Ever since HBO took up the daunting task of adapting his bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin has been in the pop culture spotlight. It would be an understatement to say that fans are still eagerly awaiting the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter. If you know a thing or two about George R. R. Martin, only the absolute best words, characters, and storylines make the cut to become a canonical part of his series.
With so much hype around his magnum opus fantasy series, it’s quite easy to be aloof to the other works he has written. In fact, Martin authored five books before A Game of Thrones and even an episode of the tv show “The Twilight Zone.” Whether you’re waiting to get your hands on The Winds of Winter or just miss the beautiful stories that the man is known for creating, George R. R. Martin’s early books are definitely worth immersing yourself in.
A key aspect of the science fiction genre is the promise of unique planets, galaxies, and alien cultures (and war). If you’re looking for something a little more nuanced and romantic, look no further than George R. R. Martin’s debut novel Dying of the Light; it details the reunion of Dirk t’Larien with his former lover Gwen Delvano from their university days.
After years apart and across many lightyears, they take up residence on the world of Worlorn, a rogue planet moving ever farther from the galaxy. Soon, it will be shrouded by infinite darkness for countless ages to come. If you think that premise is poetic, you aren’t far off. According to George R. R. Martin himself, the book’s title is based on the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night,” by Dylan Thomas.
It might come as a surprise to you that George R. R. Martin wrote a vampire novel–and a damn good one if I do say so. Unlike the highly romanticized versions we are familiar with in the genre today, Martin combined his love and expertise toward history with the classic concept of the blood-sucking monster to create a quaint, yet grand, story.
Enter the perspective of the stern and shrewd steamboat captain Abner Marsh. After his business was nearly decimated by river ice, a mysterious man (Joshua York) approaches him to build the grandest steamer on the Mississippi River. Despite York’s oddities, which includes a preference for a nocturnal life, Abner Marsh agrees. Fevre Dream is anything but a smooth riverboat ride.
Before there was “Rick and Morty,” George R. R. Martin wrote Tuf Voyaging; however, instead of causing havoc among the stars like Rick Sanchez, Haviland Tuf has taken it upon himself to fix the universe’s problems–problems stemming from the petty blight that is humanity. With the help of biotechnology, he travels among worlds as messed up as our own to make them a little less terrible. There is always intrigue wrapped around a character beaconing altruism in a universe of pessimism and suffering. If you want someone to root for, Haviland Tuf is the perfect protagonist to invest in.
Though the book hit the wall after its catapult to publication, it is still a George R. R. Martin book, and anything with his name is bound to be good on many levels. With romantic sci-fi and historical vampires on his portfolio, his novel The Armageddon Rag combines his most well-known genre (fantasy) with mystery, according to Wikipedia. If you like mystery, rock bands, and fantasy, this book will hit your sweet spot.
George R. R. Martin’s career was one of many twists and turns. Despite being renowned, he was plagued by the career turmoils that are an inherent threat to any traditionally published author, which separated his early works from his latest. If you’re interested in a wholesome look at his span of work, Dreamsongs: A Retrospective. It presents the best of George R. R. Martin’s short fiction and “includes two tv scripts,” according to Wikipedia. Looking at his life on the macro-scale, his initial struggles in television were reconciled with the success of HBO’s adaptation of his series A Song of Ice and Fire.