Reviews of GRRM: A RRetrospective (2003)
Review by Noddy (2007-02-03)
Before reading this collection I had not read any works by Martin other than his Song of Ice and Fire novels and two associated novellas The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword. After reading the collection Iím defiantly looking to read his other novels and shorter works.
The collection is divided into nine sections, mostly by period or book type (such as his early or previously unpublished work, his time writing for Hollywood, Tuf Voyaging, Wild Cards etc), and includes thirty two written stories and two screenplays. Each section includes an introduction by Martin outlining his motivation for writing the stories, the background behind the works, and brief introductions to some of the key characters.
Understandably (in my opinion) the stories from the earliest part of Martins career are weaker, which is why I have given this collection an 8 rather than a 9. However the standard of the stories rises quickly and from the third section onwards, all the stories are of a very high quality. My personal favourites were With Morning Comes Mistfall, A Song for Lya, Sandkings, the previously mentioned Hedge Knight, and Portraits of His Children.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Only Kids Are Afraid of the Dark, the first story in this collection and it would be nice if the release of the mass-market Dreamsongs edition of this book led to Martin finally getting some of the wider recognition he deserves.
An absolute must for any Martin fan, this collection is also highly recommended for any Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Horror fan or student of speculative fiction.