I know I am distracted by shiny things. What can I say? I find just about all of GRRM’s work falls into the shiny thing category for me. This is a story I have been working on transcribing for a while now. I have many other essays in the works, but this is one I had to finish chomping on before I continue other work.
This novelette was co-authored in 1976 with George R.R. Martin’s personal friend and cohort, Howard Waldrop. In the portion of the fandom that extends beyond Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, during my passings through that wonderful world of online chats, it is this story that brings about a squicky amount of contention, moreso than how incest brings about a downfall of dynasties, no matter the story.
The basic synopsis of this story takes place in George R. R. Martin’s fictional science fiction universe called The Thousand Worlds. This happens to be an unnamed planet as opposed to the many that he gives name to, usually based off of an element in Norse mythology. It follows a group of seven scientist living in a fortified base called Greywater Station as they try to use a native species to make weapons. (more after the link)
This story brings about many ideas such a possibly neverborn “Noborn”, genetics, collective consciousness, inter-species misunderstandings, survival of nature, bio-warfare, and what toll war takes on someone when they are pressured to make a choice. This choice is the key. You can have all the prophetic fevre dreams you want, but it is up to you how you chose to use that information. Cup of ice, cup of fire? Plenty of prototyping for Daenerys and Euron drinking Shade-of-the-Evening wartime drink.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do.
Men of Greywater Station by George R.R. Martin
The men of Greywater Station watched the shooting star descend and they knew it for an omen. They watched it in silence from the laser turret atop the central tower. The streak grew bright in the northeast sky, divided the night though the thin haze of the spore dust. It went through the zenith, sank, fell below the western horizon.
Sheridan, the bullet-headed zoologist was the first to speak. “There they went,” he said, unnecessarily.
Delvecchio shook his head. “There they are,” he said, turning towards the others. There were only five there, of the seven who were left. Sanderpay and Miterz were still outside collecting samples.
“They’ll make it,” Delvecchio said firmly. “Took too long crossing the sky to burn up like a meteor. I hope we got a triangulation on them with the radar. They came in slow enough to maybe make it through the crash.”
Reyn, the youngest of the men at Greywater, looked up from the radar console and nodded “I got them, all right. Though it’s a wonder they slowed enough before hitting the atmosphere. From the little that got through jamming, they must have hit pretty hard out there.”
“I’m in the final stages now. It’s only a matter of getting the mutant to breed in the Fyndii atmosphere. And I’m near. I’m so near.” He looked at each of them in turn, eyes imploring. “If you let me continue, I’ll have it soon. And they could dump in on the Fyndii homeworlds, and well, it would end the war. All those lives saved. Think about all the men who will die if I’m delayed.”
He stopped suddenly, awkwardly. There was a long silence around the table. Granowicz broke it. He stroked his chin and gave a funny little chuckle. “And I thought this was such a bold, clean venture,” he said, his voice bitter. “To grope toward new intelligence, unlike any we had known, to try to find and talk to a mind perhaps unique in this universe. And now you tell me all my work was…
Other Transcribed Stories
Have fun and enjoy!
I have started a book club re-read for the older works of George R.R. Martin for purposes such as research, scholarship, and teaching. I own all copies of material that is used for this book club. If you have not yet read a story listed, please check with your local bookstore for your own reading material to purchase (Indie Bookstore Finder or Bookshop.org). The full list of GRRM stories outside of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I have read can be found on this page here.
It takes a while to transcribe and then note each story for research purposes, even the really short ones, so this page will be quietly updated as each re-read is added. Make sure you subscribe for updates.
If there is a story in particular you would like to ask about, feel free to do so in comments below.
If you prefer to listen to a podcast that gives synopsis and analysis of stories written by George R.R. Martin, please consider the new group A Thousand Casts to accompany your ears. Twitter or Podbean.
- Bitterblooms– In the dead of deep winter, a young girl named Shawn has to find the mental courage to escape a red fiery witch. Prototyping Val, Stannis, and Arya along with the red witch Melisandre.
- The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr – Discarded Knights guards the gates as Sharra feels the Seven while searching for lost love. Many Sansa and Ashara Dayne prototyping here as well.
- …And Seven Times Never Kill Man– A look into a proto-Andal+Targaryen fiery world as the Jaenshi way of life is erased. But who is controlling these events? Black & Red Pyramids who merge with Bakkalon are on full display in this story.
- The Last Super Bowl– Football meets SciFi tech with plenty of ASOIAF carryover battle elements.
- Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg– first in the Corpse Handler trio, and sets a lot of tone for future ASOIAF thematics.
- Closing Time– A short story that shows many precursor themes for future GRRM stories, including skinchanging, Sneaky Pete’s, catastrophic long nights…
- The Glass Flower– a tale of how the drive for perfection creates mindlords and mental slavery.
- Run to Starlight– A tale of coexistence and morality set to a high stakes game of football.
- Remembering Melody– A ghost tale written by GRRM in 1981 that tells of long nights, bloodbaths, and pancakes.
- Fast-Friend transcribed and noted. Written in December 1973, this story is a precursor to skinchanging, Bran, Euron, Daenerys, and ways to scheme to reclaim lost love.
- The Steel Andal Invasion– A re-read of a partial section of The World of Ice and Fire text compared to the story …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. This has to do with both fire and ice Others in ASOIAF.
- A Song for Lya– A novella about a psi-link couple investigating a fiery ‘god’. Very much a trees vs fire motif, and one of GRRM’s best stories out there.
- For A Single Yesterday– A short story about learning from the past to rebuild the future.
- This Tower of Ashes– A story of how lost love, mother’s milk, and spiders don’t mix all too well.
- A Peripheral Affair (1973)– When a Terran scout ship on a routine patrol through the Periphery suddenly disappears, a battle-hungry admiral prepares to renew the border war.
- The Stone City– a have-not surviving while stranded on a corporate planet. Practically a GRRM autobiography in itself.
- Slide Show– a story of putting the stars before the children.
- Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark– rubies, fire, blood sacrifice, and Saagael- oh my!
- A Night at the Tarn House– a magical game of life and death played at an inn at a crossroads.
- Men of Greywater Station– Is it the trees, the fungus, or is the real danger humans?
- The Computer Cried Charge!– what are we fighting for and is it worth it?
- The Needle Men– the fiery hand wields itself again, only, why are we looking for men?
- Black and White and Red All Over– a partial take on a partial story.
- Fire & Blood excerpt; Alysanne in the north– not a full story, but transcribed and noted section of the book Fire & Blood, volume 1.
If you want to browse my own thoughts and speculations on the ASOIAF world using GRRM’s own work history, use the drop-down menu above for the most content, or click on the page that just shows recent posts -> Recent Posts Page.
Thank you for reading the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!