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SANDKINGS Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1981


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Timescape Books/Pocket Books; 1st edition (November 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067142663X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671426637
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
It has a good pace.
BOOM!
I first read 'Sandkings' in the annual Best of SF edition of OMNI magazine when I was in 8th grade oh so many years ago... I am STILL in awe of this story.
Amazon Customer
Some of the stories in this volume could better be described as horror rather than fantasy or science fiction.
David Rasquinha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read 'Sandkings' in the annual Best of SF edition of OMNI magazine when I was in 8th grade oh so many years ago... I am STILL in awe of this story. When I saw the book at a store several years ago I figured maybe George had taken his amazing short-story and lengthened it to novel-size...or had simply written a sequel or well I didn't really care as long as it was built upon the best short-story I had ever read. I am sorry to say that it was just a collection of short stories
with 'Sandkings' being one OF them. This in NO WAY dimishes how utterly original this story is, though. I'm telling you the last written line of 'Sandkings' is worth the price of the book alone...but please, please do NOT spoil the surprise by skipping ahead and doing so. The main character is flawed in that he loves to be sadistic with these tiny adaptable creatures that learn to revere him as deity. But what happens along the way is horrific...and amazing. Spend an hour or two and read this short story and get to know one of the best novelists of the past 20 years. George R.R. Martin is fast becoming one of THE prominant names in the fantasy field (just check out his 'Song of Ice & Fire' series beginning with 'A Game of Thrones') but he was first a sci-fi author...he's not just good at both, he's fantastic...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Rasquinha on April 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
George R. R. Martin is not just one of the best fantasy or science fiction writers of our time, it is hard to pin him down into any genre. Some of the stories in this volume could better be described as horror rather than fantasy or science fiction.
Sandkings, the title story and easily the best of the lot falls into this category. Simon Kress, a rather unpleasant character, acquires as pets these exotic, quasi insect creatures comprised of a physically distinct body (with brain and alimentary functions) and a number of dispersed mobile units who serve as foragers and warriors. Picture an ant-nest or a beehive, except that the queen is of a vastly higher level of consciousness and intelligence and can command her mobiles to undertake more complex projects. Kress' selfishness and sadism wreak havoc on his pets till they transform from loyal subjects (almost disciples in a way) to something beyond scary. It is as if a people long oppressed finally turn on their master. This is just the bare outline, the story itself is compelling and left me gasping by the end (which I am not going to spoil for you - take my word that it is one of the most gripping finales you will read).
The other stories are shadowed by Sandkings but are excellent in themselves. I particularly liked The Way of Cross and Dragon, a searing look at religion and the religious hierarchy. Also Star Lady, a tale of the loss of innocence on a planet with no rule of law, and then in a way, a strange redemption as well.
The mood throughout the book is dark and this is not a book you want to read in a low mood. I strongly recommend it however as a superb example of storytelling and a sample of the versatility and imagination of George R. R. Martin.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By frenchnj@muohio.edu on April 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The other reviewers had it right: I picked up a copy of this book in a used bookstore because I wanted to get a taste of George R.R. Martin before embarking upon his lengthy epic, "A Song of Ice and Fire." The title story was wonderful, one of the best short stories I've read in years. (I'd put it right up there with Kafka's "The Metamorphosis.") "In the House of the Worm" was quite enjoyable, and of the others the only one that I found disappointing was "The Stone City." All in all this is a strong collection of short fiction that deserves to be back in print, and I'm looking forward to spending some more time with Martin's imagination in the near future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graham on November 28, 2007
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Note that the Kindle download is for the single novelette, "Sandkings", which was a Hugo and Nebula award winner. It's around 50 paper pages.

Simon Kress likes to collect exotic alien pets. His latest acquisition is a large terrarium hosting four separate colonies of "sandkings". He has been told that these are semi-sapient, weakly-psionic hive minds which will happily accept him as their god and which will wage chivalrous war within their terrarium. But Kress is no benevolent overlord and he starves and abuses the sandkings for his own entertainment. Which begins to seem much less wise when the sandkings escape the limits of their terrarium and start developing further...

This is a tightly written tale with a number of surprises. It sets a distinctive mood somewhere between traditional sf and horror and well deserves its awards.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So, I was a young man sitting in a movie theatre waiting for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (with Donald Sutherland) to begin. I happened to overhear two people raving about this story they had read in Omni magazine called "Sandkings." I was so impressed by their reaction to the story that I made a mental note to seek it out myself.
A few months later, I found the back issue of Omni magazine and rushed home to read it. After assimilating the last glorious line of "Sandkings," I decided right then and there that it was my favorite short story of all time.
Nearly twenty years later, it remains my favorite short story.
Admittedly, I'm more of a horror fan than sci fi or fantasy fan, so Sandkings is closer to my heart that his other works. However, if sci fi and fantasy is YOUR cup of tea, you'll also enjoy the other very well written stories in this collection (including "Way of Cross and Dragon" and "In the House of the Worm.")
But I can honestly say that "Sandkings" is worth the price of admission alone. It's a true modern masterpiece.
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