NYC, Wild Cards, etc.
January 27, 2014
Before the book tour, I spent a couple of days in NYC being a tourist and hanging out with writer friends. I stayed in the East Village, and it wasn’t until I got there that I realized I was just a few blocks from Jokertown in the Wild Cards universe, which is a chunk of the Lower East Side.
In fact, when I got home, I checked: in my upcoming story in the next book, Lowball (read a sneak preview of Lowball here!), Ana Cortez, Earth Witch, is living on East 5th Street, also very near Jokertown. This is near where I was staying, a block off 12th Street and 1st Avenue:
Totally in Ana’s neighborhood! I’d never been in this part of NYC before, and it’s one of those parts of the city that looks familiar and iconic — tenements with fire escapes, busy streets full of rushing pedestrians, funky shops and restaurants everywhere you turn. I had some great Indian and Chinese food, and kept looking over my shoulder for characters from the books to walk by.
I also visited the Cloisters, the Met’s storehouse for medieval art and home of the unicorn tapestries, because I’m a medieval culture geek and I’d never been there. It wasn’t until realizing I was staying in Ana’s neighborhood that I also remembered that the big superhero battle in Wild Cards 2: Aces High, takes place at the Cloisters.
It was a gloomy, cloudy day, and I was very glad I brought my umbrella. Atmospheric, but a somber kind of atmosphere. I thought less about the scene in Aces High, and more about what it must be like in the Wild Cards universe to walk there thirty years after the big events. Would anyone even remember? Would the scars still be visible? Would there be a memorial? Maybe something like this:
(I actually imagine Dr. Tachyon on an innocent stroll through the park chancing upon this sign, and collapsing in a fit of uncontrollable, guilt-wracked weeping.)
If I were really going to do a true Wild Cards tour of NYC, after Indian food in the East Village and a stop by the Cloisters, I’d really have to go to Battery Park, the location of Jetboy’s tomb, as well as the Empire State Building, home to the restaurant Aces High in the past, and now Stellar (my own invention for my story in Busted Flush). I’d take a walk down the Bowery to really get into Jokertown proper. I didn’t have time to do all that — maybe next time. I also need to double check, but I’m pretty sure one of the Wild Cards gaming books (such as the one from Green Ronin) has a travel guide to Wild Cards New York. Not a bad way to see the city, really.
I’ll leave off with this, a view to Midtown from Central Park, where I watched a squirrel building a nest and wondered if Bagabond was nearby:
One other thing I did: I got to go to one of the Fantastic Fiction readings at the KGB bar, a series I’ve been hearing about for years, and I was happy to finally get to attend — especially since one of the featured readers was Joe Hill. (Ellen Datlow was there taking pictures, there are a couple of me!)