George Raymond Richard Martin (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 A Song of Ice and Fire series.
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 on 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 Analog magazine in 1971. The story lost both Awards, but Martin didn't mind too much as joining "Hugo-and-Nebula Losers" Club was a big enough accomplishment for him.
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'. 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 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 Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe), which is projected to run to seven volumes. In November of 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, publishers, readers and critics alike. Martin is currently engaged in writing A Dance With Dragons, which is the fifth book in the series.
It was announced January, 2007 that HBO Productions has purchased the broadcast rights for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, with the author also serving as co-executive producer on the project. The plan calls for each book from the series to be filmed over an entire season's worth of episodes. Production will take place in Europe or New Zealand and Martin is reported to have agreed to script one episode per season. Further details are expected to be announced soon.
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, and many have elements of tragic heroes. Reviewer T. M. Wagner writes, "Let it never be said Martin doesn't share Shakespeare's fondness for the senselessly tragic." However, 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."
His characters are also 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, no matter how attached the reader has become. Martin once described his reasons for killing off characters as "...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."
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. As of December 2006, the organization has over 1,000 official members listed on its website.
Martin is 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.