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The Armageddon Rag

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  2,625 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
“The best novel concerning the American pop music culture of the sixties I’ve ever read.”—Stephen King

From #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin comes the ultimate novel of revolution, rock ’n’ roll, and apocalyptic murder—a stunning work of fiction that portrays not just the end of an era, but the end of the world as we know it.

Onetime underground j
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Bantam (first published September 1983)
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Jack Tripper
George RR Martin was rising up the ranks in sf/f and horror in the early 80s, winning awards left and right. Coming off his critically-acclaimed Sandkings collection and the highly successful historical vampire thriller, Fevre Dream, Martin's publisher rightfully pushed The Armageddon Rag as "the next big thing." Only no one bought it, and as a result the emotionally crushed author left the world of fiction-writing to become a Hollywood screenwriter instead.

At the time, this was Martin's most am
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Zoran Krušvar
Oct 23, 2012 Zoran Krušvar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is very important book for my relationship with mr. Martin. :-))

When "Song of Ice and Fire" started to get published in my country (Croatia) I was in a phase when I wanted to boycott all US products, because of US attack on whatever country US was attacking at that time.

At that point, major question for me was: shall I buy this "Game of Thrones" book by this US writer, or shall I boycott it as any other US product?

Fortunately, I have previously read "Armageddon Rag" and I've decided that t
...more
Ben Babcock
Did you know George R.R. Martin wrote novels before A Game of Thrones? Yes, it’s true! And you can read them! On paper, even! The Armageddon Rag is a 1980s tale of a journalist-turned-novelist recapturing the zeitgeist of the 1970s music scene. Spurred by a mysterious, sacrificial killing of a music promoter, Sandy Blair discovers that there might be more to it. Someone has a plan to reunite the band Nazgûl—particularly troubling since its lead singer is dead.

Sandy leaves the adult world of resp
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Sherwood Smith
Feb 04, 2014 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
Youth, anger, and rock and roll—three things with the power of magic, especially for those of us who were young in the sixties. In this combination murder mystery and road trip novel, Martin evokes that vividly, and then ponders where it all went.

The opening swiftly sets the scene: as the hippie generation swelled into student protest in the late sixties, the rock band called Nazgûl became the voice of a generation. Their rise to fame peaked on September 20th, 1971, at an enormous outdoor concer
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Sarah
Oct 06, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, music
I read this book at the urging of a number of people, since I write a lot of music-infused SFF and this was a rock n roll fantasy novel. It gets a solid three stars. Very readable, cinematic even. Martin does write music well, and this hits some fine creepy notes. It's an interesting look at the 60s and 70s from the not very far out early 80s. That said, I found the portrayals of women frustrating.
Richard Sutton
Jun 09, 2012 Richard Sutton rated it really liked it
Writers usually have a few stories that bounce around in their heads for years. Some of them eventually make it to the page, while others just circulate and create occasional moodiness or anxiety behind the scenes. As a bonafide, ex-commune hippie... politically, a real "man the barricades" kind of guy, vague feelings of guilt over how I, and my generation, seem to have lost the ideals that seemed so important back then have been circulating for years. I want to sincerely thank George Martin for ...more
Siobhan
I really wanted to enjoy this one more than I did.

I love Martin’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have the most extensive Martin collection, but I have read a decent number. Sadly, however, this one makes the cut as my least favourite George R. R. Martin book. Such a thing really disappoints me as I’d been sure that it would win me over in the end.

Alas, this book was made up of moments where I was really enjoying it and moments where I just wanted the whole thing to be over. To make matters w
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Markus Molina
Dec 29, 2012 Markus Molina rated it it was ok
Okokokok, I love me some George RR Martin, but this book is severely lacking. It is by far the worst I've read from him and in it he accomplishes something I never thought could be possible... he writes some very one dimensional characters!

The story is a gigantic leap from the song of ice and fire world and isn't as cleverly crafted as the fevre dream world. The characters in this book are unlikable and stale. The main protagonist is a close minded, hippie, doucebag journalist who is obsessed wi
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V.J. Chambers
May 19, 2013 V.J. Chambers rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I wanted to love this book. In fact, I did love it, except for the ending. There are so many things about it that are just fantastic. The music, for instance. Even though you can't actually hear it, you can. You know what it would sound like it if it were real. The Nazgul themselves, sort of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles are wrapped up into one super group. The Tolkien influences. The hints of darkness and the imagery of the end and even the Yeats stuff.

But it just didn't come tog
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Jack
Aug 26, 2013 Jack rated it did not like it
It's rare that I hate a protagonist this much. He's emblematic of that "my 60s generation was the best generation, man!" sort of guy. "Today's music sucks, our music was REAL ROCK! Just listen to the lyrics, man!" He's the type prone to baby boomer self-aggrandizement, but without anything to actually show for it. On one level, it seems like Martin is critiquing this 60s-Golden-Age type, but on another level I think we're supposed to buy into his impotent angst and perhaps nod along in approval ...more
Rob
Jun 03, 2011 Rob rated it it was amazing
...The Armageddon Rag is probably the most unusual novel Martin has written. If you look at his development as a writer up to the 1980s one can only wonder what might have happened if he had continued to write novels. The fragment of Black and White and Red All Over that Martin published as part of the collection Quartet: Four Tales from the Crossroads (2001), shows that he was well on his way to delivering another very good and very different novel. One of the good things about the enormous suc ...more
Susan
Oct 22, 2012 Susan rated it did not like it
You'd think that mixing GRR Martin and detective novels, which are one of my favorite genres, would be a good thing. Sadly it didn't work out. In my case because this book is...how Stephen King put it...? "The best novel concerning the American pop music culture of the sixties I’ve ever read." -- and my knowledge and appreciation of pop culture -- any aspect of it, is practically nil. It's wildly different from the other fantasy stories that Martin wrote, with parts of it feeling weirdly biograp ...more
Zoran Krušvar
Mar 24, 2013 Zoran Krušvar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is very important book for my relationship with mr. Martin. :-))

When "Song of Ice and Fire" started to get published in my country (Croatia) I was in a phase when I wanted to boycott all US products, because of US attack on whatever country US was attacking at that time.

At that point, major question for me was: shall I buy this "Game of Thrones" book by this US writer, or shall I boycott it as any other US product?

Fortunately, I have previously read "Armageddon Rag" and I've decided that th
...more
Alan
Oct 04, 2008 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who wonder where we went wrong
The place names are pure music legend:

Woodstock,
Altamont,
Monterey,
West Mesa...

West Mesa?

It is Sept. 20, 1971. The Nazgul, premier rock group of the 1960s, are performing on West Mesa near Albuquerque in front of 60,000 fans when a high-powered rifle bullet rips out the life of Patrick Henry "Hobbit" Hobbins, the Nazgul's lead singer. He dies instantly, and the 60s die with him.

The Armageddon Rag begins 10 years or so later, in the decade foreshadowed by Orwell. The three surviving Nazgul have l
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Shiloh
Sep 20, 2015 Shiloh rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, borrowed, horror
Martin refers to The Armageddon Rag as the book that almost ended his career, and after reading it, I can sort of see why. The Armageddon Rag is a complicated book, equal parts ode to and condemnation of the sixties and the Baby Boomers, with a healthy dose of fantasy and horror thrown in. It's a tough book to pin down, both genre-wise and attitude-wise, and I think a lot of people would find something like this confusing. Also, if you are a Baby Boomer, this book will probably make you mad (Mar ...more
Myles
Aug 08, 2015 Myles rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, the-end, music
The Armageddon Rag: Or, Old Man Martin Yells at Those Kids to Get Off His Lawn is a pretty good book once you get past the bitter out-of-touch quality the narrator and hero brings to the story. I'm all for celebrating the 60s but when your former radical journalist everyman starts sincerely grumbling about the "green-haired teenyboppers" running around these days there's a huge problem. At times the whole book threatens to be subsumed by musty waves of regressive sentiment.

Sandy Blair gets a cal
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Anna
Aug 19, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first George R. R. Martin book. Like, you know, completely written by him, not him together with Gardner Dozois. And it was quite good. I might not really be an expert in 60's music or hippie movement, but this actually made me wish the Nazgul (screw the thingies on top of the letters, meh, too tired) were a real band. They sounded so goddamn _interesting_. 60's rock might not exactly be my cup of tea, for the most part, but I wished for a soundtrack of it to go with this.

I started
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Michael B Tager
Jun 05, 2016 Michael B Tager rated it really liked it
GRRM has a real nice style. It isn't frilly or anything but it's engaging and homeboy strings together the occasional poetic sentiment/line. It deals real honestly with the sense of detachment that so many flower children/Boomers felt in the early 80s. The book sometimes shows its age (it came out in '83) but we all have cracks.
Suki
Sep 18, 2016 Suki rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Scrisa pentru iubitorii de rock, m-a uns pe suflet. nu stiam de ea, a fost cea mai frumoasa surpriza a anului.
Omar
Sep 23, 2016 Omar rated it really liked it
This book was an enjoyable experience, it's not like any I have read before and if it didn't have GRRM's name I definitely wouldn't have picked it up. Having read ASOIAF before this, I could see the similarities in the style of writing despite the great genre differences between the book and the series, Marting even uses dreams heavily and what they signify and if you oaid attention to them you might have picked up a thing or two.

As you can tell by my rating, I really like this book and at times
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Michael
Jan 30, 2015 Michael rated it it was ok
Like a lot of folks, I wasn't quite sure what I was reading when I started Armageddon Rag. I had just finished Fevre Dream by Martin, and the quicker pace of Fevre Dream through me off a bit to start since I started reading Armageddon Rag the same day that I finished Fevre Dream.

As I got deeper into Rag, I got accustomed to the pace. The story definitely took time to develop, and I grew impatient a few times. I had problems identifying with a lot of characters, but I'm chalking that up to me al
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Isblue
Sep 21, 2013 Isblue rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, 2013
This is the first time I've read this book since it was released in paperback, the first time. The book is not science fiction and it's barely fantasy. There are definitely elements of the horror genre. I wouldn't call it a mystery or a thriller though it contains both elements. I think my favourite thing about this book is the descriptive language. You can almost see the dreams and visions he describes, and you will quail. Powerful words give the reader some of the best writing on rock music an ...more
Chris
May 11, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This hardback re-issue of George R.R. Martin's 1983 novel 'The Armageddon Rag' is strikingly eye-catching. The storyline is similarly grabbing. Compared to 'Fevre Dream' and 'A Song of Ice and Fire', this book's fantasy elements are very toned down. Instead, this book examines the power of rock music in our culture. Sandy Blair is a struggling writer/journalist hired to investigate the murder of a very rich rock promoter, most famous for making the Nazgul a world-renowned band.

The novel graduall
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Ivana S.

Such a weird book.
I thought this would be a murder mystery mixed with some good rock music. And it was, for about 1/3 of the story. It was scary and interesting and hard to put down.

2/3 was about music. And it was great! I loved every single description of Nazgul on the stage, of concerts and songs - it was so real that I felt like I was right there, singing with the crowd. Those parts were just brilliant and I enjoyed them very, very much. For some reason, I think that ''Ragin'' would be my fa
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Kerry Hennigan
Originally published in 1983, The Armageddon Rag was reissued in paperback by Gollanz in 2013 when George RR Martin’s books had become worth their weight in gold, thanks to the Game of Thrones TV series.

Rag is a modern murder mystery which journalist Sandy Blair investigates at the request of a former colleague who now runs the magazine Sandy once helmed. Setting aside his stalled novel, Sandy sets out on the trail of a story that links the present murder to events that happened 10 years earlier
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Stephanie
I loved this novel, and the author. this is the first time I've ready his work, and I was addicted from the very beginning. All day long, I couldn't wait to get back to it, and find out what happened next. And as a child of the 60's, I have to say the tone and FEEL of this novel was SPOT ON.
Constantly while reading, scenes played out in my head like I was watching a movie. Novels like this are few and far between, and I was addicted to the sound of the characters and their lives, and their voice
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Cristina Frîncu
Sep 21, 2015 Cristina Frîncu rated it really liked it
Pe la jumătatea cărții am oprit muzica. Nu se mai putea. Din carte bubuiau tobe, scheunau chitare, pufneau cutremure, porneau avalanșe, mi se răscoleau paginile între degete, Pat Hobbins, albinosul rockstar, îmi cresta împrejurul cu vocea lui din altă lume de-mi sîngerau urechile. Mi-am băgat degetele în urechi și nu, de fapt nu-mi sîngerau, dar așa mi le simțeam, probabil că erau prea excitate. Chiar am ascultat muzică dintr-o carte pînă mi s-au umezit urechile de plăcere? Da. Și ochii? Și ei. ...more
Karen
This book turned out to be quite different to how I thought it would be.
At first I thought it was going to be a murder mystery... but it wasn't really.
Then I thought it would be a story about a band.. but it wasn't really that either.
Eventually it became clear that it's a story about the 60's and about a certain guy named Sandy and his friends.
So basically if you're going into this book because it's GRRM & you like Game of Thrones, it's probably not really for you because it is utterly diffe
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Ignacio
Aug 15, 2015 Ignacio rated it liked it
Novela que va de más a menos, con buenas ideas que se vienen abajo con un final lejos de las expectativas creadas. Lo mejor viene por la reconstrucción con un toque sobrenatural de la vida de una macro banda reunida tras una década de separación, y cómo Martin indaga en qué pasó con el espíritu contracultural de los 60. Sin llegar a integrar del todo ambos aspectos pero siendo efectivo. Sin embargo la novela encalla en su último tercio cuando llega el momento de construir su clímax; Martin no sa ...more
Eric
May 20, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
As I was wondering through my home town's shopping centre, this book happen to catch my eye, the paperback version which I found had the eye of mordor on the front cover, being a fan of Tolkien, that peaked my interest.
As you read this review, please be aware that, unlike others who have read this, nostalgia did not effect the impact of this book, as I was born in 1995.
The idea was interesting, a book about sex, drugs and rock and roll, with some paranormal aspects and Tolkien references. The
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
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