December 19th, 2010


For Wild Cards Fans

The Wild Cards series has been around since 1987, and to date we have published twenty books, with a twenty-first in the pipeline (FORT FREAK) and scheduled for June. Over that span, we have been with four different publishers, the latest being Tor Books. Tor's "next generation" Wild Card books have done very nicely, thank you, and have brought in a lot of new readers, many of whom are now looking for copies of the earlier books.

Which is where things get complicated. With that long a history, some of the volumes are naturally much harder to find than others. The original twelve-volume run from Bantam can usually be found via ABE.books or ebay at reasonable prices, but the three volume "Card Shark" series that followed, published by Baen Books, is considerably more challenging, especially the third and concluding volume of the triad, BLACK TRUMP. If you do find it, it will likely cost you a lot more than it originally sold for.

That being said, even BLACK TRUMP is easy to find compared to the two hardcover originals published by iBooks when they brought the series back after a seven-year hiatus -- DEUCES DOWN, a typical Wild Cards book with stories by various hands, and DEATH DRAWS FIVE, John Jos. Miller's solo WC novel. DD5 was published only one week before iBooks went bankrupt and closed up shop. As result, to the best of our knowledge, only 600 or so copies ever got into the bookstores. (Was that the total print run, or are there more sitting somewhere in a warehouse? No one seems to know, and there's no one left at iBooks to ask). In the years since, and especially after Tor and INSIDE STRAIGHT kicked off the second coming, demand for the book has steadily risen, along with its price. It has become the Holy Grail of Wild Cards collectors.

Well, I can't help those of you who want a copy for your collection -- but now at last there is an answer for fans who simply want to READ John's novel. Brick Tower Publishing acquired many of the assets of iBooks in the bankruptcy, including the rights to both DEUCES DOWN and DEATH DRAWS FIVE, and they have released an ebook version of DD5 for Kindle. You can buy it here from Amazon... and most likely it can also be found from other Kindle retailers.

(The Kindle release did have some initial problems, as you can see from the Amazon reviews. Defective copies were distributed, which did not open. However, I am reliably informed that these problems have been fixed, so you Kindle folks out there will get a readable copy).

So... those of you who would like to fill in the last gap in your Wild Cards reading, ask Santa for a Kindle this Xmas. Or else wait another decade or so till we get around to reprinting this one. It was volume seventeen in the series, after all, and Tor has just released its reissue of volume one.

And as long I am talking about John Jos. Miller (who used to be John J. Miller in the early days of Wild Cards, but had to change his name so people would stop confusing him with John J. Miller of NATIONAL REVIEW, and John Jackson Miller the comic book writer), I should also plug ACES & JOKERS, the latest supplement for the Wild Cards RPG, which John authored with Steve Kenson for Green Ronin.

ACES & JOKERS is now on sale at your favorite game store, and is also available direct from Green Ronin at their online store: A perfect Xmas gift for any gamer / superhero fan.

Oh, and for all John's fans out there, I should also mention that he's got a new gig, blogging about bad movies (and occasionally a good one) for a new film blog called Cheese Magnets, where he is part of rotating cast of crazed and masochistic cinefiles. JJM and his fellow Cheese Magnets are brave people. They watch this crap so we don't have to! But the blogs are a lot of fun, and will tell more than you ever wanted to know about some flicks that truly have to be seen to be believed (but not by me, John knew the job was dangerous when he took it).

You can find Cheese Magnets at

Have fun.
sad sack

Shoot Me Now...

... and put me out of my misery.

The Giants game was one of the most excruciating defeats I have ever experienced, right up there with the playoff losses in past years to the 49ers and Vikings.

Life is meaningless and full of pain.
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Maybe I'll Live

Well, at least I have the Jets. This week.

Gang Green eked one out against Pittsburgh, though they drew it out till the last play, and for a while there it felt as though I was about to have a second dagger thrust through my heart. A good road win against a tough opponent (though not nearly as tough as when Troy is in). The offense looked better than it has the last two weeks (hard to look worse), especially Sanchez. The D did well at times as well... the safety was great... but letting the Steelers drive down the field like that in the final minute left me with my heart in my throat. No way they should make that 3rd-and-24.

As for the Giants game... I am still in shock. Sickening.

I have never hated the Eagles the way I hate the Cowboys, despite them beating us so often these past few years. But I think I'm getting there. Philadelphia replacing Donovan McNabb, a good guy who took a lot of undeserved abuse, with Michael Vick, a not-so-good guy who has not gotten nearly as much abuse as he deserves, has definitely colored my feelings... which makes today even more difficult to swallow. A shattering loss, I fear. I don't know if the Giants will recover. And Vick... what can you say? Sometimes the bad guys win.
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