Sandkings (1979) by George R. R. Martin

One of the best, and most creative, “Thousand Worlds” stories. It’s a cynical, entertaining, scary look into the mind of a man who’d drive his pets to slaughter each other for amusement, and push them to worship him as divine. It has a very “Twilight Zone” feel to the way the story unfolds and is…

The Way of Cross and Dragon (1979) by George R. R. Martin

A fantastic short story, definitely one of the best in Martin’s “Thousand Worlds” setting. Full of fascinating worldbuilding, strong character writing, interesting plot movements, and great lines like “freedom is cold and empty and frightening, and lies can often be warm and beautiful”. I don’t personally share the same sort of atheist ideology the story…

Bitterblooms (1977) by George R. R. Martin

A melancholy, genre-bending tale, with the science-fiction elements seeping out under the fantasy veneer as the story progresses. There’s a strong emotional core at the centre of the story, but it lacks the creativity of stories like “In the House of the Worm” or “The Way of Cross and Dragon”, or the emotional impact of…

The Stone City (1977) by George R. R. Martin

One of the stronger “Thousands Worlds” short stories. The worldbuilding is really strong here; Martin builds up a very strong sense of place and implied history very effectively. It’s an eerie, Lovecraftian story, quiet and lowkey where many of the other stories in the series are more bombastic, leaning heavier on genre crutches. As always…

Starlady (1976) by George R. R. Martin

A grim, confronting short story in George R. R. Martin’s “the Thousand Worlds” setting. There’s not much of a great hook here, and the worldbuilding and characterisation aren’t nearly as strong as they are in some other of Martin’s short stories written around the same period, but it’s a lean, quick short story, and I didn’t…