had been the cornerstone of the Mason's foundation since the group's inception. This revelation saw the Astronomer quickly drawn deep into the Masons and he soon attained a prominent position within their ranks.

The Astronomer's quest for power had him manipulate events to his advantage when in 1979 Fortunato destroyed the Mason's temple in retaliation for a woman that the Astronomer had mind-wiped. The Astronomer led a few loyal followers away from the incident, while leaving Balsam dead in the ruins of the building, thus sealing his leadership of the group. He thought that he could use the Shakti Device to defeat TIAMAT, and the world would come to him in gratitude for delivering them from this evil, and with that goal in mind began to mastermind his own criminal empire.

By May 1986, the Astronomer had killed a number of people to fuel his power, and this again drew Fortunato's attention when one of the slain women turned out to be one of Fortunato's geishas. His years of planning had nearly come to fruition when the Swarm invaded, but when Fortunato discovered his location his plans were dashed. Fortunato led a violent raid against the Cloisters, effectively snuffing out the Egyptian Freemasons in one swift blow. The Astronomer survived the attack and vowed revenge against all who participated in Fortunato's raid. He then began to reassemble other survivors from the group.

The Astronomer took his revenge on the 40th anniversary of Wild Card Day. His plan was to kill all the aces who participated in the Cloisters raid and to steal Dr. Tachyon's ship. His plan had some partial success; The Howler was killed and he personally dismembered Kid Dinosaur in public. Some other Masons shot down the the Turtle, but The Astronomer failed to kill Water Lily at Aces High. To get back at Fortunato, he kidnapped three women he believed to be the pimp's geishas, intent on sacrificing them to recharge his power. This plan fell into disarray when one of them, Cordelia Chaisson, turned out to be a latent ace and her card turned. She fought back and escaped.

The Astronomer then ambushed Fortunato. Both he and Fortunato took to the sky in a final pyrotechnic exchange, which the Astronomer ultimately lost. Drained of most of his energy he fell into the East River. Fortunato let him go, having learned from the Astronomer's unshielded mind that he had planned to save the planet from the Swarm. Demise found him then as he dragged himself out of the river and turned on his former master. Using the last of his strength, the Astronomer attempted to phase through a wall. At the last second however, he locked eyes with Demise and died halfway phased in the wall.

Wild Card TraitsEdit

The Astronomer practices a horrific form of death magic, gaining immense energy through the ritualistic slaying of his victims (usually young women). Once the ritual is completed, he is blessed with a huge energy reserve allowing him to utilize the following powers: astral projection, clairsentience, minor precognition, mind control, the ability to selectively erase memories, flight, invisibility to visual and mental senses, suppression of any wild card power, force fields and minor force walls, telepathy and an assortment of energy blasts. The caveat however, is that he can use just one power at any given time.


The Astronomer is a half-crippled old man (born in 1925), who has thinning white hair, wears glasses and is best described as "mole-like"; he is also noted as having a disproportionately large head, the upper part of which enlarges further when he is fully empowered. His thin, twisted body is usually confined to a wheelchair, although he can get about on his own when sufficiently powered with psychic energy.

As Lord Amun, he appears as a giant man with the head of a ram or jackal and sometimes a colossal erect phallus, holding in his hands the ankh and crooked rod (symbols of life and power). Another avatar is Setekh the Destroyer, a hound the size of a small horse, lean and terribly emaciated, smoke-grey in color with a long, forked, scorpion-like tail carried up over his back.


The Astronomer is a megalomaniac and a psychopath. He takes delight in the use of his powers and the bloodshed necessary to activate them. For one so intelligent (and old) the Astonomer makes frequent use of profanity.


The Astronomer either hangs out in one of the Freemasons hideouts, or a penthouse apartment in the 70's off Central Park. His apartment's décor was subdued with dark wood floors. The main room possessed a sacrificial altar, which he used to gain power with. There was a large skylight over the altar. The altar itself was made of mahogany, had steel manacles at each corner, and a large V-shaped notch at the opposite end.


  • "Magic is a word the ignorant use for power."

Selected ReadingEdit

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