With the explosion of popularity that Game of Thrones has brought to the Song of Ice and Fire novels, author George R.R. Martin is currently experiencing some serious widespread acclaim. Though his fantasy epic has enjoyed brisk sales and a devoted fandom for almost two decades, the HBO adaptation of his novels has thrust the once-niche writer into the mainstream.
Martin has definitely had a direct hand in the shaping of Game of Thrones, even though he's only been credited with writing one script per season (so far). Now, it looks as if HBO wants Martin's talents for arenas beyond the adaptation of his magnum opus.
Deadline has reported that George R.R. Martin has signed a two-year contract with HBO to both executive-produce Game of Thrones and develop an unspecified number of new series for the network. Game of Thrones is not Martin's first foray into televised entertainment; in fact, he spent a good deal of his early career in television. He wrote several episodes of the mid-80s revival of The Twilight Zone and contributed heavily to the 1987 Beauty and the Beast series that starred Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Linda Hamilton (Terminator).
Any speculation on the content of these new series is fruitless at the moment, but that won't stop us from making some stabs in the dark. As a lifelong genre writer, Martin will likely be producing science fiction or fantasy properties. As far as adaptations of previous material are concerned, there isn't much to go on – other than A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin hasn't written many stories that could support a full television series. For instance, the novel Fevre Dream – which features vampires piloting riverboats down the Mississippi River – would make for a delightful miniseries, but probably could not support something more extensive.
Unfortunately, the most obvious candidate for an adaptation, Wild Cards, has already been optioned by Syfy. A series of novellas and short stories that Martin edits (and sometimes contributes to), Wild Cards collects many different tales of an alternate Earth where an alien "gene bomb" has created two classes of super-powered beings – "Aces," who receive gifts without strings attached, and "Jokers," who are painfully and often horrifically physically disfigured. An HBO-produced version of the series might have been quite interesting indeed.
In any event, more of Martin's writing on television is an exciting prospect. Not only does he come from a solid television background, he also penned two of Game of Thrones best scripts ("The Pointy End" and "Blackwater"). Let's just hope that his new duties don't interfere too heavily with finally finishing The Winds of Winter.
Game of Thrones will ride back onto HBO on March 31st, 2013.