George Raymond Richard Martin (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM, is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He is best known for his ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series of epic fantasy novels.
George R. R. Martin was born on September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. As a youth, Martin became an avid reader and collector of comic books. Fantastic Four #20 (Nov 1963) features a letter to the editor he wrote while in high school. He credits the attention he received from this letter, as well as his following interest in comics fanzines, with his interest in becoming a writer.
Martin wrote short fiction in the early 1970s and while his start into the professional writer career was not easy (one of his stories was rejected by different magazines forty-two times) he was not discouraged and later won several Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards. His first story to be nominated for Hugo and Nebula Award was With Morning Comes Mistfall published by the Analog magazine in 1973. The story lost both Awards, but Martin didn't mind too much, noting that joining "Hugo-and-Nebula Losers" Club was a big enough accomplishment for him.
In 1976 at Kansas City's MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention, Martin, with old friend Gardner Dozois, conceived of and organized the first ever Hugo Losers Party, a gathering spot for the losers (and their friends and family), immediately following KC's Hugo Awards ceremony. The party had been planned well in advance, and in a strong note of irony, Martin lost again in 1976, but this time it was for two Hugo Awards: the Novelette "...and Seven Times Never Kill Man" and the Novella "The Storms of Windhaven," co-written with Lisa Tuttle. In the years and decades that followed, the Hugo Losers Party has become an annual event, evolving into one of the largest social gatherings held at the annual Worldcon.
Although much of his work is fantasy or horror, a number of his earlier works are science fiction occurring in a loosely-defined future history, known informally as 'The Thousand Worlds' or 'The manrealm'. 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.
In the 1980s he turned to work in television and as a book editor. On television, he worked on the new Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast series. As an editor, he oversaw the lengthy Wild Cards cycle, which took place in a shared universe in which an alien virus bestowed strange powers or disfigurements on a slice of humanity during World War II, affecting the history of the world thereafter (the premise was inspired by comic book superheroes and a Superworld superhero role-playing game of which Martin was gamemaster). Contributors to the Wild Cards series included Stephen Leigh, Lewis Shiner, Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams and Roger Zelazny. His own contributions to the series often featured Thomas Tudbury, "The Great and Powerful Turtle", a powerful psychokinetic whose flying "shell" consisted of an armored VW Beetle.
Martin's novella, Nightflyers, was adapted into a 1987 feature film.
In 1991 Martin briefly returned to writing novel-length stories, and began what would eventually turn into his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire (ostensibly inspired by the Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe), which is projected to run to seven volumes. The first volume A Game of Thrones was published in 1996. In November 2005, A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in this series, became The New York Times #1 Bestseller and also achieved #1 ranking on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. In addition, in September 2006 A Feast for Crows was nominated for both a Quill award, and the British Fantasy Award. The series has received praise from authors, readers and critics alike.
HBO Productions purchased the television rights for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series in 2007, and greenlit the first season in March 2010, for a predicted 2011 premiere. The first season will be based on the first novel in the series.
In 2008, Fantasy Flight Games released the boardgame "The Game Of Thrones" and in 2010 "The Battles of Westeros," a miniatures boardgame based on the battles depicted in the "A Song of Fire and Ice" series.
Martin has also been an instructor in journalism (in which he holds a master's degree) and a chess tournament director. In his spare time he collects medieval-themed miniatures and continues to treasure his comic collection, which includes the first issues of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Although he is fairly active on the internet, he notes: "I do my writing on a completely different computer than the one I use for email and the internet, in part to guard against viruses, worms, and nightmares like this. (...) I write with WordStar 4.0 on a pure DOS-based machine."
Critics have described Martin's work as dark and cynical. His first novel, Dying of the Light, set the tone for most of his future work; it is set on a mostly abandoned planet that is slowly becoming uninhabitable as it moves away from its sun. This story, and many of Martin's others, have a strong sense of melancholy. His characters are often unhappy, or at least unsatisfied - trying to stay idealistic in a ruthless world. Many have elements of tragic heroes in them. Reviewer T. M. Wagner writes, "Let it never be said Martin doesn't share Shakespeare's fondness for the senselessly tragic." This gloominess can be an obstacle for some readers. The Inchoatus Group writes, "If this absence of joy is going to trouble you, or you’re looking for something more affirming, then you should probably seek elsewhere."
Martin's characters are multi-faceted, each with surprisingly intricate pasts, inspirations, and ambitions. Publisher's Weekly writes of his on-going epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire "The complexity of characters such as Daenarys [sic], 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." No one is given an unrealistic string of luck, however, so misfortune, injury, and death (and even false death) can befall any character, major or minor, 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."
His novels and short-stories often have a religious background and question the reader about religion, either overtly, dealing about one existing or imaginary religion, or instilled with religious questionnement; this last feature appears for example in Tuf Voyaging , in which the ability of human being to assume a godly role is underlying. Similarly, A Song of Ice and Fire contains many instances where the characters try to communicate with gods, yet receiving no answers in return.
In addition to writing, Martin is known for his regular attendance at science fiction conventions and his accessibility to fans. In the early 70s, critic and writer Thomas Disch identified Martin as a member of the "Labor Day Group", writers who congregated at the annual Worldcon, usually held around Labor Day.
Martin has a good relationship with his official fan club, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and has praised them in the past for their parties and philanthropic efforts. www.childsplaycharity.org As of December 2006, the organization has more than 1,000 official members listed on its website.
Martin has been criticized by many fans for the long delay between books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, most recently the many-year gap before the next volume, A Dance with Dragons, which has led the author to respond, accusing angry fans of unfairly demanding he devote all his time to the series.
Martin is very strongly opposed to fan fiction, believing it to be copyright infringement and bad exercise for aspiring writers. He does not give permission for any of his intellectual property to be used in fan fiction.
Dying of the Light (1977) -- Hugo Award nominee, 1978 ; British Fantasy Award nominee, 1979
Windhaven (1981, with Lisa Tuttle) -- Locus SF Award nominee, 1982
Fevre Dream (1982) -- Locus SF and World Fantasy Award nominee, 1983
The Armageddon Rag (1983) -- Locus SF and World Fantasy Award nominee, 1984
A Song of Ice and Fire series:
A Game of Thrones (1996) -- Locus Fantasy Award Winner, Nebula and World Fantasy Award nominee, 1997
A Clash of Kings (1998) -- Nebula Award nominee, 1999; Locus Fantasy Award winner, 1999
A Storm of Swords (2000) -- Locus Fantasy Award winner, Hugo and Nebula Awards nominee, 2001
A Feast for Crows (2005) -- Hugo, Locus Fantasy, and British Fantasy Awards nominee, 2006
A Dance with Dragons (forthcoming)
The Winds of Winter (forthcoming)
A Dream of Spring (forthcoming)
Hunter's Run (2007, expanded version of the novella "Shadow Twin", with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
Martin announced on the 8th of July 2010 that he was '1,400' pages into finishing A Dance with Dragons.
"A Song for Lya", originally in Analog, June 1974.
Night of the Vampyres, originally in Amazing, 1975, re-published in The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century
"The Skin Trade" (1989) from the three-author collection Dark Visions.
The werewolf novella "The Skin Trade," has been optioned for film by Mike the Pike Productions.
"Tales of Dunk and Egg" series - set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire
"The Hedge Knight" (1998)
"The Sworn Sword" (2003)
"The Mystery Knight" (2010)
"Shadow Twin" (2004, with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
Sandkings, Martins most anthologized story to date and the only one of his to win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.
Meathouse Man, first published in 1976, in Orbit 18. (Originally intended for Harlan Ellison's notorious "The Last Dangerous Visions" anthology, GRRM has admitted that this is probably the darkest, most depressing story he has ever done and that he still finds it painful to re-read nearly thirty years after its publication.)
The Ice Dragon (Originally printed in 1980 as a short story, illustrated and re-printed as a children's book in October, 2006)
A Song for Lya (1976)
Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977)
Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983)
Tuf Voyaging (1987, collection of linked stories)
Portraits of His Children (1987)
A RRetrospective (2003; reissued 2006 and 2007 as Dreamsongs)