I am, of course, prejudiced, since I edited the thing, but I think INSIDE STRAIGHT is one of the stronger volumes in the series. This is sort of "Wild Cards - the New Generation," since a lot of our original cast of characters were getting a little long in the tooth. (Unlike the heroes of the Marvel and DC universe, the Wild Cards characters live in real time, and aside from Golden Boy and Dr. Tachyon and a few others, they age). A few of the older, established characters will appear in INSIDE STRAIGHT, some in major roles and some just as cameos or even just mentions-in-passing, but mostly this book will belong to the new kids on the block -- Bugsy, Lohengrin, Curveball, Earth Witch, Bubbles, Rustbelt, Lilith, Drummer Boy, and a whole bunch more. I can't wait for you guys to meet them. I think our old Wild Cards readers will find them worthy successors to Tachyon and the Turtle and Fortunato and Yeoman and the rest of our first generations stars... and I hope our new readers will like them enough to go out and hunt up some of the old books on ABE.
INSIDE STRAIGHT will also mark the Wild Cards debuts of some terrific new writers. Caroline Spector, Carrie Vaughn, and Ian Tregillis will all be joining the madness, and I think you'll like their stuff. I do. "The Tin Man's Lament," Ian's story in INSIDE STRAIGHT, is his first professional sale, but I promise you, it won't be his last. I expect to see his name turning up on the Campbell Awards ballot in a couple of years.
And of course a bunch of our regulars will also be on hand, albeit with new characters. One of the best things about the Wild Cards series is the opportunity it gives me to work with so many talented writers, some big names, some just starting out. Writing for something like Wild Cards is a bit like being in a band, as opposed to doing a solo act. Unlike musicians, we writers play solo the vast majority of the time, so it's huge fun to have the chance to jam with other people now and again... and what comes out of those jam sessions is often wild and wonderful, and quite different from anything any one member of the band could have come up with on his or her own.
Oh, and I've just seen the cover for INSIDE STRAIGHT as well. The art is by Michael Komarck, and it's spectacular. I think this is the best cover we've ever had on a Wild Cards book. Yes, even better than the six Brian Bolland covers that adorned the Titan editions in England, and I loved those so much that I bought five of the originals and hung them on my wall. Komarck is a real comer as an artist, I think. In a few years, I think you'll be seeing his name on Hugo ballots, if there is any justice (of course, there ISN'T any justice, or else Alan Lee and John Howe would both have Hugos, but that's a discussion for another day).
I should also mention that, although I won't be at this year's San Diego Comicon, the Wild Cards series will be represented. WC writers Kevin Andrew Murphy and Carrie Vaughn will be there, participating, and Tor will be doing a special INSIDE STRAIGHT promotion, so be sure and visit their booth in the exhibit hall.
And yeah, yeah, I know this post will probably infuriate those "fans" of mine who would prefer that I work on A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE all day, every day, to the exclusion of everything else... but I've grown used to that by now. Sorry, guys. I'm working on DANCE, as I've reported, but I have other projects too, and that's going to continue to be true for a long, long time.