You’ll never guess what I’m reading: a high-fantasy novel!

game of thrones.jpg

Yes, you read that correctly, I am reading a high-fantasy novel. The novel that I am reading, if it is not obvious from the image, is George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I have been watching the new HBO series based on Martin’s novels and have been increasingly impressed by the storytelling. Yesterday, I downloaded a sample to my Kindle and started reading and was quite surprised to find how closely the HBO series follows the novel (so far). I was also impressed with the story, so far, so I plunked down the $8.99 and read the prologue and first three chapters yesterday–and I think I’m hooked.

I should point out that there are three things driving this:

  1. I really like the HBO series and I get impatient having to wait a week to see the next episode. Reading the book helps with that.
  2. All I have been reading since January is science fiction and I usually don’t take it in such heavy, sustained doses; having something different will be a welcome contrast.
  3. I haven’t had time to read anything else, but as I announced yesterday, I am switching to a biweekly schedule for the Vacation in the Golden Age posts, meaning I have two weeks to read each issue of Astounding, freeing up more time to write fiction and to read other stuff in addition.

I’ve said before that I am generally not a fan of high fantasy, in part because I thought that J. R. R. Tolkien set the bar so high and defined all that could be done in the genre; that all else was imitation.  Note I say “thought”. One thing I like about Martin’s book so far (and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface) is just how gritty it is. That is not something I’ve come across in fantasy and I must admit that so far, I like it.

We’ll see if it continued to hold my interest. It is a long with, with several books that follow on to it. You can be sure I’ll report back my thoughts on what I’ve read, whether or not I manage to finish the whole thing.


  1. I, like you, have never read an epic fantasy, so, like you, I picked up A Game of Thrones about a week ago. I’m half-way through and loving it. The characters are so mind-bogglingly complex that it’s almost impossible to glimpse even a part of them without reading hundreds of pages from their viewpoints. It is truly a feat to behold and has made me an epic fantasy fan.

    1. Adam, I look forward to reading it. Everyone I know is giving it high marks.

      Also, I’ve got to say that we are of the same mind: I also was pulling for Michael A. Burstein’s “I Remember the Future”. (Michael is a good friend of mine.) I could nominate but not vote last year. This year was the first year I could vote. 🙂

  2. Paul, no kidding. If this keeps up I could soon be reading Jane Austen

    Well, there is that well regarded Mary Robinette Kowal fantasy novel, Shades of Milk and Honey…


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