Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wild Cards!

I've been sitting on some very cool news for a little while. For the past several weeks I've been corresponding almost daily with a particular mega-bestselling author. We've been talking about whether I might be up for writing for a little series of books he's been editing for, oh, over twenty years now. He asked me to pitch some characters. I did. We batted them back and forth a bit until one in particular took shape. Then a contract came my way. I signed, and I was in! What am I talking about?

Well, the bestselling editor-very-much-in-chief is none other than George RR Martin. He needs no introduction. The ongoing series is Wild Cards, which is the terribly cool sci-fi/comics/alternative history/collaborative project that's been churning out books since 1986's Wild Cards (Volume 1). They have twenty volumes out so far, and hey, there's more to come.

First, go here and take a look at the announcement George just made about the "Fresh Blood" of which I am part.

Back? Okay, cool. Over all those volumes the series has included the work of wonderful writers, too many for me to start naming them here. I'd encourage you to look the series up, though. Even Wikipedia has quite a bit of information on it and on specific characters, of which there are many. Here's part of the intro cribbed from the Wiki page...

The series relates an alternate history of the earth after World War II. In 1946 an alien virus that rewrites human DNA is accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It kills 90% of those who come into contact with it (referred to as 'drawing the Black Queen'). However, 9% mutate into deformed creatures (known as 'Jokers') and the remaining 1% gain superpowers (known as 'Aces'). There is also a class known as 'deuces' - Aces who have acquired useless or ridiculous powers, such as the ability to levitate up to two feet, or to grow bodily hair at will. The airborne virus eventually spreads all over the world, affecting tens of thousands.

It's an inspired combination of traditional comic elements spliced into a rather realistic, and decidedly dark version of our world and of the passions that drive people. The various books over the years have seen a collaborative effort among authors of the consortium, creating mosaic novels, standalone novels, and all sorts of variations, including lots of gaming variations (which is where it all began, really). The series has plumbed the depths of Jokertown and traveled right around the world.

Most of the volumes are out of print at the moment. It would be nice to see more of them back in print, admittedly, but if you're interested in giving the series a try you need not be daunted by all those hard to find volumes. Getting your hands on the first book, Wild Cards, is a good place to start. But so to is jumping in at Inside Straight, part of the newest cycle which is followed by Busted Flush.

What will I be doing in this world? Don't know yet. If I did I wouldn't be able to tell you anyway, but at the moment the future projects are in the furious planning stages. I may be in there somewhere as a writer in a future volume, and my characters may appear in other writer's stories. I can say that everyone - lead by George himself - has a great deal of enthusiasm for pushing the series into the future. I'm thrilled that he invited me in, and I'm really looking forward to how the new books take shape!

By the way... Yes, I have George's email. Yes, we correspond often. But, NO, I'm not going to ask him about A Dance with Dragons for you! You think I'm crazy?

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Blogger Kat Howard said...

Oh, congratulations! This is wonderful news for you, and I'm very excited.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

Whoah! That is AMAZING news!!! I'm so stoked for you. Congrats!!

4:16 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks. I'm very happy about it. You know what's even better? My kids helped me come up with the character that George liked the most! They've got a future in comics, methinks...

4:32 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

Very cool. Maybe this could lead into a run on Green Lantern where you take over the John Stewart character, who always seems to get short shrift, and make him just as bad ass as the rest of the GL Corps (which he is, we just don't get to see it too often).

Back on topic, I have many of the original books, which are available at used book stores if you are determined enough, but I have not even started reading them yet. I'm on a Kathy Reichs kick right now, but I think I'll start on them after I'm done with the book I'm currently reading.

I have the comics of the series, but I haven't read them yet - I've been waiting for the last issue to come out then I'll read them all at once.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

Dude, good company. Mary Anne Mohanraj is a good friend of my wife - they went to college together.

So, looks like I'll be getting at least that run of Wild Cards books when they come out.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Stephe said...

Remember that "out of the mouths of babes" saying? Yeah.

Dooooood... I want some of that water you're drinking. Big congrats! The best part of all, I think, is even more great reading coming our way out here in Fanville (if the anticipation doesn't kill us first).

2:09 AM  
Blogger slkcivil said...

Seriously, my reading list just keeps getting longer and longer!
It's great to know we have LOTS more to look forward to. Congrats!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Aliette de Bodard said...

Wow. Awesome!!

1:20 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Congratulations, David! That is very exciting - I can't wait to see your work (or characters) in future Wild Card volumes. So exciting!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Ronald L. Smith said...

I have never read the Wild Card stuff but I always see mention of it whenever I visit GRRM's blog. This sounds unbelievably cool.


12:20 PM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Congrats, David! That con schmoozing paid off, huh? That and all that hard work of yours.

Can't wait to see it, and definitely let me know when Maya and Sage get around to writing that comic, k?

1:23 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yes. Schmoozing can pay off. ;)

2:15 PM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Why else do you think you're getting a drink out of me in July? But the deal's off if all you can talk about is Martin-this and Martin-that, okay? :P

2:25 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

You mean I've become schmoozeworthy?


2:37 PM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Woah, there cowboy! One thing at at time. Schmoozeworthy? Yeah, you're getting there...

2:57 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Uh... Hey, nice haircut! :)

3:32 PM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Thanks, luv!
It rocks my world (the fashion side of it, anyway).

3:44 PM  
Blogger Dave de Burgh said...

David, that's awesome news! I read some of earlier Wild Cards stuff in Dreamsongs (so, before I read Watchmen) and have been a big fan ever since - even though the latest books haven't made it to SA) and it'll be awesome to see what you'll bring to that universe! :-) Congrats!

2:31 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Dave,

Dreamsongs is where I first came across Wild Card stories too. Didn't know that a year later I'd be involved!

5:37 PM  

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