Y’all ready for some space football?
There’s nothing that GRRM won’t put into prose.
Drinking swipes? Done that.
Tattooing your hooters? Haven’t we all?
Crawling through the ruins of NYC to add new genetic stock to a dying occupied moon existence? Um, yeah.
Science Fiction meeting tackle and punts of terran sportsball? Oh yes!
At the end of May 2012, George R.R. Martin gave an interview to Sports Illustrated, in which he says:
MARTIN: I do get invitations all of the time to play actual fantasy football, by the way, but I get the feeling that I’d like it too much. I have enough demands on my time. My fans would kill me.
SI: Yes, your fans are known to be very… anxious. If you had to bet, which will happen first: Your next book is published? Or your Jets win a Super Bowl?
MARTIN: Probably my next book.
SI: You sound defeated.
MARTIN: I have to have the next book out in less than five years. And I think the Jets have taken a step back.
SciFi-Football reading begins here…
Run to Starlight. Of the two, this one has far more of the proto-ASOIAF themes and plot devices. Run to Starlight is not part of the Thousand Worlds Universe, but it does share many details that GRRM will pick up again as he developed his 1994 TV series Starport, which is more of an alternative/altered Earth concept. If I were to guess, even though these two stories were written 20 years apart, chronologically Starport seems to come first, then Run to Starlight. In November of 2019, I made a quick trip to NY to pickup a copy of the Starport graphic novel and attend a signing with both George R.R. Martin and artist Raya Golden. If you want to you can Read about it here.
The Last Super Bowl. Published in February 1975, this story is actually two tales in one, as George R.R. Martin covers the last Super Bowl which takes place in January 2016 and interjects the depiction of that Super Bowl, between the Green Bay Packers and the Hoboken Jets, and the downfall of real sports. The sports of 2016 in Martin’s fictional world, have been overtaken in popularity by simulations. There are strong philosophical and social debates that can be made discussing this theme, and to me, disassociating with oneself (reality) in favor of following the status quo is something GRRM readdresses in A Song of Ice and Fire with issues as Kingsguard vows and “just following orders”. And of course there is the money and power ideas of the “three dragons” that control the masses.
Want more GRRMspreading?
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 the main Book Club page will be 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 A Song of Ice and Fire world using George R.R. Martin’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.
Header picture source: Sports Illustrated.
Thank you for reading the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!
I don’t understand anything about football, as it’s not a popular sport here in Belgium, but thanks for the transcription. It was very entertaining and I agree that you can see Jon’s aDwD arc caught between free folk and the bigoted Bowen Marsh & co, and indeed Jon being whisked to another level of command.
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Haha. I live where football is popular and I barely understand it. That’s ok though, it’s still a good story, and I will follow GRRM’s lead on the rules.
Also, yes on the Jon idea, he is advancing along the way and I have a sneaking suspicion his role will rest heavily on the unity role (even with a few more fiery bumps along the way).