Sunday, May 28, 2023

Book Review: Wild Cards - Low Chicago

The stakes were already high enough at Giovanni Galante’s poker table that night in Chicago. Poker. Dealer’s choice. Seven players. A million-dollar cash buy-in. But after a superpowered mishap, the most high-profile criminals in the city are scattered throughout the past and their schemes across time threaten the stability of the world.

Perfect for current fans and new readers alike, Low Chicago is an all-new time travel adventure that highlights the criminal underworld of 1920s Chicago, featuring a fresh cast of characters from the Wild Cards universe.

Co-edited by author George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass, Low Chicago features the writing talents of Saladin Ahmed, Paul Cornell, Marko Kloos, John Jos. Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Christopher Rowe, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and Melinda M. Snodgrass.

Published in 2018 by Tor Books, this is the second of The American Triad and the twenty-fifth overall within the Wild Cards series.

I enjoy some good old time-travel exploits, and this collection of stories delivers on that well. The framing story "A Long Night at the Palmer House" puts all the players in place, then scatters them across time. "Down The Rabbit Hole" drops us then into the 1950's with some very famous figures - and plays into a classic time-travel scenario of altering a very specific key moment in US history (this time in a rather unique manner). "Stripes" focuses on a new joker character named Kahn, who is also featured on Michael Komarck's fantastic cover.

The authors do a good job of tying into past tales in the franchise with little Easter eggs for long-time readers. However, if someone were new to this universe, the stories still stand well on their own as they weave through Chicago history. And, after reading this book, I got a bit more understanding about one of the tales in the most recent book of the series Wild Cards: Pairing Up.

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