George R. R. Martin

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George R. R. Martin
Portrait photoshoot at Worldcon 75, Helsinki, before the Hugo Awards - George R. R. Martin.jpg
Martin in 2017
BornGeorge Raymond Martin
(1948-09-20) September 20, 1948 (age 70)
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation
Education Northwestern University (BS, MS)
Genre
Spouses
  • Gale Burnick
    (m. 1975;div. 1979)
  • Parris McBride(m. 2011)

Signature George R. R. Martin signature.png
Website
Official website

George Raymond Richard Martin [1] (born George Raymond Martin, September 20, 1948), [2] also known as GRRM, [3] is an American novelist and short story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, screenwriter, and television producer. He is best known for his series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire , which was adapted into the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011–2019).

Short story Chinese Mirja work of literature, usually written in narrative prose

A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood, however there are many exceptions to this.

Fantasy Genre of literature, film, television and other artforms

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels, manga and video games.

Horror fiction genre of fiction

Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Contents

In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time called Martin "the American Tolkien", [4] and in 2011, he was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. [5] [6]

Lev Grossman American novelist, journalist

Lev Grossman is an American novelist and journalist, most notable as the author of The Magicians Trilogy: The Magicians (2009), The Magician King (2011), and The Magician's Land (2014). He was formerly the book critic and lead technology writer at Time magazine (2002–16).

Time is an American weekly news magazine and news website published in New York City. It was founded in 1923 and originally run by Henry Luce. A European edition is published in London and also covers the Middle East, Africa, and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong. The South Pacific edition, which covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, is based in Sydney. In December 2008, Time discontinued publishing a Canadian advertiser edition.

J. R. R. Tolkien British philologist and author, creator of classic fantasy works

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Early life

George Raymond Martin (he adopted the confirmation name Richard at 13 years old) [2] was born on September 20, 1948, [7] in Bayonne, New Jersey, [8] the son of longshoreman Raymond Collins Martin and his wife Margaret Brady Martin. He has two younger sisters, Darleen and Janet. His mother was of half Irish ancestry. [9] He also acknowledges French, English, Welsh and German roots, [10] which were confirmed on the television series Finding Your Roots . However, while he also believed he was a quarter Italian because of who he was told was his paternal grandfather, a DNA test on the show confirmed his Irish and other ancestries but excluded any Italian ancestry, showing instead he is approximately a quarter Ashkenazi Jewish. [11]

Bayonne, New Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey, U.S.

Bayonnebay-OWN is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Located in the Gateway Region, Bayonne is situated on a peninsula located between Newark Bay to the west, the Kill Van Kull to the south, and New York Bay to the east. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 63,024, reflecting an increase of 1,182 (+1.9%) from the 61,842 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 398 (+0.6%) from the 61,444 counted in the 1990 Census.

Irish people Ethnic group with Celtic and other roots, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. From the 9th century, small numbers of Vikings settled in Ireland, becoming the Norse-Gaels. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought many English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

The family first lived in a house on Broadway, belonging to Martin's great-grandmother. In 1953, they moved to a federal housing project near the Bayonne docks. [9] During Martin's childhood, his world consisted predominantly of "First Street to Fifth Street", between his grade school and his home; this limited world made him want to travel and experience other places, but the only way of doing so was through his imagination, and he became a voracious reader. [12] Martin began writing and selling monster stories for pennies to other neighborhood children, dramatic readings included. He also wrote stories about a mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles; the turtles died frequently in their toy castle, so he decided they were killing each other off in "sinister plots". [13]

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and later Marist High School. While there he became an avid comic book fan, developing a strong interest in the superheroes being published by Marvel Comics, [14] and later credited Stan Lee for being one of his greatest literary influences; "Maybe Stan Lee is the greatest literary influence on me, even more than Shakespeare or Tolkien." [15] A letter Martin wrote to the editor of Fantastic Four was printed in issue No. 20 (November 1963); it was the first of many sent, e.g., Fantastic Four #32, #34, and others. Fans who read his letters wrote him letters in turn, and through such contacts, Martin joined the fledgling comics fandom of the era, writing fiction for various fanzines; [16] he was the first to register for an early comic book convention held in New York in 1964. [17] In 1965, Martin won comic fandom's Alley Award for Best fan fiction for his prose superhero story "Powerman vs. The Blue Barrier". [18]

Marist High School is a private Roman Catholic co-educational college preparatory secondary school located in Bayonne, New Jersey, United States, and operated by the Marist Brothers of the Schools, an international religious congregation of educators with schools in over 70 countries. It is located within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1978.

Marvel Comics company that publishes comic books and related media

Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company.

Stan Lee American comic book writer

Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, and producer. He rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry.

In 1970, Martin earned a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude ; he went on to complete his M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Medill. [19] Eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War, to which he objected, Martin applied for and obtained conscientious objector status; [20] he instead did alternative service work for two years (1972–1974) as a VISTA volunteer, attached to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. [19]

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on recent events. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as citizen journalists using methods of gathering information and using literary techniques. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and, in the past, newsreels.

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Teaching

In the mid-1970s, Martin met English professor George Guthridge from Dubuque, Iowa, at a science fiction convention in Milwaukee. Martin persuaded Guthridge (who later said that at that time he despised science fiction and fantasy) not only to give speculative fiction a second look, but to write in the field himself. Guthridge has since been a finalist for the Hugo Award and twice for the Nebula Award for science fiction and fantasy. In 1998, Guthridge and Janet Berliner won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in the Novel for their Children of the Dusk. [21]

In turn, Guthridge helped Martin in finding a job at Clarke University (then Clarke College). Martin "wasn't making enough money to stay alive", from writing and the chess tournaments, says Guthridge. [22] From 1976 to 1978, Martin was an English and journalism instructor at Clarke, and he became Writer In Residence at the college from 1978 to 1979. [23]

While he enjoyed teaching, the sudden death of friend and fellow author Tom Reamy in late 1977 made Martin reevaluate his own life, and he eventually decided to try to become a full-time writer. He resigned from his job, and being tired of the hard winters in Dubuque, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1979. [24]

Writing career

Martin began selling science fiction short stories professionally in 1970, at age 21. His first sale was "The Hero", sold to Galaxy magazine and published in its February 1971 issue; other sales soon followed. His first story to be nominated for the Hugo Award [25] and Nebula Awards was "With Morning Comes Mistfall", published in 1973 in Analog magazine. In 1975 his story "...for a single yesterday" about a post-apocalyptic timetripper was selected for inclusion in Epoch , a science fiction anthology edited by Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg. His first novel, Dying of the Light , was completed in 1976 right before he moved to Dubuque and published in 1977. That same year the enormous success of Star Wars had a huge impact on the publishing industry and science fiction, and he sold the novel for the same amount he would make in three years of teaching. [26]

The short stories he was able to sell in his early 20s gave him some profit, but not enough to pay his bills, which prevented him from becoming the full-time writer he wanted to be. The need for a day job occurred simultaneously with the American chess craze which followed Bobby Fischer's victory in the 1972 world chess championship. Martin's own chess skills and experience allowed him to be hired as a tournament director for the Continental Chess Association that ran chess tournaments on the weekends. This gave him a sufficient income, and because the tournaments only ran on Saturdays and Sundays, it allowed him to work as a writer five days a week from 1973 to 1976. When the chess bubble subsequently burst and no longer provided an income, he had become much better established as a writer. [27] [28]

Martin is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA); he served as the organization's Southwest Regional Director from 1977 to 1979, and as its vice-president from 1996 to 1998.[ citation needed ] In 1976, for Kansas City's MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), Martin and his friend and fellow writer-editor Gardner Dozois conceived of and organized the first Hugo Losers' Party for the benefit of all past and present Hugo-losing writers on the evening following the convention's Hugo Awards ceremony. Martin was nominated for two Hugos that year but lost both awards, for the novelette "...and Seven Times Never Kill Man" and the novella The Storms of Windhaven, co-written with Lisa Tuttle. [29] Although Martin often writes fantasy or horror, a number of his earlier works are science fiction tales occurring in a loosely defined future history, known informally as "The Thousand Worlds" or "The Manrealm".

In 2017, Martin recalled that he had started writing science fiction-horror hybrids in the late 1970s to disprove a statement from a critic claiming that science fiction and horror were opposites and therefore incompatible. Martin considered Sandkings (1979) the best known of these. Another was the novella Nightflyers (1980), whose screen and television rights were purchased by Vista in 1984, which produced a 1987 film adaptation, Nightflyers , with a screenplay co-written by Martin. [30] Martin was unhappy about having to cut plot elements in order to accommodate the film's small budget. [31] While not a hit at theatres, Martin believes that the film saved his career, and that everything he has written since exists in large part because of it. [32] He has also written at least one piece of political-military fiction, "Night of the Vampyres", collected in Harry Turtledove's anthology The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century (2001). [33]

In 1982, Martin published a vampire novel titled Fevre Dream set in the 19th century on the Mississippi River. Unlike traditional vampire novels, in Fevre Dream vampires are not supernatural creatures, but are rather a different species related to humans created by evolution with superhuman powers. Critic Don D'Amassa has praised Fevre Dream for its strong 19th century atmosphere and wrote: "This is without question one of the greatest vampire novels of all time". [34] Martin followed up Fevre Dream with another horror novel, The Armageddon Rag (1983). The unexpected commercial failure of The Armageddon Rag "essentially destroyed my career as a novelist at the time", he recalled.

In 1984, the new editor of Baen Books, Betsy Mitchell, called Martin to ask him if he had considered doing a collection of Haviland Tuf adventures. Martin, who had several favorite series characters like Solomon Kane, Elric, Nicholas van Rijn and Magnus Ridolph, had made an attempt to create such a character on his own in the 1970s with his Tuf stories. He was interested, but was too occupied with the writing of his next book, the never-completed novel Black and White and Red All Over, which occupied most of his writing time the same year. But after the failure of The Armageddon Rag, all editors rejected his upcoming novel, and desperate for money, he accepted Mitchell's offer and wrote some more Tuf stories which were collected in Tuf Voyaging , which sold well enough for Mitchell to suggest a sequel. Martin was willing and agreed to do it, but before he got started he got an offer from Hollywood, where producer Philip DeGuere Jr. wanted to adapt The Armageddon Rag into a film. The film adaptation did not happen, but they stayed in touch, and when DeGuere became the producer for the revival of The Twilight Zone , Martin was offered a job as a writer. Working for television paid a lot better than writing literature, so he decided to move to Hollywood to seek a new career. [13] [35] [36] At first he worked as staff writer for the show, and then as an executive story consultant. After the CBS series was cancelled, Martin migrated over to the already-underway satirical science fiction series Max Headroom. He worked on scripts and created the show's "Ped Xing" character. However, before his scripts could go into production, the ABC show was cancelled in the middle of its second season. Martin was hired as a writer-producer on the new dramatic fantasy series Beauty and the Beast ; in 1989, he became the show's co-supervising producer and wrote 14 of its episodes.

In 1987, Martin published a collection of short horror stories in Portraits of His Children . During this same period, Martin continued working in print media as a book-series editor, this time overseeing the development of the multi-author Wild Cards book series, which takes place in a shared universe in which a small slice of post–World War II humanity gains superpowers after the release of an alien-engineered virus; new titles are published in the ongoing series from Tor Books. In Second Person, Martin "gives a personal account of the close-knit role-playing game (RPG) culture that gave rise to his Wild Cards shared-world anthologies". [37] An important element in the creation of the multiple author series was a campaign of Chaosium's role-playing game Superworld (1983) that Martin ran in Albuquerque. [38] Admitting he became completely obsessed with the game, he stopped writing literature for most of 1983, which he refers to as his "lost year", but his shrinking bank accounts made him realize he had to come up with something, and got the idea that perhaps the stories and characters created in Superworld could somehow become profitable. [39] Martin's own contributions to Wild Cards have included Thomas Tudbury, "The Great and Powerful Turtle", a powerful psychokinetic whose flying "shell" consisted of an armored VW Beetle. As of June 2011, 21 Wild Cards volumes had been published in the series; earlier that same year, Martin signed the contract for the 22nd volume, Low Ball (2014), published by Tor Books. In early 2012, Martin signed another Tor contract for the 23rd Wild Cards volume, High Stakes, which was released in August 2016. [40]

In August 2016 Martin announced that Universal Cable Productions had acquired the rights to adapt the Wild Cards novels into a television series. [41] In 2017, Martin confirmed he will serve as an executive producer of the HBO television series adaptation of the 2010 novel Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. [42] Martin also contributed to a video game titled Elden Ring , writing the worldbuilding aspects and overarching lore for it. [43] [44]

A Song of Ice and Fire

Teaching at Clarion West, 1998 GeorgeRRMartinCW98 wb.jpg
Teaching at Clarion West, 1998

In 1991, Martin briefly returned to writing novels. He had grown frustrated that his TV pilots and screenplays were not getting made [45] and that TV-related production limitations like budgets and episode lengths were forcing him to cut characters and trim battle scenes. [46] This pushed Martin back towards writing books, where he did not have to worry about compromising the size of his imagination. [45] Admiring the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in his childhood, he wanted to write an epic fantasy, though he did not have any specific ideas. [47]

This eventually turned into his epic fantasy series: A Song of Ice and Fire, which was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, The Accursed Kings [48] and Ivanhoe . Though Martin originally conceptualized it as being three volumes, [49] it is currently slated to comprise seven. The first, A Game of Thrones , was published in 1996, followed by A Clash of Kings in 1998 and A Storm of Swords in 2000. In November 2005, A Feast for Crows , the fourth novel in this series, became The New York Times No. 1 Bestseller. [50] The fifth book, A Dance with Dragons , was published July 12, 2011, and became an international bestseller, including achieving a No. 1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List [51] and many others; it remained on the New York Times list for 88 weeks. In 2012, A Dance With Dragons made the final ballot for science fiction and fantasy's Hugo Award, [52] World Fantasy Award, [53] Locus Poll Award, and the British Fantasy Award; [54] the novel went on to win the Locus Poll Award for Best Fantasy Novel. [55] Two more novels are planned in the series: The Winds of Winter and the final volume A Dream of Spring . On April 25, 2018, Martin announced the release date of his new book, Fire & Blood , dealing with the history of House Targaryen, which was released on November 20, 2018. [56]

HBO adaptation

HBO Productions purchased the television rights for the A Song of Ice and Fire series in 2007 and began airing the fantasy series on their US premium cable channel on April 17, 2011. Titled Game of Thrones , it ran weekly for ten episodes, each approximately an hour long. [57] Although busy completing A Dance With Dragons and other projects, George R. R. Martin was heavily involved in the production of the television series adaptation of his books. Martin's involvement included the selection of a production team and participation in scriptwriting; the opening credits list him as a co-executive producer of the series. The series was renewed shortly after the first episode aired.

The first season was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards, ultimately winning two: one for its opening title credits, and one for Peter Dinklage as Best Supporting Actor.

The first season was also nominated for a 2012 Hugo Award, fantasy and science fiction's oldest award, presented by the World Science Fiction Society each year at the annual Worldcon; the show went on to win the 2012 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, at Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention. Martin took home one of the three Hugo Award trophies awarded in that collaborative category, the other two going to Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

The second season, based on the second A Song of Ice and Fire novel A Clash of Kings , began airing on HBO in the US on April 1, 2012. The second season was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards, including another Supporting Actor nomination for Dinklage. It went on to win six of those Emmys in the Technical Arts categories, which were awarded the week before the regular televised 2012 awards show. The second season episode "Blackwater", written by Martin, was nominated the following year for the 2013 Hugo Award in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category; that episode went on to win the Hugo Award at LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention. In addition to Martin, show-runners Benioff and Weiss (who contributed several scenes to the final screenplay) and episode director Neil Marshal (who expanded the scope of the episode on set) received Hugo statuettes.

Seasons 5 and 6 each won a dozen Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. [58]

By the end of 2016, all seasons up to season 6 (which premiered on April 24, 2016) had been aired on HBO and all seasons had been released on DVD and/or Blu-ray [59] for home viewing (see List of Game of Thrones episodes). The company confirmed on July 18, 2016 that season 7 would consist of seven episodes instead of the usual ten, and would premiere later than usual, in mid-2017, because of the later filming schedule. This was necessary in order to be shooting during the winter season in Europe. [60] Season 7 was expected to air in mid 2017. The first footage from the season was revealed in a new promotional video that featured clips from its new and returning original shows for the coming year on November 28, 2016, showcasing Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Arya Stark. [61] [62] Like the previous season, it would largely consist of original content not found in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but also adapts material from the upcoming sixth and seventh novels: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. [63]

For season 8, in November 2016, President of Programming Casey Bloys indicated that he had had preliminary discussions about a prequel spinoff to the Game of Thrones series with Martin. [64] In May 2017, HBO commissioned five screenwriters – Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, Carly Wray and Bryan Cogman – to develop individual spin-offs. All of the writers are to be working individually with Martin. [65] [66] According to Casey Bloys, Martin is co-writing two of the four announced scripts. [67] The first episode was broadcast on April 14, 2019. [68] This season had a total of six episodes.

Themes

Martin's work has been described as having "complex story lines, fascinating characters, great dialogue, perfect pacing" by literary critic Jeff VanderMeer. [69] Dana Jennings of the New York Times described Martin's work as "fantasy for grown ups" [70] and Lev Grossman wrote that it was dark and cynical. [71] Martin's first novel, Dying of the Light , set the tone for some of his future work; it unfolds on a mostly abandoned planet that is slowly becoming uninhabitable as it moves away from its sun. This story has a strong sense of melancholy. His characters are often unhappy or, at least, unsatisfied, in many cases holding on to idealisms in spite of an otherwise chaotic and ruthless world, and often troubled by their own self-seeking or violent actions, even as they undertake them. Many have elements of tragic heroes or antiheroes in them; reviewer T. M. Wagner writes: "Let it never be said Martin doesn't share Shakespeare's fondness for the senselessly tragic." [72]

George R. R. Martin in November 2016 George R. R. Martin by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
George R. R. Martin in November 2016

The overall gloominess of A Song of Ice and Fire can be an obstacle for some readers; the Inchoatus Group writes that, "If this absence of joy is going to trouble you, or you're looking for something more affirming, then you should probably seek elsewhere." [73] However, for many fans, it is precisely this level of "realness" and "completeness"–including many characters' imperfections, moral and ethical ambiguity, and (often sudden) consequential plot twists that is endearing about Martin's work. Many find that this is what makes the series' story arcs compelling enough to keep following despite its sheer brutality and intricately messy and interwoven plotlines; as TM Wagner points out:

There's great tragedy here, but there's also excitement, humor, heroism even in weaklings, nobility even in villains, and, now and then, a taste of justice after all. It's a rare gift when a writer can invest his story with that much humanity. [72]

Martin's characters are multifaceted, each with intricate pasts, aspirations, and ambitions. Publishers Weekly writes of his ongoing epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire: "The complexity of characters such as Daenerys, Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates." [74] Misfortune, injury, and death (including false death and reanimation) often befall major or minor characters, no matter how attached the reader has become. Martin has described his penchant for killing off important characters as being necessary for the story's depth: "when my characters are in danger, I want you to be afraid to turn the page, (so) you need to show right from the beginning that you're playing for keeps". [75]

In distinguishing his work from others, Martin makes a point of emphasizing realism and plausible social dynamics above an over-reliance on magic and a simplistic "good versus evil" dichotomy, for which contemporary fantasy writing is often criticized. Notably, Martin's work makes a sharp departure from the prevalent "heroic knights and chivalry" schema that has become a mainstay in fantasy as derived from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings . He specifically critiques the oversimplification of Tolkien's themes and devices by imitators in ways that he has humorously described as "Disneyland Middle Ages", [76] which gloss over or ignore major differences between medieval and modern societies, particularly social structures, ways of living, and political arrangements. Martin has been described as "the American Tolkien" by literary critics. [77] While Martin finds inspiration in Tolkien's legacy, [78] he aims to go beyond what he sees as Tolkien's "medieval philosophy" of "if the king was a good man, the land would prosper" to delve into the complexities, ambiguities, and vagaries of real-life power: "We look at real history and it's not that simple ... Just having good intentions doesn't make you a wise king." [79] Per this fact Martin has been credited with the rise of grimdark fantasy, a modern form of an "anti-Tolkien" approach to fantasy writing which, [80] according to British science fiction and fantasy novelist Adam Roberts, is characterized by its reaction to Tolkien's idealism even though it owes a lot to Tolkien's work. [81] [82] The Canadian fantasy writer R. Scott Bakker "says he wouldn't have been able to publish his fantasy novels without the success George R. R. Martin achieved first". [83] Similarly, Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns , was inspired by Martin and impressed by his Red Wedding scene. [84]

The author makes a point of grounding his work on a foundation of historical fiction, which he channels to evoke important social and political elements of primarily the European medieval era that differ markedly from elements of modern times, including the multigenerational, rigid, and often brutally consequential nature of the hierarchical class system of feudal societies [85] that is in many cases overlooked in fantasy writing. Even as A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy series that employs magic and the surreal as central to the genre, Martin is keen to ensure that magic is merely one element of many that moves his work forward, [86] not a generic deus ex machina that is itself the focus of his stories, which is something he has been very conscious about since reading Tolkien; "If you look at The Lord of the Rings, what strikes you, it certainly struck me, is that although the world is infused with this great sense of magic, there is very little onstage magic. So you have a sense of magic, but it's kept under very tight control, and I really took that to heart when I was starting my own series." [87] Martin's ultimate aim is an exploration of the internal conflicts that define the human condition, which, in deriving inspiration from William Faulkner, [88] he ultimately describes as the only reason to read any literature, regardless of genre. [89]

In 2018, Martin called The Lord of the Rings, The Great Gatsby , Gone with the Wind , Great Expectations , Lonesome Dove , Catch-22 , and Charlotte's Web "favorites all, towering masterpieces, books that changed my life". [90]

Relationship with fans

Blog

Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia (June 2011) GRRM Ljubljana (cropped).jpg
Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia (June 2011)

Martin actively contributes to his blog, Not a Blog; in April 2018 he moved his blog from Livejournal to his own website. [91] He still does all his "writing on an old DOS machine running Wordstar 4.0". [92]

Conventions

Martin is known for his regular attendance at science fiction conventions and comics conventions, and his accessibility to fans. In the early 1980s, critic and writer Thomas Disch identified Martin as a member of the "Labor Day Group", writers who regularly congregated at the annual Worldcon, usually held on or around the Labor Day weekend. Since the early 1970s, he has also attended regional science fiction conventions, and since 1986 Martin has participated annually in Albuquerque's smaller regional convention Bubonicon, near his New Mexico home. [93] [94] He was the Guest of Honor at the 61st World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, held in 2003. [95] [96]

In December 2016, Martin was a key speaker at the Guadalajara International Book Fair 2016 in Mexico where the author provided hints about the next two books in the series A Song of Ice and Fire . [97]

Fan club

Martin's official fan club is the "Brotherhood Without Banners", which has a regular posting board at the Forum of the website westeros.org, which is focused on his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. At the annual World Science Fiction Convention every year, the Brotherhood Without Banners hosts a large, on-going hospitality suite that is open to all members of the Worldcon; [98] their suite frequently wins by popular vote the convention's best party award.[ citation needed ]

Criticism

Martin has been criticized by some of his readers for the long periods between books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, notably the six-year gap between the fourth volume, A Feast for Crows (2005), and the fifth volume, A Dance with Dragons (2011). [99] [100] The previous year, in 2010, Martin had responded to fan criticisms by saying he was unwilling to write only his A Song of Ice and Fire series, noting that working on other prose and compiling and editing different book projects have always been part of his working process. [101] Writer Neil Gaiman famously wrote on his blog in 2009 to a critic of Martin's pace, "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch". Gaiman later went on to state that writers are not machines and that they have every right to work on other projects if they want to. [102]

Fan fiction

Martin is opposed to fan fiction, which he views as copyright infringement and a bad exercise for aspiring writers in terms of developing skills in worldbuilding and character development. [103] [104]

Personal life

Martin at LoneStarCon 3 (the 71st World Science Fiction Convention), 2013 George R. R. Martin signing at LoneStarCon3.jpg
Martin at LoneStarCon 3 (the 71st World Science Fiction Convention), 2013

In the early 1970s, Martin was in a relationship with fellow science fiction/fantasy author Lisa Tuttle, with whom he co-wrote Windhaven . [105]

While attending an East Coast science fiction convention he met his first wife, Gale Burnick; they were married in 1975. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979, without issue. [106] On February 15, 2011, Martin married his longtime partner Parris McBride during a small ceremony at their Santa Fe home. On August 19, 2011, they held a larger wedding ceremony and reception at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention. [107]

He and McBride are supporters of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. [108] In early 2013, he purchased Santa Fe's Jean Cocteau Cinema and Coffee House, which had been closed since 2006. He had the property completely restored, including both its original 35 mm capability to which was added digital projection and sound; the Cocteau officially reopened for business on August 9, 2013. [109] Martin has also supported Meow Wolf, an arts collective in Santa Fe, having pledged $2.7 million towards a new art-space in January 2015. [110] [111]

In response to a question on his religious views, Martin replied: "I suppose I'm a lapsed Catholic. You would consider me an atheist or agnostic. I find religion and spirituality fascinating. I would like to believe this isn't the end and there's something more, but I can't convince the rational part of me that makes any sense whatsoever." [112]

Martin is a fan of the New York Jets, the New York Giants and the New York Mets. [113] [114] [115] He is also a fan of the Grateful Dead, and says that the band's music may have influenced his work. [116]

Martin made a guest appearance as himself in an episode, "El Skeletorito", of the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken .

He also appeared in SyFy's Z Nation as a zombie version of himself in season two's "The Collector", where he is still signing copies of his new novel. [117] [118]

Philanthropy

In 2014, Martin launched a campaign on Prizeo to raise funds for Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe. As part of the campaign, Martin offered one donor the chance to accompany him on a trip to the wolf sanctuary, including a helicopter ride and dinner. Martin also offered those donating $20,000 or more the opportunity to have a character named after them and "killed off" in an upcoming A Song of Ice and Fire novel. The campaign garnered media attention and raised a total of $502,549. [119] [120]

Politics

Growing up, Martin avoided the draft to the Vietnam War by being a conscientious objector and did two years of alternative service. He generally opposes war and thought the Vietnam War was a "terrible mistake for America". He has also written about the glory of war and tries to realistically describe war in his books. [121]

In 2014, Martin endorsed Democratic Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico. [122]

In the midst of pressure to pull the 2014 feature film The Interview from theatres, the Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which has been owned by Martin since 2013, decided to show the film. Theatre manager Jon Bowman told the Santa Fe New Mexican: "Martin feels strongly about the First Amendment and the idea of artists having the ability to speak their minds and not having to worry about being targets." [123]

On November 20, 2015, writing on his LiveJournal blog, Martin advocated for allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. [124] Immediately following Bernie Sanders' defeat in the U.S. Democratic primary election, he supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general 2016 United States presidential election, and criticized Donald Trump during the election and following her defeat, commenting that Trump would "become the worst president in American history". [125] [126] [127] [128]

In May 2019, Martin endorsed Joe Biden for President in 2020. [129]

Awards

Nominations

Bibliography

TitleYearTypeNote
The Hero1971Short story Galaxy Magazine
The Second Kind of Loneliness1972 Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Override1973
A Song for Lya 1974Novella Hugo Award for Best Novella 1975
And Seven Times Never Kill Man1975Short story Analog Science Fiction and Fact
The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr [142] 1976Short story Fantastic Stories
A Song for Lya 1976Short story collection
Nobody Leaves New PittsburgShort story Amazing Science Fiction Stories
This Tower of AshesAnalog Annual
Dying of the Light 1977Novel
Songs of Stars and Shadows Short story collection
Sandkings 1979Novelette Hugo Award & Nebula Award for Best Novelette 1980
The Way of Cross and Dragon Short story Hugo Award for Best Short Story 1980
The Ice Dragon 1980 Young adult fiction Illustrated by Alicia Austin as part of Dragons of Light , and Anne Yvonne Gilbert in 2006
Windhaven 1981Novelwith Lisa Tuttle
Sandkings Short story collection
Fevre Dream 1982Novel
In the Lost LandsShort story Amazons II anthology
Songs the Dead Men Sing 1983Short story collection
The Armageddon Rag Novel
Nightflyers 1985Short story collection
Heroes for Hope Comic book script X-Men comic fundraiser
Tuf Voyaging 1986 Fix-up novel
The Glass FlowerShort story
Portraits of His Children 1987Short story collection
The Skin Trade 1989Novella Dark Visions compilation
A Game of Thrones 1996Novel A Song of Ice and Fire
The Hedge Knight 1998Novella Tales of Dunk and Egg ( A Song of Ice and Fire , prequel)
A Clash of Kings Novel A Song of Ice and Fire
A Storm of Swords 2000
Quartet 2001Short story collection
GRRM: A RRetrospective 2003Short story & essay collection
The Sworn Sword Novella Tales of Dunk and Egg ( A Song of Ice and Fire , prequel)
A Feast for Crows 2005Novel A Song of Ice and Fire
Hunter's Run 2007with Gardner Dozois & Daniel Abraham
The Mystery Knight 2010Novella Tales of Dunk and Egg ( A Song of Ice and Fire , prequel)
A Dance with Dragons 2011Novel A Song of Ice and Fire
The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister 2013Quote collectionfrom A Song of Ice and Fire
The Princess and the Queen Novella A Song of Ice and Fire , prequels [143] [144]
The Rogue Prince 2014
The World of Ice & Fire Reference bookThe history of Westeros, with Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson
The Ice Dragon Young adult illustrated novelReworked version of the original novel published in 1980, illustrated by Luis Royo [145]
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms 2015Collectioncompilation of the first three Tales of Dunk and Egg [146]
The Sons of the Dragon 2017Novella A Song of Ice and Fire , prequel [147] [148]
Fire & Blood 2018Reference book & novella collectionThe history of House Targaryen
The Winds of Winter TBDNovel A Song of Ice and Fire
A Dream of Spring

Editor

Wild Cards series editor (also contributor to many volumes) [149]

  • Wild Cards (1987; contents expanded in 2010 edition with three new stories/authors)
  • Wild Cards II: Aces High (1987)
  • Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild (1987)
  • Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad (1988; Book I of the Puppetman Quartet; contents expanded in 2015 edition with two new stories/authors)
  • Wild Cards V: Down & Dirty (1988; Book II of the Puppetman Quartet)
  • Wild Cards VI: Ace in the Hole (1990; Book III of the Puppetman Quartet)
  • Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand (1990; Book IV of the Puppetman Quartet)
  • Wild Cards VIII: One-Eyed Jacks (1991; Book I of the Rox Triad)
  • Wild Cards IX: Jokertown Shuffle (1991; Book II of the Rox Triad)
  • Wild Cards X: Double Solitaire (1992)
  • Wild Cards XI: Dealer's Choice (1992; Book III of the Rox Triad)
  • Wild Cards XII: Turn of the Cards (1993)
  • Wild Cards XIII: Card Sharks (1993; Book I of the Card Shark Triad)
  • Wild Cards XIV: Marked Cards (1994; Book II of the Card Shark Triad)
  • Wild Cards XV: Black Trump (1995; Book III of the Card Shark Triad)
  • Wild Cards XVI: Deuces Down (2002)
  • Wild Cards XVII: Death Draws Five (2006; solo novel by John J. Miller)
  • Wild Cards XVIII: Inside Straight (2008; Book I of The Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards IXX: Busted Flush (2008; Book II of The Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards XX: Suicide Kings (2009; Book III of The Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards XXI: Fort Freak (2011; Book I of the Mean Streets Triad)
  • Wild Cards XXII: Lowball (2014; Book II of the Mean Streets Triad)
  • Wild Cards XXIII: High Stakes (2016; Book III of the Mean Streets Triad) [40]
  • Wild Cards XXIV: Mississippi Roll (2017; Book I of The American Triad)
  • Wild Cards XXV: Low Chicago (2018; Book II of The American Triad)
  • Wild Cards XXVI: Texas Hold 'Em (2018; Book III of The American Triad)
  • Wild Cards XXVII: Knaves Over Queens (2019)

Cross-genre anthologies edited (with Gardner Dozois)

  • Songs of the Dying Earth (2009; a tribute anthology to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, first published by Subterranean Press)
  • Warriors (2010; a cross-genre anthology featuring stories about war and warriors; winner of the 2011 Locus Poll Award for Best Original Anthology)
  • Songs of Love and Death (2010; a cross-genre anthology featuring stories of romance in fantasy and science fiction settings, originally entitled Star Crossed Lovers)
  • Down These Strange Streets (2011; a cross-genre anthology that blends classic detective stories with fantasy and science fiction)
  • Old Mars (2013; a science fiction anthology featuring all new, retro-themed stories about the Red Planet) [150]
  • Dangerous Women (2013; [151] a cross-genre anthology focusing on women warriors and strong female characters, originally titled Femmes Fatale) [152]
  • Rogues (2014; a cross-genre anthology featuring new stories about assorted rogues) [150]
  • Old Venus (2015 publication; an anthology of all new, retro-themed Venus science fiction stories) [150] [153]

Television

Filmography

TitleYearRoleNetworkNotesRef.
Dragons2018Himself Arte/WDR Television documentary (French/German) [155]

Related Research Articles

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A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels by the American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. He began the first volume of the series, A Game of Thrones, in 1991, and it was published in 1996. Martin, who initially envisioned the series as a trilogy, has published five out of a planned seven volumes. The fifth and most recent volume of the series published in 2011, A Dance with Dragons, took Martin six years to write. He is currently writing the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter.

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A Song of Ice and Fire is an ongoing series of epic fantasy novels by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. The first installment of the series, A Game of Thrones, which was originally planned as a trilogy, was published in 1996. The series now consists of five published volumes, and two more volumes are planned. The series is told in the third-person through the eyes of a number of point of view characters. A television series adaptation, Game of Thrones, premiered on HBO in 2011.

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Bryan Cogman is an American television writer and producer. He is known for writing eleven episodes of the HBO series Game of Thrones. He is also the author of the book 'Inside HBO's Game of Thrones' which features a preface by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin.

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Caroline Spector American novelist

Caroline Spector is a science fiction and fantasy writer who has also written role-playing game modules and computer game hint books. She also spent two years as Associate Editor at Amazing Stories magazine. She is a member of George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards consortium, the group of contributing authors to the ongoing Wild Cards shared world original story anthology series edited by Martin, now in its 22nd volume, and currently published by Tor Books.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire media franchise:

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