George R. R. Martin's 'Thousand Worlds' Universe Wiki

This is a full list of "Thousand Worlds" stories, organised by in-universe chronology. The stories are ordered based on a mix of historical contexts, spatial proximity and narrative cohesion.

During the Federal Empire

With Morning Comes Mistfall (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1973): This short story is set on the planet of Wraithworld during the period of the Federal Empire. It is about a journalist tasked with covering a new scientific expedition to map the planet. The scientists also seek to prove or disprove the existence of Wraiths, legendary lifeforms that purportedly haunt the planet's wilderness.

Warship (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1979): This short story is set in space on a return journey to Earth during the period of the Federal Empire. It is about a warship whose crew has become infected with a deadly virus, killing all but one of them.

During the Double War

The Hero (Galaxy, 1971): This short story is set on an unknown planet in the Manrealm during the Double War. It is about a soldier who is seeking retirement from the military and hoping to live a more exciting life on Earth. His superior officer however does not want him to retire, and tries to convince him to re-enlist.

Men of Greywater Station (Amazing Stories, 1976): This novelette is set on the Manrealm planet of Greywater during the Double War. It is about a group of a scientists working on a hostile alien planet, who witness a soldier transport ship crash landing on the planet's surface.

During the Interregnum

Bitterblooms (Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, 1977): The novelette is set on an unknown planet during the Interregnum period. It is about a girl who gets lost is the woods in deep winter. She is rescued by a magical woman who takes her back to her spaceship.

In the House of the Worm (The Ides of Tomorrow: Original Science Fiction Tales of Horror, 1976): This novella is set on an unknown planet during the Interregnum period. It is about a young man who lives a life of privilege in a crumbling underground city. When he is humiliated at the hands of a crafty hunter, he and his high-born friends plot revenge.

After the Interregnum

Nightflyers (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1980): This novella begins on Avalon, but mostly takes place in a distant region of Jambles space, during the post-Interregnum period. It is about the crew of a starship which is heading into the outer reaches of known space in search of a legendary alien race. Soon, however, the crew discovers that there is something dangerous onboard.

Starlady (Science Fiction Discoveries, 1976): This novelette is set on the Jambles planet of Thisrock during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a young woman who finds herself trapped on a dangerous crime-ridden planet and is forced into a life of prostitution.

This Tower of Ashes (Analog Annual, 1976): This short story is set on the Jambles planet of Jamison's World during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a man who is heartbroken over a failed relationship and has exiled himself to an alien wilderness.

And Seven Times Never Kill Man! (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1975): This novelette is set on the Jambles planet of Corlos during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a conflict between the pacifist tribes of the Jaenshi and an invading militant religious sect called the Steel Angels.

Dying of the Light (Simon & Schuster, 1977): This novel is set on the Fringe planet of Worlorn during the post-Interregnum period, around the year ai-600. It is about a man named Dirk t'Larien, who is summoned across the galaxy to Worlorn by a whisperjewel, held by a love he thought he'd lost. But he discovers that Worlorn is dying, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew.

The Runners (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1975): This short story is set on the Manrealm planet of Old Poseidon during the post-Interregnum period. It is about telepath who is approached by a paranoid man who believes there is a conspiracy against him.

Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg (Amazing Science Fiction, 1976): This short story is set on the Manrealm planet of New Pittsburg during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a corpse-handler returning to his home planet, which is controlled by a sinister and oppressive company.

Override (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1973): This novelette is set on the Fyndii Space planet of Grotto during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a corpse-handler mining stones on a lush planet, when a rich investor threatens shut down the mines.

Meathouse Man (Orbit, 1976): This novelette is set on the Manrealm planets of Skrakky and Vendalia during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a lonely corpse-handler who has trouble connecting with people and visits corpse brothels to feel human intimacy.

Sandkings (Omni, 1979): This novelette is set on the Manrealm planet of Baldur during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a jaded dilettante who purchases a few organisms of an alien species for entertainment, but when he fails to care for them properly they develop into a threat.

The Way of Cross and Dragon (Omni, 1979): This novelette is set on the Fyndii Space planet of Arion during the post-Interregnum period. It is about a priest of the Interstellar Catholic Church of Earth investigating a sect that reveres Judas Iscariot.

A Song for Lya (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1974): This novella is set on the Fyndii Space planet of Shkea during the post-Interregnum period. It is about two Talents who visit an alien planet to find out why the inhabitants worship a mold-like parasitic organism and ultimately choose to be consumed by it.

The Glass Flower (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, 1986): This novelette is set on the Fyndii Space planet of Croan'dhenni during the post-Interregnum period, around the year ai-750. It is about a bodyswapper who has lived for generations. She is challenged by a cyborg who also wants to gain the ability to bodyswap, not to extend his life, but to end it.

The Stone City (New Voices in Science Fiction: Six Stories by Campbell Award Nominees, 1977): This novelette is set on the Damoosh Space planet of Grayrest during the post-Interregnum period, around the year ai-800. It is about a man whose ship and crew have been stranded on an alien planet for months, and whose only chance of escape is to explore an ancient underground city.

Tuf Voyaging (Baen Books, 1986)

This novel is set across several planets in the Jambles, Fyndii Space and the Manrealm. Events take place during the post-Interregnum period, around the year ai-1000. It concerns the (mis)adventures of Haviland Tuf, a solitary space trader who inadvertently becomes the master of the Ark, an ancient and powerful warship with advanced ecological engineering capabilities. Tuf travels the galaxy, offering his services to worlds with environmental problems, and sometimes imposing solutions of his own. The chapters of Tuf Voyaging were originally published as short stories over several years, before they were collected and revised into a single novel.

  1. "The Plague Star"
  2. "Loaves and Fishes"
  3. "Guardians"
  4. "Second Helping"
  5. "A Beast for Norn"
  6. "Call Him Moses"
  7. "Manna from Heaven"

Unfinished Works

Avalon (????): This is an unfinished novel set on the Jambles planet of Avalon. Martin began working on it in 1991, and according to him, it was to be "the story of three students from very different cultures thrown together at Avalon’s Academy of Human Knowledge, the opening act of a much larger story that I thought of as an SF War and Peace." Writing was purportedly going "pretty good," but then after 30 pages, Martin had the sudden idea of a boy seeing a man's beheading and finding direwolves in the snow, which would eventually become the first non-prologue chapter of A Game of Thrones. Martin recalls that:

"It just came to me so strongly and vividly that I knew I had to write it. I sat down to write, and in, like, three days it just came right out of me, almost in the form you’ve read."

He put Avalon aside, and after a few more chapters, Martin perceived his new book as a fantasy story and started making maps and genealogies. These drafts would eventually develop into his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. In 2001, when he was asked whether he would ever finish Avalon, he replied: "Well, perhaps. Hard to say. Just now I am not looking past A Song of Ice and Fire."

Semi-Canonical Works

These three works do not contain any obvious connections to the "Thousand Worlds" universe. They do not mention any shared events, worlds or species. Also, they are primarily fantasy texts, rather than science-fiction. However, they do cite an element of mythology which appears in the story And Seven Times Never Kill Man! Namely, they each contain references to a deity known as Bakkalon of Corlos, or the "Pale Child". In the "Thousand Worlds" universe this deity is worshipped by the Steel Angels, a military-religious sect. It is unclear whether Martin is linking these stories into the shared canon, or if he is merely recycling a concept or offering a meta-textual nod to a previous work. The three works in question are:

Only Kids Are Afraid of the Dark (Star-Studded Comic #10, 1965): This is a fantasy superhero short story by Martin. It was his contribution to the comic book series Dr. Weird, created by Larry Herndon, Buddy Saunders and Howard Keltner, and running from 1963 to 1972. Martin's story takes place in the realm of Corlos, an evil dimension of demonic horrors ruled by Saagael. Saagael is waiting to be unleashed upon Earth to destroy human souls. Jasper and Will, two treasure thieves that are fleeing from the natives of Corlos, seek refuge in the temple of Saagael.

  • While neither Bakkalon nor the "Pale Child" are mentioned, the story is set in the realm of Corlos, which in And Seven Times Never Kill Man! is described by the Steel Angels as the mythical kingdom of Bakkalon. However, it should be noted that the Corlos in that story is nothing like the world described in Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark.
  •  Martin states in the anthology Dreamsongs that he created the deity of Bakkalon for future use in his contributions to the Dr. Weird series, but never ended up using it. 

The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr (Fantastic, 1976): This is a fantasy short story by Martin. It is about a lady named Sharra who traverses the gates between worlds and on a mysterious quest. These gates are guarded by the Seven dark gods. The story is about the brief time she pauses in the world of the lonely singer Laren Dorr.

  •  When Sarra expresses her desire to continue exploring other worlds, Laren Dorr warns her: “Be careful how you go. Even your crown will not help you should they move on you directly. And the pale child Bakkalon will tear at you, and Naa-Slas feed upon your pain, and Saagael on your soul."
  •  Like Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark, this story was meant to be an entry in the Dr. Weird comic book series, which may explain the reference to Bakkalon and Saagael. 

A Song of Ice and Fire (Bantam Books, 1996⁠–): This is an series of epic fantasy novels by Martin. Five novels have been published so far, with two more planned for future release. The series tells three main interweaving stories: a dynastic war among several families for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the rising threat of the supernatural Others in northernmost Westeros, and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen, the deposed king's exiled daughter, to assume the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. The novels are extremely successful, both critically and commercially, with 90 million copies being sold worldwide and the series being adapted into one of the most-viewed television shows of all time, Game of Thrones.

  •  In the fourth book A Feast for Crows, Arya Stark notices the statue of a pale infant with a sword. She learns that this statue, the statue of Bakkalon, is most commonly visited by soldiers.
  •  In a preview chapter of the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, Tyrion Lannister mentions the Pale Child to Penny, during the second siege of Meereen, as being another name for death. In another preview chapter, Aeron Damphair has a nightmare of several foreign gods impaled upon the Iron Throne, which includes an image of the Pale Child Bakkalon.
  •  In the companion history book Fire and Blood (2018), Princess Larra Rogare of Lys, wife of Prince Viserys Targaryen, rejects the gods of Westeros, and continues to worship only Lysenni gods, such as "the pale child Bakkalon of the Sword [and] faceless Saagael, the giver of pain."