The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






George R. R. Martin

George Raymond Richard Martin (born September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey) is an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, and also a screenwriter and producer. He has been an instructor in journalism (in which he holds a master's degree) and a chess tournament director.

Martin was a prolific author of short fiction in the 1970s, and won several Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards before he started to turn his attention to novels late in the decade. 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.

In the 1980s he turned to work in television and as an editor. On television, he worked on the new Twilight Zone series, as well as Beauty and the Beast. 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 perhaps inspired by comic book superheroes). Contributors to the Wild Cards series included Stephen Leigh, Lewis Shiner , Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams and Roger Zelazny.

Martin's short story of the same name was adapted into the feature film Nightflyers (1987).

In 1996 Martin returned to writing novel-length stories, beginning his lengthy cycle A Song of Ice and Fire (ostensibly inspired by the success of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time cycle), to great critical acclaim. These are the books for which he is best known today.


Martin's work is rarely cheerful. His first novel, Dying of the Light, sets the tone for his future work; it is set on a mostly abandoned world 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.

His characters are also multi-faceted, each with surprisingly intricate pasts, inspirations, and ambitions. No one is given an unrealistic string of luck, however, so misfortune, injury, and death (and even false death) can befall any character, no matter how attached the reader has become.




Uncollected short fiction

Wild Cards (as editor)

  • Wild Cards I (1987)
  • 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)
  • Wild Cards: Marked Cards (1994)
  • Wild Cards: Black Trump (1995) (these three books are a trilogy)


  • "A Song for Lya" (1974) Hugo
  • "Sandkings" (1979) Hugo and Nebula
  • "The Way of Cross and Dragon" (1979) Hugo
  • "Portraits of His Children" (1985) Nebula

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Last updated: 05-21-2005 15:18:03