Name and location of repository
Level of description
George R.R. Martin Collection
Name of creator
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. From an early age he was interested in science fiction, fantasy and comic books, and as a child began writing stories. In 1970 Martin graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in journalism, and received an M.S. in journalism in 1971. Martin objected to the Vietnam War, and rather then beng drafted applied for and received conscientious-objector status. For his alternative service, he worked for two years (1972–1974) as a VISTA volunteer, attached to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. From 1976 -1978 he was an English and journalism instructor at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, where he also served as Writer-in-Residence from 1978-1979. In 1979 he moved to Santa Fe, where he has resided ever since.
Martin has won multiple Hugos, Nebulas, and other awards for his fiction. Martin's novels include Dying of the Light(1977), Windhaven(with Lisa Tuttle, 1981), the vampire novel Fevre Dream(1982), and The Armaggedon Rag(1983). He has authored a number of acclaimed short story collections, including A Song for Lya and Other Stories(1976), Sandkings(1981), and Tuf Voyaging(1986), among others. In addition, Martin has also edited a number of anthologies.
Martin is the chief creator, a primary contributor, and the main editor for the ongoing "mosaic universe" _Wild Cards_series of novels. The series, which began in 1987 and is still running, is written by Martin and a number of collaborators who write individual stories and novels all set within the same universe. The _Wild Cards_stories are set on an Earth where an alien virus released in 1946 caused a number of humans to be infected, turning some into "aces" (those with superpowers) and others into "jokers" (those with horrible deformities or crippling physical conditions). The series tells individual stories of aces' comic book-like adventures while also describing the social and political conditions of a planet affected by the presence of superheroes and villains.
In addition, he has written and produced for television, including the critically acclaimed Beauty and the Beast(1987-1990). as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone(1985-1989). He created and wrote a pilot __for a science fiction series in 1993, Doorways, which was not picked up.
His most notable and popular works are the books in the fantasy novel cycle A Song of Ice and Fire(1996 - ongoing), which include A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings(1999), A Storm of Swords(2000), A Feast for Crows(2005), and A Dance with Dragons(2011). Included as part of this cycle are several short stories and novellas (the "Dunk and Egg" stories) that take place in the centuries before the novels.
_A Song of Ice and Fire_is one of the most popular series in the history of American fantasy. Inspired in part by the real-life English Wars of the Roses, the series details the military struggles, political machinations, and personal sufferings resulting from a prolonged civil war and bloody battle for kingship that roil the fictional continent of Westeros. The series has been translated into dozens of languages and has been made into a successful, critically acclaimed television series for HBO, Game of Thrones.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This collection consists of the personal papers, manuscripts, memorabilia, and other associational material of science fiction and fantasy author George R.R. Martin.
Martin has also deposited as part of his collection a growing assortment of books, including his own work in various editions and translations, as well as works that he has edited or to which he has contributed. A bibliography of these books is available from the Reading Room upon request and items from that list are available for consultation.
System of arrangement
Materials are arranged as they are received chronologically.
Series I consists of Martin's correspondence, manuscripts, and other personal papers.
Series II consists of assorted merchandise and other products related to Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire cycle of fantasy novels as well as the HBO Game of Thrones television show.
Series III consists of personal financial records and is closed to researchers.
Series IV consists of oversized materials, most of it tie-in merchandise from the HBO Game of Thrones television show. Included in this series are limited edition replicas of various weapons from the show and from the Song of Ice and Fire novels.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
The majority of the Martin collection is available to all researchers. Researchers requesting access to closed materials must present a letter of permission from George R. R. Martin. Users should obtain such permission prior to visiting the Cushing Library.
At Mr. Martin's request, all manuscript materials for A Dance With Dragons will be closed until the publication of The Winds Of Winter, at which time they will be made available again. When Cushing Library receives the manuscript for The Winds Of Winter, it will likewise be closed to researchers until A Dream of Spring (the final book in A Song of Ice and Fire) is published.
At Mr. Martin's request, all personal and financial correspondence (including correspondence to and from Mr. Martin's literary agents) in the collection is closed to researchers until 2020. At that time, Mr. Martin will reevaluate his decision to close this portion of the collection.
If correspondence is requested, check before providing to researchers to make sure that no financial information is included. If such information is identified, it must be redacted before use.
Some of the materials relating to Beauty and the Beast contains personally identifiable information. These materials have been checked by Reading Room staff before being made accessible to researchers, and have been redacted. Only redacted versions should be made available to researchers.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Official depository of Martin's papers.
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
Wild Cards is the general title given to the shared superhuman universe of novels created and primarily edited by George R.R. Martin. The first book, Wild Cards, was released in 1987, set mostly in the early days of the wild card epidemic, and continues to run (as of this writing) through 29 subsequent books (the latest being 2022's Full House), having been brought up to the present day. The series is governed by the Wild Cards Trust, a collective of authors that share the universe not only through their own stories but with their own created recurring characters that can be used by other authors. Besides Martin, authors include or have included, among others: Melinda M. Snodgrass, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams, Walton Simons, John J. Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Victor Milan, Carrie Vaughn, William Wu, and Caroline Spector.
Wild Cards begins in 1946, when a humanoid alien species called the Takisians releases an experimental virus upon Earth, as a test. (The entire Wild Cards series is an exploration of the subsequent wide-reaching social, political, and historical effects of this virus on humanity.) The "wild card" virus (called so by humans because its effects are unpredictable and never affect two people in the same way) rapidly disseminates across the entire planet.
People who contract the virus suffer one of three possible fates. The vast majority of victims die in horrible ways (called "drawing the Black Queen). Of those that survive, most become "jokers", developing serious, often crippling and often dramatic deformities - in many parts of the world, including the United States, jokers suffer discrimination, prejudice, and marginalization. A tiny percentage of virus victims (c. 1%) become "aces", developing powers that often rise to the level of superhuman. In the traditional comic book manner, some aces become superheroes, and others become villains.
Although stories in the series occur in various parts of the world, the primary setting, especially in the earlier books, is New York City, including its joker ghetto 'Jokertown'. The series is notable not only for its colorful fights between aces and aces (and aces and jokers), but its less dramatic but emotionally fraught explorations of how the presence of superheroes, supervillains, and a dramatically different underclass would affect the development of the "real world".
- Citation: George R.R. Martin Collection, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid created by Hal Hall and Cait Coker.
Finding aid last edited by Jeremy Brett, 2021.