Wild Cards: From the Journal of Xavier Desmond (1988) by George R. R. Martin

Less a story than a vast collection of infodumping, exposition, and convoluted worldbuilding.

Perhaps it works wonderfully in the actual “Wild Cards” anthology it was written for. But taken as an inclusion in “Dreamsongs”, or on its own, it’s not an enjoyable experience, in my view. I have no interest in worldbuilding for worldbuilding’s sake. I’m interested in stories, not fictional universes without any meaning to them. I don’t enjoy Westeros just for being Westeros, I love it for the stories it gives rise to. Without compelling stories, the world of “Wild Cards” holds no interest for me.


Vast and complicated backstories for characters I only saw a glimpse of in the preceding story do not excite me. Perhaps there are scores upon scores of fantastic “Wild Cards” stories, but I wouldn’t know from the two included in “Dreamsongs” – they do not make for an enticing taster.

I give it a stuffed grape leaf, and a black dog.

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