Wild Cards Volume V — Down and Dirty


Published By
First Published
1988 (softcover)
Previous Novel
Wild Cards Volume IV: Aces Abroad
Following Novel
Wild Cards Volume VI: Ace in the Hole

Down and Dirty is the fifth volume in the Wild Cards shared universe fiction series edited by George R.R. Martin.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The stories in this volume tell of the events in New York City involving two outbreaks; the outbreak of a gang war between the Mafia and the Shadow Fists gangs controlled by Kien Phuc, a war which soon spills out of control into the streets of New York. Against this backdrop, the second outbreak occurs; the outbreak of a new, mutant strain of wild card virus, courtesy of the ever-shifting powers of the Sleeper, Croyd Crenson in his "Typhoid Croyd" phase.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The stories "Only the Dead Know Jokertown", "All the King's Horses", "Concerto for Siren and Serotonin", and "Blood Ties" are told in recurring chapters which alternate with the other stories throughout the book.
  • An afterword George R.R. Martin penned in 2002, offers an insight into a very troubled production for this Wild Cards volume. Originally the gang war between the Shadow Fists and the Gambiones was to have been the backbone of the plot, but this idea was rejected by Bantam's editor on the basis of overuse elsewhere. The question of whether the plot would take place concurrently with the WHO Tour of the previous book, or after the Stacked Deck returned to New York also sparked disagreement among the writers. The compromise ideas of introducing a new wild card strain and having a chronology overlap satisfied both the publisher and the writers, but this proved to be problematic when the various manuscripts were compiled, and needed to be extensively reworked in order to build a story.

Stories[edit | edit source]

Down and Dirty contains the following stories:

Story Author(s) Description
Only the Dead Know Jokertown John J. Miller Yeoman infiltrates Kien's gang as things heat up in New York's underworld.
All the King's Horses George R.R. Martin The Great and Powerful Turtle must find a way to get back into his shell.
Concerto for Siren and Serotonin Roger Zelazny The Sleeper is hired by the Mob to do a few "special" hits, but is unaware of his contagion.
Breakdown Leanne C. Harper Mafia princess turned district attorney Rosemary Muldoon gets Bagabond and Sewer Jack unwillingly involved in the growing gang war.
Jesus Was an Ace Arthur Byron Cover Reverend Leo Barnett saves Quasiman's life.
Blood Ties Melinda M. Snodgrass Dr. Tachyon helps Jokertown prepare to defend itself during the gang war.
The Second Coming of Buddy Holly Edward Bryant An Aids-Wild Card awareness concert may bring rocker Buddy Holley -- who is still alive in this universe -- out of retirement, and will change his life more than he knows.
The Hue of a Mind Stephen Leigh An Arab woman with precognition sees the secrets of Puppetman.
Addicted to Love Pat Cadigan The parasitic Ti Malice has come to New York, looking for new "mounts" to live through.
Takedown Leanne C. Harper The Mob turns against Rosemary as the war goes against them.
Mortality Walter Jon Williams Being killed once has given Modular Man a fear of Death that propels his efforts to hunt down The Sleeper.

Cover Gallery[edit | edit source]

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