25 Years of Spectra: A GAME OF THRONES (1996) by George R.R. Martin


gameofthrones.jpgOkay, this is one of the biggies.
Now, I know they’re all big books–that’s why we’re celebrating them–but you’d be hard-pressed to have read anything in the genre and not have at least heard of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Whether it’s because you’ve read the books or you’ve seen that HBO is doing a show based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series, you know that winter is coming.
Oddly, I came to this series late. In fact, I almost didn’t get this job because I came to this series late. When I was interviewing, Anne Groell (who comments on her own reaction to this book below) asked if I had read A Game of Thrones, and not only had I not, I actually was probably one of the few people who read fantasy who was only marginally aware of GRRM.
This did not bode well for me.
So, with a stack of the four books, I went home that weekend and contemplated what I had done wrong.
And I finished all four books that weekend.
What I had done wrong, it seems, was not discovering these novels sooner. Anne forgave me, and now I get to help with the series, and that’s one of the coolest things about my job.
I’m not saying you’ll get to work at Spectra if you read A Game of Thrones, but I will say you’ll be able to read one of the pre-eminent, genre-changing fantasy series if you do. Happy reading!
–DP, June 2010

Read Spectra’s Senior Editor, Anne Groell, talk about A Game of Thrones


“I have worked on every Ice and Fire novel with George since A Game of Thrones first hit the shelves, but I was not the acquiring editor for this project. In my defense, however, I worked really hard to be (at least in part) the acquiring editor. I was a lowly editorial assistant at Avon when some sample chapters and a few pages of outline started making the rounds on submission, and I distinctly remember thinking: “Oh my god! This… This is going to be amazing!” I probably turned into a veritable gadfly, bugging my boss at the time to make the offer, get it, get it, get it! (I recall being pretty desperate to work on this trilogy, as it was back then.)

But sadly, the news all too quickly came down. Jennifer Hershey at Bantam had made the (slightly) better offer. George would be going to Bantam. I was heartbroken.

But the world works in strange ways. Less than six months later, a job opened up at Bantam. I interviewed with Jennifer Hershey and was thrilled when she hired me on as an Associate Editor. Maybe six months after that, Jennifer got a fantastic job offer from Avon and left Bantam. And I… Well, I finally got my hot, greedy little hands on the project of my dreams. I was finally George’s editor–right where I had always intended to be since I first saw the proposal!

A while after that, the manuscript for A Game of Thrones finally landed on my desk (with resounding thump; I had no idea then that it would be the shortest of George’s manuscripts I would ever edit!), and it was every bit as wonderful as I had expected. The world was rich, complex, beautifully nuanced–and no one was safe. I was in love.

But it wasn’t just me who fell in love with the book. One of the great joys of my publishing career was watching everyone at Bantam, from the publisher on down, fall head over heels for this book. Even before it hit the shelves, George had legions of in-house fans. “Even if you don’t read fantasy,” was the universal message, “read this book. We guarantee you will adore it.” It is a guarantee we still feel utterly confident making to this day.

I have now been at Bantam for over fifteen years, and George’s books have become an inextricable part of the fabric of my existence. I love getting to be one of the first people in the world to read the new book. I love knowing some of the secrets behind the world–although I’m sure there are some George is still keeping secret even from me. I was probably as giddy as George when HBO picked this up for an upcoming series.

And okay, I admit, I also might measure milestones in my life by when George was late with his books. I met and married my husband when he was late with his fourth book. I gave birth to my daughter while he was late with his fifth. (At the time, he and Connie Willis were both several years late with their respective novels. George proposed that they both race me to delivery, and that whoever won got to name the baby. I refused. However, Connie won, delivering Blackout about a month and a half before I gave birth. And I’ve still got George beat by almost 19 months!)

But teasing aside, as I sit here knowing how close A Dance with Dragons is to delivery, I am once again filled with a rush of genuine fan-girl excitement. Like the Starks, I too now have a motto. Only mine is: “The new book is coming!” And it always feels like spring.”

–Anne Groell, Senior Editor of Spectra, June 2010

To see the complete list, click here