George R.R. Martin Books In Order — Where To Begin & How To Proceed?

You’d have to have been living under a rock (at the bottom of the Mariana trench!) for the last ten years not to have heard George R.R. Martin’s name.

Table of Contents Show

Author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that sparked the most-watched TV show in history, Game of Thrones, Martin is considered the greatest talent in the fantasy genre since Tolkien.

_George R.R. Martin Books In Order — Where To Begin & How To Proceed

Despite the wicked case of writer’s block that has seen him break numerous deadlines for the sixth installment of his epic ASOIAF series, he has had an immensely prolific career, publishing well over 60 books.

Most are stand-alone novels, but there’s still merit in following them chronologically.

So, if you’re ready to immerse yourself in Westeros or one of the many other lands of this master world builder, you’ll need to know where to begin, which is why I’ve listed all George R.R. Martin’s books in order below.

About A Song Of Ice And Fire Series

A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy epic set in the war-torn continent of Westeros, a fictional land built on both hyper-realistic and magical elements, where seasons last for years and are impossible to calendar.

Centuries before the events of the first book in the series, Westeros was united under the Targaryen banner, a family who attained military supremacy via the domestication of dragons.

But when the House of the Dragon falls, a power vacuum leads to a scramble for the Iron Throne, and with it, hegemonic control of Westeros.

The nine books of this series (two unfinished) document this power struggle, but an ancient evil gaining power in secret threatens to make the Iron Throne (and all humanity) completely irrelevant.

A Song Of Ice And Fire Books In Order

“A Game Of Thrones” — 1996

A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One (A Song of Ice and Fire Illustrated Edition)

After the King of Westeros, Robert Baratheon dies, his heir apparent, the cruel-hearted 13-year-old Joffrey, inherits the throne.

However, when noble Ned Stark discovers Joffrey is actually the bastard child of the Queen’s incestuous relationship with her brother, Sir Jamie Lannister, he does everything in his power to unseat the child.

All the while, his own bastard son, John Snow, is sent to The Wall, a giant ice barrier formed centuries earlier that protects the civilized world from the “free folk” and supernatural beings that humanity has all but forgotten.


  • Insanely vivid character and setting descriptions
  • Perfect establishes the building political tensions in Westeros


  • The density of exposition can be a turn-off

“A Clash Of Kings” — 1998

A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two

The Seven Kingdoms reclaim their sovereignty, renouncing fealty to the Iron Throne, plunging Westeros into widespread civil unrest as each major family tries to assert their dominance and claim the continent.

Yet, unbeknownst to them, Daenerys Targaryen is forming a plan to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and take back the throne made by her great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Aegon the Conqueror.


  • Shows how weaknesses can be used as strengths
  • Masterfully elaborates on the world established in the first book


  • Very elicit, so some passages may be triggering

“A Storm Of Swords” — 2000

A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three

A Storm of Swords comprises three storylines: The ramping up of the vicious War of the Five Kings, Daenerys’s growing power in the East, and the introduction of a ghostly, near-invisible threat beyond The Wall.


  • This is where the real stakes of the series are introduced
  • Small plot seeds from “A Game Of Thrones” blossom into jaw-dropping moments


  • Some low-action passages shuffle on a bit too long

“A Feast For Crows” — 2005

A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

Victorious in the War of the Five Kings, the Lannisters attempt to tighten their grip on Westeros, with Cersei Lannister becoming the head of the house in the wake of her father Tywin Lannister’s demise.

Her brother, Tyrian, is on the run, as is her “daughter-in-law”, Ned Stark’s daughter, Sansa, and her younger sister Arya who becomes a devotee of the mysterious Many-Faced God.

Meanwhile, Sam Tali, a portly and intelligent boy unfit for life at The Wall, is sent to become a Maester, receiving a world-shattering prophecy in the process.


  • As the shortest book in the series, you’re given some respite from the sheer density of George’s prior publications
  • Arya and Brien form a satisfying odd couple that elevates the reading experience


  • Mostly focuses on ancillary characters, so the reader isn’t as invested in the story

“A Dance With Dragons” — 2011

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five

Various threats to the Iron Throne become ever more powerful in “A Dance of Dragons”, most notably, Daenerys (and her three growing dragons) who now rules in the East with a significant military force to back her bid for conquest.

All the while, shortly after being elected as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, John Snow is forced to choose between his family and his allegiance to the guardians of The Wall, and his brother, Bran Stark, gains supernatural powers after meeting “the last greenseer”.


  • Numerous tensions reaching boiling point
  • Tons of twists and turns that will leave you breathless


  • The lack of plot resolutions can be a little infuriating (okay, massively infuriating!)

About A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms

The A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms tales started out as Legends anthology contributions but were later published individually and eventually together due to their length.

Set almost a century before A Song of Ice and Fire, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles a trio of prequel novellas that follow Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg, a Targaryen prince, as they try to live honorably in a land rife with corruption.

A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms Books In Order

If you happen to find these novellas as discrete books, here’s the order you should read them:

“The Hedge Knight” — 1998

Hedge Knight Volume 1 Premiere HC

“The Hedge Knight” tells the story of how Dunc became the Hedge Knight and acquired a Targaryen prince as a squire.


  • Gives you more background on Westeros
  • Dunc and Egg make for a delightful duo


  • The number of characters in this novella can be overwhelming

“A Sworn Sword” — 2003

Sworn Sword (Hedge Knight, 2)

A year and a half after the events of “The Hedge Knight”, Dunc and Egg struggle to deal with conflicts of morality and allegiance that come part and parcel with being a sworn sword in the Seven Kingdoms.


  • You learn loads more about the history of Westeros
  • The dynamic between Dunc and Egg becomes even more heart-warming


  • Doesn’t build much on the story of the protagonists

“The Mystery Knight” — 2010

The Mystery Knight: A Graphic Novel

Dunc and Egg head northward to bolster the ranks of Beron Stark of Winterfell in the fight against Ironborn, Dagon Greyjoy, on the northern coast.


  • Full of awesome revelations pertaining to the ASOIAF series
  • Lots of plot progression and action


  • Too many seemingly interchangeable characters

About George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones Graphic Novels

Martin released the first two installments of his A Song of Ice and Fire series as 4-volume sequences of graphic novels.

“A Game Of Thrones, Volume 1” — 2011

A Game of Thrones Graphic Novel: Vol 1

The first volume of this subseries covers chapters 1 to 23 in “A Game of Thrones”.


  • Awesome artwork
  • Offers more glimpses into character introspection than the standard books


  • Doesn’t really add anything all that original to the story

“A Game Of Thrones, Volume 2” — 2013

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume Two

The second volume of this subseries shifts focus from the icy north to King’s Landing in the south where numerous feuds trigger a chain reaction that turns the continent of Westeros on its head.


  • Lots of cool behind-the-scenes information about how the graphic novel was made
  • Most of the kinks in the first volume, such as spelling errors, are ironed out in volume 2


  • Some of the characters aren’t distinct enough in the illustrations

“A Game Of Thrones, Volume 3” — 2013

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume Three: Volume Three (A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel)

Eddard Stark is surrounded by enemies in King’s Landing, his son John Snow takes his first tentative steps towards the unknown at The Wall, and Daenerys is pregnant with a child destined to “conquer the world”.


  • The illustrations are incredible
  • Very engaging, even if you’ve read the books and seen the TV series


  • Quite a bit of story was omitted due to compression for the medium

“A Game Of Thrones, Volume 4” — 2014

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume Four

Robb Stark has roused an army to venture south and free his father from the cells of King’s Landing where Joffrey’s cruelty is quickly getting out of hand.

John Snow’s loyalties are tested at The Wall as unknown dangers begin their advance from the icy shadows, and to the East, Daenerys is reborn in the wake of great tragedy, doubling down on her efforts to win back the Iron Throne


  • Lots of advice from the artist
  • Fits in all the key plot points nicely


  • Some panel backgrounds lack the detail seen in the first three volumes

“A Clash Of Kings, Volume 1” — 2018

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume One (A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel)

A battle for the Iron Throne has begun, with pretenders from all corners of the continent striking out to claim Westeros for themselves.


  • The artwork continues to impress
  • Top-notch scripting


  • Different artist means a different style that you’re not used to — Characters look different, which can be confusing

“A Clash Of Kings, Volume 2” — 2019

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume Two (A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel)

Westeros is in chaos, Arya Stark is slap bang in the middle of enemy territory, Tyrion is trying his best to succeed as Hand of the King, John is coming to terms with the wildness of life at The Wall (and beyond), and the Mother of Dragons finally makes it to Qarth only to be met by betrayal.


  • Each section concludes with a cliffhanger, just like the books
  • Rich in plot and character details


  • Certain character illustrations seem to deviate a little from the descriptions in the book

“A Clash Of Kings, Volume 3” — 2021

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume Three: Volume Three (A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel)

Robb Stark is racking up win after win on the battlefield, giving Twyin Lannister reason for concern, while Arya goes undercover behind enemy lines with the hopes of seeking revenge for the tragic fate of her father.

John Snow is selected for an urgent mission that takes him beyond The Wall, and on the other side of the continent, Daenerys is pushed to her limit in Qarth’s House of the Undying.


  • The House of the Undying sequence is amazing!
  • Lots of easter eggs to pick up on


  • Some of the chapters have been switched around to make the medium work

“A Clash Of Kings, Volume 4” — 2022

A Clash of Kings: The Graphic Novel: Volume Four

Dany finally leaves Qarth, much stronger for the challenges she has faced, Theon Greyjoy has taken the lordship of Winterfell… sort of, and the action is heating up at the icy wall with John Snow preparing to defend against Mance Rayder’s wildling army.

All the while, an epic battle unfolds at King’s Landing, with Tyrion taking drastic measures to make sure the Lannister forces stand a chance against Stannis Baratheon’s army.


  • Perhaps the best artwork of them all
  • Lots of little details you may have missed in the books are placed front and center here


  • Quite long-winded for the medium at times

About The History Of House Targaryen Of Westeros Series

We’re only one book deep into this series that follows the rise of Aegon the Conqueror and all the subsequent Targaryens striving to hold onto the throne that he created.

History of House Targaryen of Westeros Books In Order

“Fire And Blood” — 2018

Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (The Targaryen Dynasty: The House of the Dragon)

“Fire and Blood” details the creation of the Iron Throne and the events that lead up to a civil war that nearly shatters the Targaryen dynasty to pieces.


  • Extremely exciting for what is essentially a long, fantasy history lesson
  • Gives you a more fully-realized picture of the A Song of Ice and Fire world


  • No sequels are scheduled for some time

About George R.R. Martin’s Nonfiction Books

All three of George R.R. Martin’s nonfiction books are about the world he created in his Song of Ice and Fire series.

George R.R. Martin’s Nonfiction Books In Order

The Lands Of Ice And Fire — 2012

The Lands of Ice and Fire (Song of Ice & Fire) by George R. R. Martin (Wall Map, 8 Nov 2012) Hardcover

This collection of maps provides a comprehensive geographical layout of Martin’s painstakingly created fantastical world.


  • Adds another element of realism to Martin’s most popular series


  • No actual stories to enjoy

The Wit & Wisdom Of Tyrian Lannister — 2013

The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)

This is simply a compendium of Tyrion Lannister’s most fabulous utterances from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.


  • A very short, funny read for lovers of one of the best characters ever created


  • No new content

The World Of Ice And Fire: The Untold History Of Westeros And The Game Of Thrones — 2014

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire)

If you just can’t get enough of Martin’s brutal world, you’ll love this supplementary nonfiction addition to the canon, complete with full family trees, explorations of the culture and history of Westeros, and loads of full-color artwork and maps.


  • Interesting narrative perspective — from the POV of a maester writing within the A Song of Ice and Fire Universe


  • You have to have read the main series to fully appreciate this book

About George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards Series

The Wild Cards series is a science fiction universe and underlying plot shared by more than 40 authors.

These books are delivered in triad clusters, with every three releases in sequences featuring an overarching plot or theme.

The basic premise details the spreading of the alien “wild card” disease on Earth in an alternative history post-WWII USA and how it either kills, deforms, or enhances those who contract it.

Martin edits the series but has only contributed a handful of stories himself, so it’s these that I’ll be listing in detail here today; however, to fully understand George’s offerings in the Wild Cards series, it’s important you read any other books in their respective triads in order.

Wild Cards Books In Order

“Wild Cards” — 1986

Wild Cards I: Expanded Edition (Wild Cards, 1)

The first installment of the Wild Cards series is an anthology of short stories (one of which is written by George R.R. Martin) that serve as an introduction to the alternative history setting and the calamitous wild card disease.


  • Contributions from loads of highly regarded sci-fi authors


  • Only “Shell Games” is penned by Martin

“Aces High” — 1987

Wild Cards II: Aces High: Aces High (Wild Cards, 2)

In “Aces High”, an alien force known only as “The Swarm” is headed for Earth, where certain Aces (those enhanced by the wild card disease), are plotting to use their powers to take over — What will happen when these two powerful entities meet?


  • Short stories are a lot more cohesive than the first installment


  • Again, not much is written by George himself in this anthology

“Jokers Wild” — 1987

Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild (Wild Cards, 3)

The last of the original Wild Cards triad, “Jokers Wild” (the first mosaic novel in the series) details the dastardly plot of an evil genius known as The Astronomer who cares not about Jokers (those deformed by the disease) or Aces, and simply wants to make those who oppose his schemes pay!


  • It’s a thrilling conclusion to the first phase of the series


  • Shifting styles of various authors can be jarring in the mosaic format

“Aces Abroad” — 1988

Wild Cards: Aces Abroad (Wild Cards 4)

In the aptly titled “Aces Abroad”, the Aces literally go abroad to observe the global impact of the wild card disease, an adventure that exposes them to lots of human virtue, and lots of human evil.


  • Some fan favorite first-triad characters make appearances


  • Lots of exposition to set up the second triad slows the plot down

“Down And Dirty” — 1990

Wild Cards V: Down and Dirty: Book Two of the Puppetman Quartet (Wild Cards, 5)

In Down and Dirty, an underground conflict between the Shadow Fists and the mafia is reaching boiling point, with both criminal organizations striving to seize control of Jokertown.

Can an alliance of Aces and Jokers save the day?

Note — You should read “Ace in the Hole” before moving on to “Dead Man’s Hand” in order to follow the plot.


  • A more coherent story than Aces Abroad


  • Plot momentum hits the brakes at around the halfway point

“Dead Man’s Hand” — 1990

Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand: Book Four of the Puppetman Quartet (Wild Cards, 7)

When Chrysalis – Queen of the Joker underworld – is found murdered, it’s up to Ace investigator Jay Ackroyd (who found her glass-skin body) and vigilante archer Yeoman (who is being used as a patsy by the culprit) to figure out what happened.


  • Consistent tone and pace make it a thrilling read


  • Runs a little long yet somehow the ending feels abrupt

“Dealer’s Choice” — 1992

Wild Cards XI: Dealer's Choice: Book Three of the Rox Triad (Wild Cards, 10)

Martin skips a few installments but returns to contribute to “Dealer’s Choice”, the last in the sequence of the Rox Triad.

This time around, the Nats are out for blood, the blood of Bloat and his following of outcasts, to be precise, leading to the showdown to end all showdowns!

Note — “Dealer’s Choice” is preceded by “Double Solitaire” (1992), and proceeded by “Turn of the Cards” (1993)


  • Introduces lots of exciting and likable new characters


  • The end’s a little confusing

“Black Trump” — 1995

Black Trump (Wild Cards: A New Cycle, Book 3) (Wild Cards: New Cycle)

The Card Sharks have been backed into a corner in this final episode of the original Wild Cards saga, and it’s becoming ever more likely that they’ll utilize their last resort, the Black Trump, a biological bomb that indiscriminately kills anyone infected with the wild card disease.


  • Closes the original sequence nicely


  • Zoe’s plot leave a lot to be desired

“Inside Straight” — 2008

Inside Straight: A Wild Cards Novel (Book One of the Committee Triad)

An Aces reality TV show dominates the ratings, but many of the contestants feel the need to put this inane event behind them and head to the conflict-battered Middle East in order to become real and opposed fake TV heroes.

Note — “Inside Straight” is proceeded by “Suicide Kings” (2009) and “Fort Freak” (2011).


  • Lots of amazing new characters


  • The reality show angle is a little lackluster

“American Hero” — 2020

American Hero: A Wild Cards Novel

In “American Hero”, we return to the TV studio for another round of the eponymous competition show as Aces compete in a number of challenges with the hope of being crowned the ultimate, you’ve guessed it… American hero.

Note — American Hero is preceded by “Long Is the Way” (2019), and “Naked, Stoned, and Stabbed” (2019). Furthermore, as it’s a continuation of the “Inside Straight” concept, it helps to have read that first too.


  • Far more focused and entertaining than Inside Straight


  • Doesn’t progress the triad plot all that much

About George R.R. Martin’s Stand-Alone Novels

While it’s the A Song of Ice and Fire series that earned George R.R. Martin ubiquity, he also has a few discrete novels under his belt, all exhibiting his signature imagistic writing style.

As they’re unrelated, you can start anywhere with these titles, but if you’d like to read them chronologically to see how Martin’s style and subject matter change over time, you’ll find them listed in order of release below.

George R.R. Martin’s Stand-Alone Novels In Order

Starlady And Fast-Friend — 1976

Starlady and Fast-Friend

This is a two-novella collection. The first follows an unfortunate interplanetary traveler who gets stuck on the planet of Thisrock, home to a Darwinian society made up of various ne’er do wells, forcing her to take drastic measures to survive.

The second is a poignant tale of love and loss delivered in a sci-fi package involving a man refusing the opportunity to merge with a mysterious space creature and explore the cosmos with his lover.


  • It’s a fun, thought-provoking read


  • Not exceptionally well-written, and the sci-fi elements are a little understated

Dying Of The Light — 1977

Dying of the Light: A Novel

In The Dying of the Light, Dirk t’Larien is called to Worlorn, a dying planet trapped in eternal twilight where he thinks he’ll be reunited with a long-lost love, but when he arrives, he finds his old flame bound to another man.

He will do all it takes to keep her out of harm’s way, but this becomes more and more difficult as the line between allies and enemies begins to blur.


  • Incredible world-building for a comparatively short text


  • The pacing is a little off in places

Windhaven — 1981

Windhaven: A Novel

Maris may be the daughter of a fisherman, but she was raised by a flyer, dreaming of the day she’ll inherit her wings and sail on the powerful currents beyond Windhaven, but tradition dictates that Coll – the biological son of her guardian – will inherit the wings.

The irony is, all Coll wants to do is sing and sail the seas of the world. Can Maris unpick the fabric of Windhaven culture to allow them both to follow their dreams?


  • A well-constructed, reflective tale propped up by a solid concept


  • The characters aren’t nearly as complex as those in some of Martin’s other works

Fevre Dream — 1982

Fevre Dream: A Novel

Abner Marsh is a riverboat captain struggling to make a living after extreme weather lays waste to his fleet.

All hope seems lost until he strikes a lucrative deal with an aristocrat who means to pay for the construction of a new boat on which to traverse the Mississippi.

But not long has this new vessel been on the water when Marsh notices something sinister about his business partner and the friends he invites along for the ride.


  • It’s a unique take on gothic horror that will keep you hooked no matter how well-versed you are in this genre


  • The villain doesn’t have a very strong motive

The Armageddon Rag — 1983

The Armageddon Rag: A Novel

When Jamie Lynch – a sleazy rock promoter – becomes the victim of a bizarre ritualistic murder involving the removal of his heart, rock journalist and former hippie Sandy Blair becomes embroiled in the intense and mystifying investigation.


  • The shift into supernatural horror takes you completely by surprise


  • The protagonist does a lot of reminiscing about the good old days of the 60s, and it kind of hits the brakes on plot development

Nightflyers — 1985

Nightflyers: The Illustrated Edition

Nightflyers follows Melantha Jhirl, a member of a nine-person research team on the hunt for an advanced alien species.

With limited funding, the team hires a rather odd modified trader ship captained by the absentee Royd who prefers to stay in separate quarters at all times, but when the death toll starts racking up, it becomes clear that Royd has a sinister secret.


  • It’s an intriguing hybrid of sci-fi and horror genres you won’t find elsewhere


  • Most of the characters feel a little flat

Tuf Voyaging — 1986

Tuf Voyaging: A Novel

Tuf Voyaging is an unseasonably simple, single-plot Martin story about an honest, cat-loving space trader that stumbles across the most powerful weapon in space.

Can he figure out a way to use this potentially destructive tool for good, or are his noble attempts to harness the power of gods foolish?


  • It’s a lot of fun and easy to follow


  • Tuf the arrogant protagonist isn’t very likable

Hunter’s Run — 2007

Hunter's Run. George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham

In a universe where man makes it to the stars only to find a bunch of other intelligent beings have already claimed all the best spots in the cosmos, Ramon Espejo searches for a comfortable place in the universe.

But after a bloody event, he’s forced to go on the run on the planet of Sao Paulo where he uncovers a shocking secret.


  • The character and world building is exquisite


  • As a detestable individual, the protagonist is hard to spend time with

About George R.R. Martin’s Short Stories & Novellas

There are only three Martin shorts that have been published as separate entities, and you’ll find the release date chronology below.

George R.R. Martin Short Stories & Novellas In Order

The Lonely Songs Of Laren Dorr — 1976

Sharra has been traveling from world to world in search of her lover and fighting off those responsible for his disappearance, evil gods known as The Seven.

Fresh from one of her battles with these abominable entities, she stumbles across a seemingly idyllic planet, but shortly thereafter, discovers that it’s also the prison of Laren Dorr, an exiled god who has been awaiting her arrival.

Note — The discrete edition of this story is hard to find, so if you want a physical copy, you’re best off purchasing Martin’s Dreamsongs collection, which is readily available.


  • Multifaceted and well-written, giving you lots of lore to chew on


  • It was supposed to be a series, but Martin never got around to writing a follow-up, so it feels a little incomplete

The Ice Dragon — 1980

The Ice Dragon

People say the ice dragon is an untamable beast, but Adara has been riding one since she was five, and when her home is attacked by dragon riders on fire-breathing dragons, she might be the only one who can stop the onslaught.


  • Even though it’s a children’s story, it’s an enjoyable read for all ages


  • Not in any way linked to the world of ASOIAF, which may be disappointing for some

Shadow Twin — 2005

Shadow Twin

This is actually a collaborative novella started by Gardner R. Dozois, who passed it on to Martin, who, in turn, passed it on to his friend David Abraham.

The story follows a prospector who accidentally stumbles across a hidden society of subterranean aliens who capture him before divulging that he’s not the first to find them.

Before him, they held another human captive, one that has escaped, and they task Ramon Espejo, the protagonist, with bringing the escapee back before he reaches civilization.

Now, the eagle-eyed out there will have noticed that Ramon Espejo is also the protagonist in Hunter’s Run, and that’s because Hunter’s Run is an extended, full-novel reworking of Shadow Twin.


  • There are no jarring shifts in style that indicate where one author finished and another began


  • The plot isn’t all that original

About George R.R Martin’s Short Story Collections

The rest of Martin’s short-form stories can only be found in his books of collected works, of which there are quite a few.

They’re totally separate stories, so there’s no need to read them in any particular order, but if you want to follow his work linearly, here’s how you should read them.

Note — The Old Mars and Old Venus collections bear Martin’s name, but he only served as editor on these projects.

George R.R. Martin’s Short Story Collections In Order

A Song For Lya — 1979

A Song for Lya and Other Stories

In the thrilling title story, two lovers, each with an extraordinary gift, are compelled to strike out on a troubling interplanetary quest to the very distant celestial of Shkea, where the natives worship a giant parasite.

The rest of the stories follow a similar sci-fi vein, leaning towards the Lovecraftian but with an emphasis on the cosmic side of things rather than the horror.


  • The highlights of the book showcase some of Martin’s best writing


  • A couple of the stories aren’t up to much, something that becomes ever clearer when you reach the phenomenal entries in this collection

Songs Of Stars And Shadows — 1977

Focusing on themes of loneliness and loss (among others), Songs of Stars and Shadows is a touching read that encourages self-reflection and nurtures a tenderness within.

Stand-out stories are “The Tower of Ashes”, “Night of the Vampires”, and “… For a Single Yesterday”.

Note — This book is incredibly rare; however, you’ll find all of these stories in Martin’s Dreamsongs collections, which we’ll get to in a moment.


  • Thematically consistent


  • Not all the stories are at the level of quality we expect from Martin at this point

Sandkings — 1981


The title story follows Simon Kress – a wealthy and negligent collector of exotic animals on the planet of Baldur – on his journey to replace his pets after the majority of them die when he’s on a business trip.

There are six additional stories to enjoy in this Locus Award-winning collection, all tinged with cosmic irony, sadness, or horror, so prepare to feel all kinds of emotions if you choose this as your next read.


  • The Martin meets Kings meets Lovecraft style of the stories is enthralling


  • Less cohesive than Songs of Stars and Shadows thematically

Portraits Of His Children — 1985

Portraits of His Children

The title story in this collection about a writer who requests his resentful daughter paint the characters from his books won the 1986 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, but it’s not the only fantastic read compiled.

“Unsound Variations” is a wickedly clever, exquisitely told tale about a chess team reunion that goes awry. How exactly? You’ll have to read to find out.


  • Expertly blends sci-fi and fantasy genres


  • There are some pretty strange stylistic indulgences

Quartet: Four Tales From The Crossroads — 1996

Quartet: Four Tales from the Crossroads

A nebulous collection of four multi-format stories, Quartet has no problem keeping readers on their toes.

Featuring a fragment of a teleplay, a novella borrowed from a larger work, a discrete horror novella, and an unfinished novel, this is a somewhat Brechtian project that grants a glimpse into the bare bones of Martin’s creative processes.


  • Access to unfinished works feels charmingly intimate


  • So much is fragmented here that it’s more of a collector’s item than a thrilling read

Dreamsongs, Volume 1 — 2003

Dreamsongs: Volume I

Dreamsongs, Volume 1 is the first installment of George R.R. Martin’s selected works — The best of the best. It grants access to all his fantastic earlier stories that are now out of print or otherwise completely unaffordable for the average reader.


  • Such a wide range of stories in terms of genre and theme


  • His earliest stories are, understandably, not as good as most of his later works

Dreamsongs, Volume 2 — 2003

Dreamsongs: Volume II

This is of course the second installment of Martin’s compendium of selected shorter works, adding twelve more stories to the roster, including some from the aforementioned Wild Cards and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms series.


  • Lots of insights into writing from the man himself


  • A few of the stories fall more into the filler than the thriller category

Nightflyers And Other Stories — 2018

Nightflyers & Other Stories

A collection comprising six sci-fi and horror stories, one of which is “Nightflyers” (see stand-alone novels section), Nightflyers and Other Stories positions Martin as the Lovecraft of the modern era.


  • Includes an extended version of “Nightflyers” that fans of the story will love


  • Most of these stories are readily available in other publications

About George R.R. Martin’s Graphic Novels

We’ve already spoken about Martin’s ASOIAF graphic novelizations, but did you know he’s been collaborating with artists to bring his words to life since the late 80s?

There are currently six George R.R. Martin graphic novels outside Westeros to dig into, and here’s the order you should read them.

George R.R. Martin’s Graphic Novels In Order

Sandkings (1987)

As mentioned earlier, Sandkings is about a negligent and cruel exotic animal collector, a concept that lends itself well to illustration, especially when Doug Moench is at the helm, an artist famous for his Batman work, as well as creating Moon Knight.


  • The graphic novel format makes this creepy story even more visceral and impactful


  • Very hard to get hold of a physical copy

Skin Trade — 1988

George R.R. Martin's Skin Trade

Grizzly murders are no novelty to private investigator Randi Wade, but murders in which the victims have been completely skinned, well… now you’ve piqued her interest.

This story follows Wade as she tries to get to the bottom of these mysterious and brutal murders, but little does she know that her small hometown is sitting on a big secret!


  • Provides an interesting take on the werewolf literary niche


  • Certain threads are left hanging at the end of this novel

Wild Cards: The Drawing Of Cards — 1990


The first two installations of the original Wild Cards series get the graphic novel makeover, with Paul Cornell and Mike Hawthorne handling the conversion.


  • The artwork is stunning!


  • The story is missing quite a few key details

In The House Of The Worm — 2005

George R.R. Martin: In the House of the Worm

Annelyn is hungry for revenge, but his machinations backfire, leading him into the subterranean abyss beneath his privileged world, an abyss rampant with horrors such as Grouns and Worms.


  • Sticks nicely to the plot of the short story (which can be found in its standard form in the Sandkings collection)


  • Gratuitous nudity may not be for everyone

Doorways — 2011

George R.R. Martins Doorways HC

Dr. Thomas Mason is just doing his rounds (as he does every day) when his routine is shattered by the appearance of Cat, a mysterious woman who has seemingly been transported to his E.R. from an entirely different world… and she’s being followed!

Both the government and horrifying creatures from Cat’s world are on her tail, and Mason quickly gets dragged into the drama, winding up on an interdimensional quest for freedom.


  • The pacing is just right


  • Both the artwork and the writing could be stronger

Starport — 2019

Starport (Graphic Novel)

Shortly after a starport is built in Chicago allowing the free passage of numerous aliens to Earth and humans to other planets, an extraterrestrial is murdered, and the Chicago police and a team of aliens must join forces to catch the culprit.


  • The story concept adapted perfectly for the graphic novel medium and the art is stunning


  • Characters fall a little flat

About George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight Graphic Novels

Remember earlier when I listed Martin’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms series?

Well, he’s been working with Ben Avery and Mike S. Miller to reimagine these books as graphic novels.

Hedge Knight Graphic Novels In Order

“The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel” — 1998

The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel (A Game of Thrones)

Dunc accepts the mantle of Hedge Knight and accidentally gets himself a stubborn and secretive squire on the way to a tourney at Ashford Meadow.


  • Duncan and Egg are a fantastic duo, and the graphic novel format gives the reader a bit more of their background


  • Some prefer Martin’s verbose writing in the novella to the artwork in this iteration

“The Hedge Knight II: Sworn Sword” — 2008

The Sworn Sword: The Graphic Novel (A Game of Thrones)

A conflict breaks out in the Seven Kingdoms, and Dunc and Egg must choose a side and live with the potentially bleak consequences.


  • Loads of cool information about the Red and Black factions of the Targaryen dynasty


  • Quite a generic artistic style

“The Mystery Knight: A Graphic Novel” — 2017

The Mystery Knight: A Graphic Novel

An enticing tourney takes Dunc and Egg off their chartered course on the King’s Road, but a treasonous plot and a mystery knight with a secret agenda threaten to throw the event into complete chaos.


  • Respects Martin’s original text


  • Not much facial detail in the illustrations

About George R.R. Martin’s Night Visions Anthologies

Ever the communalist, Martin plays a large role in something known as the Night Vision series, a sequence of horror anthologies featuring stories from some of the genre’s brightest talents.

There are currently 12 editions, but I’ll only be listing the one that George actually contributed to, below.

The Night Visions Anthology In Order

“Night Visions 5” — 1988

Night Visions 5

You’ll find Martin’s “Skin Trade” story in “Night Visions 5”, alongside original stories from horror masters Stephen King and Dan Simmons.


  • Introduces you to some fantastic, spine-shivering tales from notable authors


  • Only one Martin story and it can be found easily elsewhere

About George R.R. Martin’s Anthologized Work

As a genre chameleon, it should come as no surprise that his work has been widely featured in a number of esteemed anthologies, and although they don’t need to be read in order if you’d like to, find their release dates below.

George R.R. Martin’s Anthologized Work In Order

New Voices 1 — 1978

The first of Martin’s stories to get anthologized was “The Stone City”, in which Pegasus, a faster-than-light spaceship, is confiscated from the crew, leaving them stranded on the desolate planet of Grayrest.

Their one hope of escape? Finding the devious Dun’lai a map of an abandoned stone city rumored to be home of an ancient civilization.


  • It’s a genuinely scary cosmic horror story that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention


  • Good luck finding this anthology for a reasonable price

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection (“Under Siege”) — 1986

In “Under Siege”, a group of geeky individuals and a time traveler try to prevent a war between the USA and the Soviet Union.


  • Lots of hilarity veiled in nerd speak


  • As an old story, the premise is very much outdated, and it’s nigh on impossible to find a copy of this anthology

Foundations Of Fear — 1992

Foundations of Fear

Here you’ll find yet another printing of “Sandkings”, but don’t discount it just yet, as it compiles a lot of excellent work by some of the most talented horror authors of all time.


  • There is a fantastic variety of stories from awesome authors to dip into here


  • Martin’s contribution can be found in numerous other publications

Dangerous Women — 2013

Dangerous Women 1

Not only did Martin serve as editor for the Dangerous Women anthology, but he also contributed an exciting short set in Westeros 300 years before the events of his ASOIAF series.

Entitled “The Princess and the Queen”, the story focuses on a feud between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and her step-mother (of a similar age) Queen Alicent that leads to an incendiary clash that sets the continent ablaze.

Nominated for a Locus Award in 2014, if you’re a fan of ASOIAF, this intimate glance into Westerosi history is an absolute must!


  • Martin’s contribution expands on the history of his most famous fictional land, Westeros


  • “Dangerous women” are absent in most of the stories

The Eighth Science Fiction Megapack — 2013

The Eighth Science Fiction MEGAPACK ®: 25 Modern and Classic Stories

Interestingly, there are no Martin stories in this sci-fi anthology, but there is a fascinating interview with him conducted by Darrell Schweitzer that fans of his work will find very illuminating.


  • An intriguing, rare interview with George R.R. Martin


  • No Martin stories to speak of

Final Thoughts

Phew… that was one heck of a ride! And I didn’t even cover the many, many projects for which the prolific George R.R. Martin plays the role of editor exclusively.

So even if you make it through all the stories listed here today, there are still plenty of books bearing Martin’s name to locate and leaf through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should I Start With George R.R. Martin’s Books?

If you want my advice, I’d jump right into the epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, as it really is his magnum opus; however, these are hefty books that can strike fear into the heart of the most voracious readers.

If that’s the case for you, start small with one of his short stories, see if you like his writing style, then reassess the weighty tomes of his greatest work.

Will The Remaining A Song of Ice and Fire Books Be Different To The TV Adaptation?

Martin has confirmed that, while there are a lot of similarities between the concluding plot of Game of Thrones the TV show and the forthcoming A Song of Ice and Fire books, the written stories will be distinct overall.

Considering how bungled the closing seasons of the TV show were, I think it’s safe to say that we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Martin is taking a different approach with his writing.

YouTube video
Noah Burton