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George RR Martin adapting ’80s werewolf novella into new Cinemax series

George RR Martin is producing an on-screen adaptation of his werewolf novella The Skin Trade, which has now been optioned for television by HBO-owned sister company Cinemax. The Game of Thrones author announced the news via his still-active LiveJournal.

A short story that Martin penned in the ’80s as part of a three-author compilation with Stephen King and Dan Simmons called Night Visions 5, the quirky plot of the story centers around a private investigator named Randy Wade and his partner Willie Flambeaux, who is a werewolf/collections agent.

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The Skin Trade has been lauded as one of the greatest werewolf stories of all time by cult readers, and won the World Fantasy Award for best novella in 1989.

It might have taken the success of the writer’s blockbuster Game Of Thrones franchise to bring it to fruition, but an on-screen treatment of the short story has been a long time in the making, according to Martin.

“Those of you who know the story of Doorways, my ill-fated ABC pilot from the early ’90s, may even recall that it was Skin Trade that I was actually trying to sell back in 1991,” the author said in his blog post, “So we’re a few decades late …”

Given the phenomenal success of Thrones, it makes sense that HBO (and parent company Time Warner) would give Martin another shot to break the bank, especially in the current age of fantasy horror hits, from The Walking Dead and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, to Twilight, iZombie, and so many others.

Screenwriter Kalinda Vazquez (Prison Break, Once Upon A Time) will write the first script, with Martin signing on as an executive producer for the show, without an on-set presence.

With readers, viewers, and presumably those at Martin’s publishing house all currently waiting for the sixth installment of his Game of Thrones book franchise, The Winds of Winter, it’s probably a good move by Martin to refrain from playing a more direct role in adapting the new series.

“While I would have loved to write the script and run the show myself, that was never really in the cards,” Martin said. “I have this book to finish. You know the one.”