content by

Jason Powell

Music-Making Mutants: Rock ‘n’ Roll in George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series

When Wild Cards Volume 1 was first published back in 1987, a reviewer for Locus called the book an episode in “the saga of mutant Americana.” The writer couldn’t have known that the alternate reality depicted in the series would quickly grow in scope, oftentimes taking readers all around the entire mutant globe. Still, they crystallized so succinctly one of the great joys in reading the Wild Cards saga: The way it re-contextualizes the familiar, through a lens of “mutation.”

A favorite example of mine: popular music in the Wild Cards universe.

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Catching Up With George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards

The Wild Cards saga is vast at this point, and may seem like an intimidating fictional milieu to attempt entering. We fans have known for years that a deep dive into the series’ complex continuity is well worth the effort, and the rewards are myriad. Still, a stack of 28 novels (and counting) is surely daunting for even a more-voracious-than-average reader. A few notes might be helpful in removing the intimidation factor inherent to a continuing literary serial comprising more than 10,000 pages, featuring a couple hundred characters, and crafted by more than 40 different authors (collectively known as the Wild Cards consortium).

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