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Victor Milan

Victor Woodward Milán is an American writer known for libertarian science fiction and an interest in cybernetics. In 1986 he won the Prometheus Award for Cybernetic Samurai. He has also written several shared universe works for the Forgotten Realms, Star Trek, and Wild Cards Universes. He has also written books under the pseudonyms Richard Austin (Jove Books The Guardians series), Robert Baron (Jove Books Stormrider series), and S. L. Hunter (Steele series with Simon Hawke, who used the pen name J. D. Masters). He also wrote at least 9 novels under the “house name” of James Axler for the Harlequin Press/Gold Eagle Books Deathlands series & Outlanders series.

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The Dinosaur Lords: Even dinosaurs can’t fully save it

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The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

It takes no effort at all to imagine what the “elevator mash-up pitch” for Victor Milán’s The Dinosaur Lords was: “It’s Jurassic Park meets Game of Thrones!”  And darned if that wholly predictable selling phrase isn’t the main blurb (provided by none other than George R.R. Martin himself) sitting right above the title of my copy. And herein lie two of the problems with The Dinosaur Lords. One is that, like that mash-up blurb, there are no surprises awaiting the reader here; it’s pretty much same old same old European medieval historical fantasy with the usual smidgeon of magic. And two is that it rises nowhere near the level of either of its metaphorical parents (and ye... Read More

The Dinosaur Knight: Dinosaurs weren’t enough (somehow)

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The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milan

I’m always a bit iffy about reading a second book in a series whose first book I didn’t much care for, but I guess it’s the optimist in me that overrules my better judgment. Optimism, and the fact that while rare, occasionally the second book does reward that optimism. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Victor Milan’s The Dinosaur Knights (2016). As I noted in the review of book one, The Dinosaur Lords, the pitch for the series is simple: Game of Thrones meets Jurassic Park. Simple and oh-so-alluring. Knights riding dinosaurs — what could possibly ruin that concept? Sadly, as also noted in that review, it turned out s... Read More

Aces High: There’s always something fresh and new in WILD CARDS

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Aces High edited by George R.R. Martin

Aces High is the second volume of George R.R. Martin’s long-running WILD CARDS anthology. In the first volume, Wild Cards, we learned how aliens from the planet Takis decided to test their new virus by using humans as their guinea pigs. In the 1960s, they let loose what has now become known as the Wild Card virus on Manhattan. Much of the world population died and many of the survivors became grossly deformed and are now referred to as “Jokers.” A much smaller proportion of those who were infected gained one or more superpowers and are now known as “Aces.” In Wild Cards, we followed several Aces and Jokers as they dealt not only with their new status in life, but also with the social and political events of the 1960s.

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Aces Abroad: Aces and Jokers tour the world

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Aces Abroad edited by George R.R. Martin

Aces Abroad is the fourth WILD CARDS anthology edited by George R.R. Martin. It was originally published in 1988, released in a new print edition by Tor in 2015, and released in audio format by Random House Audio in March 2016. It would be best to read the previous volumes (Wild Cards, Aces High, Jokers Wild) first, not only because they introduce the most important characters and provide a lot of background information that you’ll need to fully appreciate Aces Abroad, but also because those first three books are more entertaining than this one is and represent the series better, I think.

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Ace in the Hole: WILD CARDS gets back on track

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Ace in the Hole edited by George R.R. Martin

Ace in the Hole (1990), the sixth WILD CARDS mosaic novel, is a vast improvement over the last two novels (Aces Abroad and Down and Dirty). Down and Dirty, especially, lacked cohesion due to George R.R. Martin’s lack of editorial control over his authors, something he laments in that book’s afterword. I suspect the experience was a good lesson because he’s fixed the issue in Ace in the Hole. You’d never know the story was written by several different authors ( Read More

Busted Flush: Not very satisfying

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Busted Flush edited by George R.R. Martin

Busted Flush is the nineteenth entry in the Wild Cards series of mosaic novels edited by George R.R. Martin. The previous book, Inside Straight is something of a new beginning for the series, a new trilogy with new characters and a couple of new writers. It's a good point to get started. Unfortunately Busted Flush falls a bit short of the standard set in the first book of the Committee trilogy.

The story picks up some time after the events in Inside Straight. The UN secretary-general has snapped up the new American heroes after their dramatic performance in Egypt and formed the Committee — a group of Aces dealing with everything from genocide to natural disasters.There is plenty of work; our heroes are spread thin. In fact, the cracks in their organis... Read More

Suicide Kings: Surprising depth

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Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin

Suicide Kings is the third part in the latest reincarnation of the long-running WILD CARDS series. Together with Inside Straight and Busted Flush it forms the Committee trilogy. I guess you could consider this trilogy WILD CARDS the next generation. These books are meant to be an entry point for new readers. Like most of the previous novels, Suicide Kings is a collaborative effort. This volume is written by six authors — Daniel Abraham, S.L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Read More

Fort Freak: A WILD CARDS novel that can be read as a stand-alone

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Fort Freak by George R.R. Martin

Fort Freak is the twenty-first entry in the WILD CARDS universe, a long running series of mosaic novels edited by George R.R. Martin. It is not necessary to have read the previous twenty volumes to read this one; Fort Freak works fine as a standalone. There are numerous references to earlier books and cameos by characters that starred in them, but nothing that makes it absolutely necessary to have read earlier volumes. That is probably a good thing. The WILD CARDS series is currently published by Tor, the fourth publisher to take on this series. Some of the older volumes are pretty hard to find these days. The original WILD CARDS novel (1987) has been reprinted by Tor recently, with a number o... Read More