George R. R. Martin

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George R. R. Martin

Martin at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born George Raymond Richard Martin
(1948-09-20) September 20, 1948 (age 64)
Bayonne, New Jersey
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Genres Science fiction, horror, fantasy
Notable work(s) A Song of Ice and Fire
Spouse(s) Gale Burnick (1975–1979)
Parris McBride (2011–present)

George Raymond Richard Martin[1] (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM,[2] is an American screenwriter and author of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He is best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, his bestselling series of epic fantasy novels that HBO adapted for their dramatic pay-cable series Game of Thrones. Martin was selected by Time magazine as one of the "2011 Time 100", a list of the "most influential people in the world".[3][4]



[edit] Biography

George R. R. Martin was born on September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey,[5] the son of a longshoreman. The family lived in a federal housing project near to the Bayonne docks. Being poor the young Martin lived in his imagination and 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 finally decided they were killing off each other in "sinister plots."[6] Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and then later Marist High School. While there he became a comic book fan, developing a strong interest in the innovative superheroes being published by Marvel Comics.[7] Fantastic Four #20 (Nov 1963) printed a letter Martin wrote to the editor, the first of many. Other fans wrote him letters, and through such contacts Martin joined the fledgling comics fandom of the era, writing fiction for various fanzines.[8] In 1965 Martin won comic fandom's Alley Award for his prose superhero story "Powerman vs. The Blue Barrier", the first of many awards he would go on to win.

Eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War, to which he objected, Martin applied for and obtained conscientious objector status;[9] he instead did alternative service work for two years as a VISTA volunteer. In 1970 Martin earned a B. S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude; he went on to complete his M. S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern.

Martin began to have his science-fiction short stories published in the early 1970s. His first story nominated for the Hugo Award[10] and the Nebula Award was With Morning Comes Mistfall, published in 1973 by Analog magazine.

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, their friends, and family the evening following the convention's Hugo Awards ceremony. Martin was nominated for two Hugoes that year but ultimately wound up losing both awards, for the novelette "...and Seven Times Never Kill Man" and the novella "The Storms of Windhaven", co-written with Lisa Tuttle.[11] The Hugo Losers Party became an annual Worldcon event thereafter, its formal title eventually evolving into something a little more politically correct as both its size and prestige grew.

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.[12]

The unexpected commercial failure of Martin's fourth book, The Armageddon Rag (1983), "essentially destroyed my career as a novelist at the time", he recalled. It began his career in television, however,[6] as a result of a Hollywood option on that novel that got him hired as a staff writer for a revival of the Twilight Zone; when the CBS series ran its course, he then joined the staff of the dramatic-fantasy series Beauty and the Beast as a writer-producer. During this same period, he also worked as a book series editor, overseeing the development of the lengthy Wild Cards 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. 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".[13] Martin's own contributions to the multiple-author series often feature Thomas Tudbury, "The Great and Powerful Turtle", a powerful psychokinetic whose flying "shell" consisted of an armored VW Beetle. Twenty-one volumes had been published in the series as of June 2011. Earlier that year, Martin signed the contract for the twenty-second Wild Cards volume, to be called Low Ball when published by Tor Books.

Martin's novella, Nightflyers, was adapted into a 1987 feature film of the same title. He was not too happy about being forced to cut down his plots of scenarios to a much smaller budget.[14]

Teaching at Clarion West, 1998.

Martin was also a college instructor in journalism and a chess tournament director. In his spare time, he collects medieval-themed miniatures, reading and collecting science fiction, fantasy, and horror books, and treasuring his still-growing comics collection, which includes the first issues of Marvel's "silver age" Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.

[edit] A Song of Ice and Fire

In 1991, Martin briefly returned to writing novels and began what would eventually turn into his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (reportedly inspired by the Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe), which will run to at least 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.[15] The fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, was published in July 2011, quickly becoming a huge international bestseller, including a #1 ranking on the New York Times Bestseller list and many others. The series has received critical praise from authors, readers, and critics alike. In 2012 A Dance With Dragons made the final ballot for science fiction and fantasy's Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, Locus Poll Award, and the British Fantasy Award; the novel went on to win the Locus Poll Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

[edit] HBO series production

During completion of A Dance With Dragons and other projects, George R. R. Martin was also heavily involved in the production of a television series adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire books named after the first book, A Game of Thrones. Martin's involvement included the selection of a production team and participation in scriptwriting; he is listed in the opening credits as an executive producer of the series.

HBO Productions purchased the television rights for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series in 2007. Game of Thrones (the series title) began airing the fantasy series on their U. S. premium cable channel April 17, 2011; it ran weekly for ten episodes, each approximately an hour long.[16] 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 for Peter Dinklage as Best Supporting Actor. The second season of ten episodes, based on the second Ice and Fire novel A Clash of Kings, began airing on HBO in the U. S. April 1, 2012; the second season was nominated for twelve Emmy Awards, including another Supporting Actor nomination for Dinklage. It went on won six of those Emmys in the Technical Arts categories, which were awarded the week before the regular televised 2012 awards show. The first season of 10 episodes 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; it went on to win the 2012 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

[edit] Themes

Martin's work has been described by the L.A. Times as having "complex story lines, fascinating characters, great dialogue, perfect pacing",[17] while the N.Y. Times sees it as "fantasy for grown ups",[18] while others feel it is dark and cynical.[19] His 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 – holding on to idealisms 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."[20] 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."[21]

Martin's characters are multi-faceted—each with surprisingly 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."[22] 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."

Major themes and areas of exploration in his short fiction include loneliness, connection, tragically doomed love, idealism, romanticism, and hard truth versus comforting deceit. Many of these occur in his magnum opus as well, but most of them are more abundant and obvious in his shorter works.

[edit] Relationship with fans

GRRM signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia (June 2011)

Martin is known for his regular attendance through the decades at science fiction conventions and comics conventions and his accessibility to fans. In 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,[23] usually held on or around the Labor Day weekend. Martin has participated at the smaller Bubonicon near his home in New Mexico since 1986 and will appear in 2012.[24]

Martin's official fan club is the "Brotherhood Without Banners," who have a regular posting board at the Forum of the large website,, which is focused on his Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. At the annual World Science Fiction Convention every year, the BWB hosts a large, on-going hospitality suite that is open to all members of the Worldcon;[25] their suite frequently wins by popular vote the convention's best party award.[citation needed]

Martin has been criticized by some readers for the delays between books in the 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).[26][27] In 2010, Martin responded to these concerns, saying he was unwilling to write his Ice and Fire series exclusively, saying that other writing and editing different projects has always been part of his working process.[28]

Martin is strongly opposed to fan fiction, believing it to be copyright infringement and a bad exercise for aspiring writers.[29][30]

[edit] Personal life

In the early 1970s Martin was in a relationship with fellow science-fiction/fantasy author Lisa Tuttle,[31] with whom he co-wrote Windhaven.

While attending an east coast science fiction convention he met his first wife Gale Burnick; they were married in 1975, but the marriage ended in divorce, without children, in 1979.

On February 15, 2011, Martin married his longtime paramour Parris McBride during a small ceremony at their Santa Fe, New Mexico, home; the couple exchanged custom made, Celtic-inspired wedding rings made for them by local artisans. Area friends were in attendance and helped them celebrate the occasion.[32] On August 19, 2011, they held a larger wedding ceremony and reception at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, in Reno, Nevada for their larger circle of friends within the fantasy and science fiction fields.[33]

Martin maintains a LiveJournal account called "Not A Blog" where he posts about his works and various unrelated topics such as politics and the NFL: he is a supporter of president Barack Obama, and an avid, lifelong fan of both the New York Jets and New York Giants. His LJ posts are reposted by someone else to a George R. R. Martin Facebook page, but Martin has never been a member of that on-line community or a reader of its posts; he also does not use Twitter.

He and his wife Parris are animal activists and supporters of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico.[34] Martin has noted his admiration for wolves not only in his books but also through fundraising.[35][36]

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Author

[edit] Novels

[edit] Children's novel

  • The Ice Dragon

[edit] Selected novelettes

[edit] Collections

[edit] Television

  • The Twilight Zone
    • The Last Defender of Camelot (1986) – writer (teleplay)
    • The Once and Future King (1986) – writer (teleplay), story editor
    • A Saucer of Loneliness (1986) – story editor
    • Lost and Found (1986) – writer (teleplay), from a published short story by Phyllis Eisenstein
    • The World Next Door (1989) – story editor
    • The Toys of Caliban (1986) – writer (teleplay), from an unpublished short story by Terry Matz
    • The Road Less Travelled (1986) – writer (story and teleplay), story editor
  • Beauty and the Beast
    • Terrible Saviour (1987) – writer
    • Masques (1987) – writer
    • Shades of Grey (1988) – writer
    • Promises of Someday (1988) – writer
    • Fever (1988) – writer
    • Ozymandias (1988) – writer
    • Dead of Winter (1988) – writer
    • Brothers (1989) – writer
    • When the Blue Bird Sings' (1989) – writer (teleplay)
    • A Kingdom by the Sea (1989) – writer
    • What Rough Beast (1989) – writer (story)
    • Ceremony of Innocence (1989) – writer
    • Snow (1989) – writer
    • Beggar's Comet (1990) – writer
    • Invictus (1990) – writer
  • Doorways (1993, unreleased pilot) – writer, producer, creator; (IDW Publishing issued the pilot's storyline as a graphic novel miniseries in 2010)[46]
  • Game of Thrones

[edit] Editor

  • New Voices in Science Fiction (1977: new stories by the John W. Campbell Award winners)
  • New Voices in Science Fiction 2 (1979: more new stories by the John W. Campbell Award winners)
  • New Voices in Science Fiction 3 (1980: more new stories by the John W. Campbell Award winners)
  • New Voices in Science Fiction 4 (1981: more new stories by the John W. Campbell Award winners)
  • The Science Fiction Weight Loss Book (1983) edited with Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg ("Stories by the great science fiction writers on fat, thin, and everything in between")
  • The John W. Campbell Awards, Volume 5 (1984, continuation of the New Voices in Science Fiction series)
  • Night Visions 3 (1986)

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

  • 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)
  • Wild Cards V: Down & Dirty (1988)
  • Wild Cards VI: Ace in the Hole (1990)
  • Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand (1990)
  • Wild Cards VIII: One-Eyed Jacks (1991)
  • Wild Cards IX: Jokertown Shuffle (1991)
  • Wild Cards X: Double Solitaire (1992)
  • Wild Cards XI: Dealer's Choice (1992)
  • Wild Cards XII: Turn of the Cards (1993)
  • Wild Cards: Card Sharks (1993; Book I of a New Cycle trilogy)
  • Wild Cards: Marked Cards (1994; Book II of a New Cycle trilogy)
  • Wild Cards: Black Trump (1995; Book III of a New Cycle trilogy)
  • Wild Cards: Deuces Down (2002)
  • Wild Cards: Death Draws Five (2006; solo novel by John J. Miller)
  • Wild Cards: Inside Straight (2008; Book I of the Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards: Busted Flush (2008; Book II of the Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards: Suicide Kings (2009; Book III of the Committee triad)
  • Wild Cards: Fort Freak (2011)
  • Wild Cards: Lowball (forthcoming 2012; sequel to Fort Freak)
  • Wild Cards: High Stakes (recently announced; forthcoming)

[edit] Cross-genre anthologies edited (with Gardner Dozois)

  • Songs of the Dying Earth (2009; a tribute anthology to Jack Vance´s seminal Dying Earth series, first published by Subterranean Press)
  • Warriors (2010; a massive, 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)
  • Dangerous Women (forthcoming; a cross-genre anthology focusing on women warriors and strong female characters, originally titled Femmes Fatales)[47]
  • Rogues (forthcoming; a cross-genre anthology featuring new stories about assorted rogues)[48]
  • Old Mars (delivered and awaiting publication; an anthology featuring new, retro-themed Mars science fiction stories)[48]
  • Old Venus (forthcoming; an anthology of new, retro-themed Venus science fiction stories)[48]

[edit] Awards

[edit] References

  1. ^ Mühlbauer, Peter (February 19, 2012). "RTL2 zeigt ab 23. März Game of Thrones". Telepolis. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ Choate, Trish (September 22, 2011). "Choate: Quest into world of fantasy books can be hobbit-forming". Times Record News. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b The 2011 TIME 100: George R.R. Martin, John Hodgman, April 21, 2011
  4. ^ The 2011 TIME 100: Full List Retrieved June 5, 2011
  5. ^ "Life & Times of George R.R. Martin". George R.R. Martin (official website). Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Berwick, Isabel (2012-06-01). "Lunch with the FT: George RR Martin". Financial Times. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ Rutkoff, Aaron. "Garden State Tolkien: Q&A With George R.R. Martin", The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2011. Accessed July 11, 2011. "Mr. Martin, 62 years old, says that he grew up in a federal housing project in Bayonne, which is situated on a peninsula.... My four years at Marist High School were not the happiest of my life,” the author admits, although his growing enthusiasm for writing comics and superhero stories first emerged during this period."
  8. ^ Dent, Grace (interviewer); Martin, George R. R. (2012-06-12). Game Of Thrones - Interview with George R.R. Martin. YouTube. 
  9. ^ "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, interview with Martin". 14 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "With Morning Comes Mistfall". Hugo Awards. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h The Locus Index to SF Awards; retrieved Aug 14, 2012
  12. ^ Turtledove, Harry, ed, with Martin H. Greenberg. The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century. New York: Ballantine, May 2001, p. 279-306.
  13. ^ Kerr, John Finlay. 2009. Second person: Role-playing and story in games and playable media, edited by Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin [book review]. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 2.
  14. ^ Peter Sagal (September 15, 2012). "'Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin Plays Not My Job". NPR. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  15. ^ A Feast for Crows award nominations
  16. ^ HBO greenlights Game of Thrones to series (pic), The Hollywood Reporter, November 30, 2010
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The American Tolkien" by Lev Grossman, a Times article on Martin. Retrieved on 2007-11-03.
  20. ^ T. M. Wagner. (2003),Review of A Storm of Swords. Retrieved on 2007-11-03.
  21. ^ "Review of A Game of Thrones". Archived from the original on 2008-03-25.,%20George%20Martin.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  22. ^ Review of A Storm of Swords by Publishers Weekly
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Miller, Laura (April 11, 2011). "Onward and Upward with the Arts: Just Write It!: A fantasy author and his impatient fans.". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  27. ^ Kay, Guy Gavriel (April 10, 2009). "Restless readers go bonkers". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  28. ^ Flood, Alison (16 February 2010). "Excitement as George RR Martin announces he's 1,200 pages into new book". Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ "In Love With Lisa". Life & Times. George R.R. Martin Official Website. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Big, Big, BIG News". Not A Blog. LiveJournal. 17. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b c Hugo Award History; retrieved June 5, 2011
  38. ^ "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 1979 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  39. ^ a b c World Fantasy Convention: Award Winners & Nominees; retrieved June 5, 2011
  40. ^ "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  41. ^ "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  42. ^ "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  43. ^ George R. R. Martin. "A Song of Ice and Fire Update". 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Mike the Pike Productions, Inc. Blasts Off to Year 2150 A.D. with Powerhouse Post and Visual Effects on Deep Space Sci-Fi Thriller, ‘White Space’". Business Wire. May 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  46. ^ IDW's November Previews, IDW Publishing, August 18, 2010
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b c

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