6 Must Read George RR Martin Books Before Winds of Winter Releases

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By Madalena Daleziou | More Articles EpicStream Writer has loved fantasy books and films since she was a child, which prompted her to study a Masters in Fantasy Literature and make some magic with words.
June 01, 2021  03:32 PM

Looking to cozy up to a good book this Summer before The Winds of Winter releases? George R.R. Martin may be best known for his Game of Thrones books, but some of his best works aren't even part of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

If you're looking for something different, engaging, complex, and also in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genre, there are quite a few different books by George to drum through.

For the uninitiated, George R. R. Martin became famous worldwide and is one of the most well-paid Fantasy writers due to the success of A Song of Ice and Fire and its HBO adaptation. Currently, it’s hard to talk about him without wondering about the release date of The Winds of Winter. But the A Song of Ice and Fire books are far from the only books Martin has written. The 71-year-old author has had a long career before ASoIaF as a book and TV writer.

George R.R. Martin author of the Game of Thrones books.

Here are some of Martin’s other works that you might want to check out before the release of The Winds of Winter:

A Song of Lya (1974)

Science fiction is another speculative genre many ASoIaF fans wouldn’t associate Martin with, yet, it’s an important part of his early career. Martin’s science fiction short stories have been published in reputable magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact. A Song of Lya is a novella that takes place in the “Thousand Worlds”, the universe, like other stories of Martin’s. Apart from the fact that it was nominated for several awards and came second in the Locus poll, A Song of Lya is notable because it features two main characters named Robb and Lyanna (Lya), both names Martin used for important ASoIaF characters. It will definitely be interesting to read it and see if any parallels can be drawn.

A Song for Lya by George RR Martin

Fevre Dream (1982)

Thinking of the epic, medievalist atmosphere of A Song of Ice and Fire, it might be hard to imagine that once upon a time Martin wrote about vampires, but he did. Fevre Dream takes place on the Mississippi river in 1857 and it’s an impressive literary achievement if its nomination for the Locus Award and World Fantasy Award is any indication. The surprisingly humane vampires and their placement in an era and location we wouldn’t normally associate with make the book worth checking out.  

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

Dying of the Light (1977)

Dying of the Light is Martin’s first full-length novel. The title is an allusion to Dylan Thomas’ famous poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” and the narrative follows Dirk t’ Larien as he tries to protect his former lover who is trapped in the dying planet of Worlorn, a part of the “Thousand Worlds” fictional universe.

Dying of Light by George RR Martin

The Ice Dragon (1980)

If George R. R. Martin's writing sci-fi is hard for some to imagine, his children’s book will be even more surprising given the decidedly adult themes of ASoIaF. The Ice Dragon follows a girl who befriends an ice dragon. While the book has no obvious ties to Martin's most popular Fantasy series, and it isn’t set in Westeros, it is nevertheless interesting to see that Martin was preoccupied with dragons long before writing A Game of Thrones.  

The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin

The Armageddon Rag (1983)

This one is a little controversial, being one of Martin’s most ambitious works at the time. Unfortunately, The Armageddon Rag, a book that combines Fantasy, Mystery, and reflections on rock music and the deconstruction of the 60s idealism, did not know success when it was first published. This fourth book’s financial failure made Martin question his career and turn to tv writing for a while. Fortunately for all ASoIaF, he did not give up book writing for too long.

Armageddon Rag by George RR Martin

Tuf Voyaging (1986)

The ASoIaF books might be huge, but Martin is also skilled with short stories. Tuf Voyaging is a fix-up novel that combines several of Martin’s short works. An entertaining work of science fiction, once again with multiple awards, Tuf Voyaging comments on power and environmental issues in a humorous way.

Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin

Apart from these novels and novellas, Martin has written a number of short story collections such as Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983), Portraits of His Children (1987), and Quartet (2001). And for those who just can’t have enough of Westeros, Martin has written several more stories in the same setting including Fire and Blood, parts of which will be adapted by HBO in the tv series House of the Dragon.

Hopefully, this selection of books will keep you entertained while we wait for The Winds of Winter. Unfortunately, we still don't know when it will come out and it could be quite a while. It's been over a few months since the last update from George RR Martin. Will The Winds of Winter release in 2021? Right now, it seems doubtful.

Also read: Why George RR Martin Is Taking So Long to Write The Winds of Winter

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