10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George R.R. MartinCharlie Jane Anders4/01/15 2:29pm59081EditPromoteGo to permalink When George R.R. Martin released A Game of Thrones in 1996, he helped to change the game with his grounded approach to fantasy tropes. At the same time, people sometimes talk as though Martin was the first to bring realism to epic fantasy. So here are 10 other authors who were doing "gritty" fantasy before Martin.