George Raymond Richard Martin was born on September 20th 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. As a young boy Martin began writing and selling monster stories for pennies to other neighbourhood children. 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 each other off in “sinister plots”.
He became an avid comic-book fan, developing a strong interest in the innovative superheroes. Martin began writing letters to the editor of Marvel Comics and eventually other fans wrote back to him. Through these contacts, Martin began writing fiction and in 1965 he 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.
In 1970 Martin earned a BS in Journalism and went on to complete his MS in Journalism in 1971. He became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and then from 1976 to 1978 he was an English and journalism instructor at Clarke University in Dubuque, IA, becoming Writer In Residence at the college from 1978 to 1979. After a short marriage in 1975 to Gale Burnick, Martin eventually married his long-time paramour Parris McBride in 2011.
Martin began selling science-fiction short stories professionally in 1970 and his first story, “The Hero” was published in February 1971. A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Martin became the organization’s Southwest Regional Director from 1977 to 1979. Although Martin often writes fantasy or horror, a number of his earlier works tell science-fiction tales occurring in a loosely defined future history, known informally as “The Thousand Worlds” or “The Manrealm”.
The unexpected commercial failure of Martin’s fourth book, “The Armageddon Rag” (1983), essentially destroyed his career as a novelist, however, it began his career in television. He was hired, first as a staff writer and then as an Executive Story Consultant, for the revival of the ‘Twilight Zone’. Martin later became a producer on the dramatic fantasy series ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and in 1989 he became the show’s co-supervising producer. During this period, he also worked in print media as a book-series editor, overseeing the development of the lengthy and still on-going ‘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”. Martin’s novella, “Nightflyer”, was adapted into a 1987 feature film of the same title, but he was not happy about having to cut plot elements for the screenplay’s scenario in order to accommodate the film’s small budget.
Dying of the Light – 1977
The book takes place on the dying planet of Worlorn. It is a rogue planet whose erratic course is taking it irreversibly far from its neighbouring stars into a region of cold and dark where no life will survive. Worlorn’s 14 cities, built during a brief window when the world passed close enough to a red giant star to permit life to thrive, are dying too. Built to celebrate the diverse cultures of 14 planetary systems they have largely been abandoned allowing their systems and maintenance to fail. The cast is a group of characters who are also flirting with death.
Their home planet has survived numerous attacks in a planetary war, and in response they have evolved social institutions and human relationship patterns to cope with the depredation of the war. Yet now that the war is long past, they find themselves trapped between those who would recognise that the old ways need to be reviewed for the current day and those who believe that any dilution of the old ways spells the end of Kavalar culture.
The Armageddon Rag – 1983
Frustrated former hippie novelist Sandy Blair becomes involved in the investigation of the brutal murder of rock promoter Jamie Lynch: the heart had been torn from Lynch’s body. Lynch had managed several bands, including the legendary rock and roll group, the Nazgûl. He was found dead on the tenth anniversary of the Nazgûl’s break up; his bloody body placed on top of the band’s West Mesa concert poster. During the concert at West Mesa, New Mexico, the Nazgûl’s lead singer Patrick Henry “Hobbit” Hobbins had been mysteriously murdered. Lynch’s high-profile death soon opens the door for a Nazgûl reunion tour, which slowly begins to eerily mirror the events of their original West Mesa tour. Interviewing the surviving members of the band while tracking down his old friends from the 1960s, Blair meditates on the meaning of the flower power generation as he criss-crosses the US. He eventually becomes the Nazgûl’s press agent and is soon swept up in the frenzy of their successful reunion tour and an oncoming supernatural convergence, whose nature he must uncover in order to solve the murders of Lynch and Hobbins.
A Feast of Crows – 2005
The War of the Five Kings is slowly coming to an end. Stannis Baratheon has gone to the aid of the Wall, where Jon Snow has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. King Tommen Baratheon, Joffrey’s eight-year-old brother, now rules in King’s Landing under the watchful eye of his mother, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. With Tywin and Tyrion gone, as well as no longer having to deal with Joffrey, there are no more checks on Cersei and she is essentially Ruling Queen of the Seven Kingdoms in all but name. Now that Cersei finally stands at the height of power and her enemies are scattered to the winds, in a grim irony, it quickly becomes clear that she is incapable of wielding the power she has manipulated so many to acquire and she spirals into self-destruction. Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, is on a mission to find Sansa Stark – falsely believed to have absconded after conspiring with her husband, Tyrion, to murder King Joffrey. Brienne’s mission is aided by Jaime Lannister, who sets her this task, honouring the oath he swore to Catelyn Stark, in an effort to redeem himself.
Sansa Stark is still in hiding in the Vale, protected by Petyr Baelish, who has secretly murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and named himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of eight-year-old Lord Robert Arryn.