Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey

A very accomplished writer with several Hugo Awards, a Nebula here and there, and a trail of other honours and distinctions following behind. Probably best known for his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series and The Armageddon Rag. Other novels he has written are Dying of the Light, Windhaven, Fever Dream, and Dead Man's Hand. He has several short story collections and is the editor for the Wild Cards series of books.

George R. R. Martin has also written and produced on TV for The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast.

As a sidenote, A Game of Thrones, the first book of his A Song of Ice and Fire, is truly awesome. The depth and duality of his characters are immensely impressive, as is the book's thoroughness in its fictional history. If you were to judge Mr. Martin strictly from this book, you may conclude that he is a genius.

George R. R. Martin is a wonderful author, producer and essayist. His lucid and often vividly violent and sexual writing is something that'll keep the reader up all night, wondering what happens on the next page.

The Facts

Name: George R. R. Martin
Date of birth: 20 Sept. 1948
Place of birth: Bayonne, New Jersey
Parents: Raymond Collins Martin, and Margaret Brady Martin
Sisters: Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten

As far as post-secondary education goes, Mr. Martin has completed a B.S. and an M.S. in journalism, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He's held a number of differing jobs, being a member of VISTA, directing and overseeing chess tournaments, and of course, writing. His first published work was for the magazine Galaxy in 1971, entitled "The Hero."

The Works

To trim up this section, only his "written" works will be included, without the producing of television shows. He's produced and co-written several episodes of the 1990's show "Beauty And The Beast," and has edited many fantasy-related books, even co-edting with such illustrious author-editors as Isaac Asimov and the wonderful Martin Harry Greenberg. The list of George Martin's published novels is, to date:

A Song of Ice and Fire:
(with two upcoming novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

The Rest

A few years ago, I became interested in the fantasy genre of writing. You know what I'm talking about: knights crashing the gates of a magical city, and being thrown back by the forces of dark magic. Then, the lowly thief comes down out of the palace cellars, holding in triumph the magical-mythical Dragonblade, with which he will lead the forces of good to victory! I admit that, at first, I was taken in by the literature produced in heaps, like garbage rolling out of a truck and sad, dirty, well-paid men pushing the trash onto the clean ground, by such companies as The Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. While some of the tales were interesting - Dragons of Winter Night, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman - and some essentially unreadable, I found that the immense imagination of the fantasy genre was well worth some exploration.

I did take a break from fantasy, because I found that many of the authors - Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony, as for-instances - were rehashing previous works and offering up nothing new at all. That imagination I adored was gone, it seemed, and there was nothing worth reading hitting the shelves. Piers Anthony was publishing the same book over and over again (read Demeter's node under Piers Anthony, to understand what I'm talking about). There are exceptions, of course. Orson Scott Card, a science-fiction type, writes novels that almost change the way you think. R.A. Salvatore, while suffering from Piers-Anthony-itis, that deplorable ability to re-release the same story over and over, has such a command of language that it's rather startling.

When I did hit the bookstore, I didn't buy a book alone; I ashed the staff. I went into Coles (Canadian book store chain) and asked the thirty-fiveish dork behind the desk, "I wanna get some fantasy. Anything new and recent and cool out on paperback?" What I really wanted to ask was, Do you still play Magic? If anyone could better direct me to a good fantasy novel, it'd be a thirty-fiveish player of Magic: The Gathering. We go over to the fantasy section, and he hands me A Game of Thrones. I stare indifferently at it for a few days after purchase. Then, one night, unable to find anything to do on the computer (this is pre-Everything2, you understand), I open the book up.

Suddenly, it's four in the morning, I have computer school in the morning, and I'm slapping myself - not to keep awake, but to stay away from the book. Where books by Weis and Hickman or Terry Goodkind grasp you by the wonder and creativity of their worlds, Martin shakes you down for your wallet, leaves you in a burned-out town with dead, raped women in the alleys, drunken guards slapping each other on the backs for their good work, and shopkeepers closing their shutters to you. The novels included in A Song of Ice and Fire are remarkable, multilayered stories with many characters the reader can begin to love or hate almost on sight. Even better, Mr. Martin recognizes that his novel is historically accurate, if a work of fiction; he makes no claims that the good guy will always win, or that good guys always escape death. In the novel entitled A Game of Thrones, without giving it away too badly for any future readers, he does not subscribe to that sort of theory. He wants to tell the truth:

"Lady Lollys was found strolling halfnaked in a backalley after fifty of Her Majesty's soldiers had taken her maidenhead." (from A Clash Of Kings)

There is also a scene in A game of Thrones where the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, is captured by the Lady Catelyn Tully, and put on an oubliette. Mr. Martin more than adequately describes the terror of Tyrion's experience, with both Tyrion's near-hysterical fear of going over the edge during his sleep, and with this line found scrawled on the wall:Gods have mercy, it said, the blue is calling. This is where Mr. Martin's writing differs from that of some inferior fantasy authors - he can imagine as well as create. Imagine the hours it would take for him to picture some old man confined to the oubliette, and scrawling such a thing into the wall.

His books aren't for the young and impressionable, and inexperienced. I wouldn't suggest reading this until the reader's at least 16. I'll give you a plot spoiler for A Game of Thrones, as an example of why it's not for the faint of heart.

The king of the land goes up to Winterfell to ask an old friend to be his Hand (second-most powerful man in the kingdom), to help run the kingdom, and to give the king more time to be drunk and fuck whores. While the king and his entourage are visiting, the future Hand's son is pushed out of a window and paralyzed because he found the queen fucking her twin brother.

That's an example, which only cover about the first eight paragraphs of a nine hundred page novel. You'll note my use of the word "fuck". Mr. Martin isn't afraid to use this word, and he doesn't use it extraneously, either.

A Song of Ice and Fire astounded me, made me look at fantasy-science fiction in a whole new, more mature light. It allowed me to see that there is hope for fantasy as a genre, rather than as a medium to sell books to masses of teenagers.

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