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Aces & Jokers: A Wild Cards Podcast

We’re reading and discussing Wild Cards, a set of shared-world superhero novels edited by George R. R. Martin. We don't own Wild Cards and this is not an official podcast. We use brief clips from the audiobooks and other sources to illustrate and aid discussion. Spoilers abound.

Jul 6, 2018

In this episode we discuss the second half of Ace in the Hole (Wild Cards Book 6). The authors that contributed to this book are:

  • Walter John Williams
  • Stephen Leigh (S. L. Farrell)
  • Victor Milán
  • Walton Simons
  • Melinda M. Snodgrass

Our fantastic theme tune is Ace Of Spades (8 Bit Remix Cover Version) by the great folks at 8 Bit Universe. Follow them on YouTube and Twitter.

Congratulations to Matthew Elmslie on winning the hardback copy of Knaves Over Queens!

Thanks to @SamuelSakker, @althusserian421, and @seb9884 for their Twitter outrage, which contributed to our discussion this week. You too could get a shout-out in the show notes. Just email us with any questions, comments, or corrections at, or find us on Twitter. You can also join the conversation over at Reddit.


Odds and Ends

  • We weren't being racist about Spain, I promise you. Until recently, the Spanish age of consent was 13.
  • Read Ben's suitcase lady story at Vanity Fair.
  • Read Angel's sports bag spy story on Wikipedia
  • Learn more about that oddly devoted cellular network planner here.
  • On listening back, Ben says that at some point in this episode he says “Barnett would lose” when he meant “Barnett would win.” Don’t @ us.


F Douglas Wall's notes on the Democratic Convention

The event that Ace in the Hole centers on is the Democratic National Convention, not the primary. The primaries are elections held in the individual states during the first part of the election year to determine how the states delegates will be apportioned at the convention proper.
In order for the party to nominate a candidate, they must have a majority of the delegates vote for them at the convention. If they secure enough delegates in the primary process, they are called the "presumptive" nominee.
Once the convention begins, the delegates, like Jack Braun, participate in one or more rounds of voting. The first round, the delegates must vote according to the primary vote in their state. So if Hartman won the California primary, Jack is obligated to vote for him in the first round. 
But if Hartman (or any other candidate) can't get a majority of the votes, the delegates vote again, this time for whoever they want. Considering how many candidates are running (two more than in our history) this is probably what happens in the book. Multiple votes are held until one candidate gets 50% of the delegates. This is where all the wheeling and dealing comes in. (In our history, the last Democratic convention to have multiple rounds of voting was in 1952 and Micheal Dukakis won the first round of voting in 1988 with 70% of the delegate vote, Jesse Jackson coming in second. Thank you, Wikipedia.)
The Democratic party also uses "super delegates" who can vote however they want on the first round. This is typically used by the party as a "thumb on the scale" giving a stronger claim to establishment candidates or those seen as more electable. They only amount to 15% of the delegates, so they're best used to decide a close contest and don't have the power to upset a strong favorite.
The convention is also used to determine the party "platform," a statement of values and goals for the party over the next four years. Individual elements of the platform are called "planks," appropriately enough. So that's what the talk about the "Joker rights plank" in the book was about.
[Thank you Doug! Listeners, do you like games? Doug has a Wizard of Oz RPG that you should probably check out.]