I've been a fan of Game of Thrones since I first caught it a couple of years ago, and I've been impressed with the HBO series as I've continued to watch. When Season 1 hit, I pulled out my copies of A Song of Ice and Fire and started the first book, alternatively reading and watching the show. I've found the books to be a trial to get through, but I've ultimately enjoyed them.
I've found Martin's rise to real fame in the last couple of years to be an interesting thing to watch, and it's equally as interesting to look back and remember that he was a fairly prominent SF author throughout the 70s and 80s, and with this past weekend's release of Season 4, it's a good time to look back on his roots.
- Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, by Brian Aldiss: Aldiss notes Martin's role in the late 70s in magazine fiction here, and it's a helpful couple of pages contextually.
- Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1970-1980, by Mike Ashley. Like Aldiss above, Ashley provides some good contextual information on Martin's writing.
- The Heart of a Small Boy, George R.R. Martin: This is a cool autobiographical piece about Martin's upbringing.
- The Faces of Science Fiction: Intimate portraits of the men and women who shape the way we look at the future, by Patti Perret. This is a really cool book. It's portraits of a ton of major SF/F authors, and a little bit about their background, in their own words.
- Martin, George R.R., SF Encyclopedia. This is a helpful biographical sketch of Martin and his place in genre fiction.
Because of Martin's fame, there's been a lot of (well rehearsed) interviews about his background:
- Interview with George R.R. Martin
- George R.R. Martin Interview.
- Game Of Thrones - Interview with George R.R. Martin
I would also be remiss if I didn't point to two of Martin's stories, currently online at Lightspeed Magazine: