As famous as he is, George R.R. Martin is not above Googling himself. At least that’s the only sensible explanation for how he “stumbled on” a video clip from a 1991 interview with him in which the soon-to-be-acclaimed fantasy author was asked about his thoughts on… science fiction.
The interview was with the University of Calgary’s campus TV station NUTV, which dug the clip out of its own archives and bestowed it upon YouTube back in 2017, only for George to share it on his blog (via Winter Is Coming) last week:
Martin’s belief that sci-fi has an unjustified rap for being predictive of the future is an astute observation that’s absolutely correct—authors can try, but they’re always going to be myopic about what the future holds. As Martin says, they may get something right, but they get far, far more wrong. And that’s fine, because they’re not writing for audiences in the future, but for those in the present.
If you’re confused why the unseen interviewer asked Martin about sci-fi, it’s because he wasn’t known for his fantasy work in 1991, but instead his science fiction and horror work like Nightflyers, Sandkings, the Wild Cards superhero anthology, and “The Thousands Worlds” stories. If you’re confused about his hair, well, so is Martin. “I don’t remember that hair. My hair was dark brown when I was young,” Martin wrote. “When I got older, it went to gray and then white. Judging from this clip, I guess 1991 was when it changed, but I don’t ever recall it being half-and-half like that, or having a dark beard with white hair. But I guess I did.”
In 1991, Martin started work on A Game of Thrones, the first book in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire series. After it was published in 1996, I assume very few people have asked GRRM about science fiction since.
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