If you could travel to any time and place in 20th-century America, where would you go?
How about 1920s Chicago? Picture it: Illicit alcohol, Capone and his cronies ruling the streets, thousands of underground gambling spots. The ’20s may have been when the Windy City was at its most tempestuous.
Or how about another scene: At the famous Palmer House, where every president since Grant had stayed, seven players have gathered for dealer’s choice poker. The buy-in? A million bucks. The host? Giovanni Galante, presumptive heir to the notorious Galante crime family. He reeks of cologne and hard liquor.
That’s how Wild Cards’ Low Chicago, Book XXV, starts out. From there, the stakes escalate to nothing less than world stability. Along the way, there are stops during other Chicago eras and historical events, including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the 1893 World’s Fair, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Back in the ’20s, Khan arrives just in time for the notorious Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Low Chicago is part of Wild Cards’ American Triad, between Mississippi Roll and Texas Hold ’Em, and its author list reads like a who’s who of storytelling talent: Saladin Ahmed, John Jos. Miller, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Christopher Rowe, Paul Cornell, Marko Kloos, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Melinda Snodgrass, with editing by George R. R. Martin. It’s a mosaic novel, with authors contributing different tales that come together to form one epic story.
Whether or not you’d choose 1920s Chicago as your time-traveling destination, if you’re looking for time-travel adventures, Low Chicago is a good gamble.
Low Chicago Reviews
The paperback of Low Chicago became available earlier this year, which we figured was as welcome an excuse as any to revisit what readers and reviewers have said about it. Over at Kirkus, the reviewer calls Low Chicago “a pleasure for the experimentally minded.” Paula Guran writes for Locus Mag that “Low Chicago is a good entry point for those new to Wild Cards, a good read for those of us who are not immersed but have some knowledge, and another treat for true Wild Card fans.”
Here are some of the Wild Cards Goodreads reviews for Low Chicago:
“Having never read any of the books in this series, I love that I could jump right in and not feel the loss of not being as familiar with the world as I should be. As always, George R.R. Martin delivers in SPADES! (no pun intended!)” – Low Chicago Goodreads reviewer Bonnie
“Entertaining and gripping, with contributions by a range of talent, both older Wild Cards hands and new blood, in a self-contained single entry. Wonderful.” – Iain
“Wild Cards has always been at its best when exploring the intersection of superpowers with political influence and social issues. (See Aces Abroad and the Committee trilogy.) Eat your heart out, X-Men.” – Zedsdead
“The latest version of the Wild Cards universe NAILS IT on all fronts. The fact that ‘Low Chicago’ takes place in my adopted hometown is just icing on the cake. The stories themselves are just fantastic, across the board. Contributions from the original crew (Melinda Snodgrass and others) just mesh perfectly with newer voices like Marko Kloos. Simply a very strong collection of great stories across time.” – Chris Bauer
New to Wild Cards?
Low Chicago was designed as a standalone volume, so you can jump into it without having read the previous books in the Wild Cards series. That said, there are definitely references that regular Wild Cards readers will pick up on. To read up on specific characters, check out our Rogue’s Gallery of Wild Cards characters. The Wild Cards Wiki is also a great resource for information on the characters, Wild Cards terminology, and the books and their triads.
Happy reading, and safe (time) travels!