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George R. R. Martin

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Biography

As a youth, Martin became an avid reader and collector of comic books. Fantastic Four 20 (Nov 1963) features a letter to the editor he wrote while in high school. He credits the attention he received from this letter, as well as his following interest in fanzines, with his interest in becoming a writer.

Martin wrote short fiction in the early 1970s, and won several Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards before he began writing 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. 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.

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