Wild Cards Volume III — Jokers Wild


Published By
First Published
1987 (softcover)
Previous Novel
Following Novel

Jokers Wild is the third volume in the Wild Cards shared universe fiction series edited by George R.R. Martin.

Unlike the previous two volumes in the series (Wild Cards and Aces High), 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.

Jokers Wild set a pattern for most of the rest of the Wild Cards series. After a couple of books where the stories were fairly self-contained, the writers would work on a mosaic novel that would tie everything together and set the stage for the next group of books.


The action of Jokers Wild takes place on September 15, 1986, the fortieth anniversary of the release of Xenovirus Takis-A, the so-called wild card virus. The anniversary of this event is observed as Wild Card Day and celebrated or cursed depending upon each individual victim's reaction to the virus.

This particular Wild Card Day sees the aces of New York City stalked by the evil Astronomer, whose plans had been defeated in the previous volume. Determined to get revenge on all the aces who beat him, and Fortunato in particular, he and his minions Demise and Roulette stalk and kill several characters throughout the course of the book.

The characters and action of the novel crossed over from storyline to storyline and many of the main characters also appeared in the plots of the others. In addition, a cast of minor characters, some of whom would later star in their own mosaic novels or short stories, made appearances.


  • Within the Wild Cards universe, there is also a performance club called Jokers Wild (which exists in a portable pocket universe), known for the dangerous and cruel nature of its acts, and sometimes for involuntary audience participation. The name of this club has no relation to the novel.



Jokers Wild features the following characters as the main focus of the various storylines::

Character Author Description
"Suzanne Melotti (Bagabond)" Leanne C. Harper Bagabond is stretched between helping Jack search for his niece and helping Rosemary with her family troubles.
"Fortunato" Lewis Shiner Fortunato tries to halt the mad schemes of the Astronomer.
"Jennifer Maloy (Wraith)" John J. Miller Wraith steals a valuable ledger from a wealthy businessman and finds herself on the run from the criminal underworld as a result.
"Jack Robicheaux (Sewer Jack)" Edward Bryant Sewer Jack tries in vain to find his missing niece, but is drawn into the scramble to find the stolen ledger.
"Roulette Brown-Roxbury" Melinda M. Snodgrass Roulette seeks revenge against Dr. Tachyon.
"James Spector (Demise)" Walton Simons Demise attempts to break free of the Astronomer's grasp finds numerous targets of opportunity in the growing conflict between warring elements of the criminal underworld.
"Hiram Worchester" George R.R. Martin Hiram prepares for his exclusive annual dinner at Aces High, and finds himself facing off against the criminal underworld.

Cover Gallery Edit

Wild Cards Series
Previous Novel
Wild Cards Volume II:

Aces High (novel)

Wild Cards Volume III:
Jokers Wild (novel)
Next Novel
Wild Cards Volume IV:

Aces Abroad (novel)

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.