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Before George R.R. Martin became a household name with HBO’s Game of Thrones and the books from which they spawned, he wrote and edited a series of books about superhumans in a real-world setting called Wild Cards. And as faithful viewers of GoT lament the end of that series, Martin’s first work is hopefully about to hit the small screen. Martin announced on his personal blog that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to Martin’s shared-world series. Because of Martin’s involvement with GoT, and his exclusive development contract with HBO, Martin will not be working on the project. Instead, he has passed the torch to Melinda Snodgrass, who co-created the Wild Cards series of books, and whose television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Outer Limits. Snodgrass will be executive producer for the series, in which Martin posted on his blog, “development will begin immediately.”

Wild Cards finds its origins from a roleplaying game called Superworld, played by Martin, Snodgrass, Victor Milan (The Dinosaur Lords), and many more of the original authors. The series is a shared-world universe, meaning many authors have contributed to its mythology, and centers around the release of an alien virus over New York, quickly spreading across the globe, on September 15, 1946. 90 percent of those infected die instantly, known in the Wild Cards universe as “drawing the Black Queen.” Nine percent undergo a hideous transformation, and are dubbed “Jokers.” The remaining one percent gain some sort of superhuman ability, and are called “Aces.” These Aces and Jokers subtly affect history in a way so that our timeline diverts a little from theirs. Fidel Castro actually played baseball, for example. There’s no Justice League or Avengers in this universe, but characters like Jetboy, the Four Aces, Dr. Tachyon, the Great and Powerful Turtle, Modular Man, Yeoman, Wraith, Puppetman, and others either want to use their gifts for good, for not-so-good, or just to make a quick buck, altering history all the while.

The first volume of the Wild Cards series was published in 1986, and was a finalist for that year’s Hugo Award, ultimately losing to Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Twenty-two volumes have been published to date, with a twenty-third, High Stakesscheduled for release later this month, and three more in the works. Translations and reprints of many of the Wild Cards books and stories have been published around the globe, in France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Comic books, graphic novels, and role-playing games have also chronicled the adventures of the aces and jokers of the Wild Cards universe.

Generations of writers, from bold new voices to visionary grand masters, have contributed to the Wild Cards universe over the past three decades. The roster of writers and creators includes Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Stephen Leigh, Victor Milan, John Jos. Miller, Gail Gerstner Miller, Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, Arthur Byron Cover, Chris Claremont, Lewis Shiner, Walton (Bud) Simons, Steve Perrin, Royce Wideman, Pat Cadigan, Sage Walker, Laura J. Mixon, Parris, William F. Wu, Michael Cassutt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Bob Wayne, S.L. Farrell, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline Spector, Christopher Rowe, Ian Tregillis, David D. Levine, David Anthony Durham, Cherie Priest, Paul Cornell, Craig Chrissinger, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Max Gladstone, Marko Kloos, Diana Rowland, Bradley Denton, Saladin Ahmed, the late Roger Zelazny, and Melinda Snodgrass, and George R.R. Martin.

Universal Cable Productions creates innovative and critically acclaimed television, and can be seen across numerous networks and channels across the world, and includes the Golden Globe and Peabody award-winning drama MR. ROBOT, The Magicians, 12 Monkeys, and Killjoys on SyFY.  Universal Cable Productions is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal.

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