cover image Low Chicago: A Wild Cards Novel

Low Chicago: A Wild Cards Novel

Edited by George R.R. Martin. Tor, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9056-1

In the upbeat 26th installment (after Mississippi Roll) of the anthology series exploring an alternate history where an alien virus accidentally released in 1946 transforms its survivors into supervillainous jokers, superheroic aces, or a combination thereof, eight authors introduce a new wrinkle: time travel. An accident during a high-stakes poker game leaves many of its participants—including shape-shifting assassin Lilith, half-tiger bodyguard Khan, and power-mimicking Abigail—stranded in various moments in Chicago’s past. It’s up to the immortal John Nighthawk and the fan-favorite Sleeper—currently capable of temporal manipulation—to rescue them before history is irrevocably altered. Every chapter is solidly entertaining; standouts include Saladin Ahmed’s “Meathooks on Ice,” Christopher Rowe’s “The Apotheosis of Todd Taszycki,” and Mary Anne Mohanraj’s “A Beautiful Facade,” all of which allow their protagonists plenty of room for growth and change. Longtime fans will enjoy surprise appearances by previous notables, sometimes in drastically altered circumstances, and this entry also works well as a standalone. It’s a treat for any fan of superhero stories. (June)