Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Thing About Growing up in Jokertown, by Carrie Vaughn

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(Superhero SF; Wild Cards) In New York City, ugly mutants stay in Jokertown, but teenage Rikki and her friends want to do some exploring. It’s not exactly illegal, but it’s not exactly safe either. (8,446 words; Time: 28m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Exciting and Topical with Great Characters

Although this story is set in the Wild Cards universe, it’s enjoyable entirely on its own. See related articles on

"," by (edited by George R.R. Martin), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Rikki gets her adventure and then some. In the process, we learn what sort of person she is, and we slowly realize that she and Beastie are probably going to be an item eventually. (It also seems she might have a career in law enforcement someday.) All the way to the end we’re not sure if the policeman is going to praise her or tell her parents to keep better control of her, and that gives it a positive emotional charge.

The treatment of Jokers is obviously an allegory for the treatment of African Americans, but the regular reminders that the Jokers really are very different from “nats” keep it from being too heavy. In fact, they strengthen it, since even with their much greater differences, they clearly deserve equal treatment..

Con: It’s a sweet story, but a fairly simple one.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 12/21/16)
Carrie Vaughn Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. This is a very good story.

    Very nice characters, quite normal teenagers actually. Agree that it is a simple story, but it does have a lot of appeal to it. I read the first paragraph and just kept going.

    I've never read anything from the Wild Cards series before, except for a quick visit to a Wild Card website just before I started reading this story, and I read it just fine.