Nightflyers (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Collector
(as T.C. Blake)
Written byGeorge R. R. Martin
Robert Jaffe
Based onNightflyers
by George R. R. Martin
Produced byRobert Jaffe
StarringCatherine Mary Stewart
Michael Praed
John Standing
Lisa Blount
Glenn Withrow
James Avery
CinematographyShelly Johnson
Edited byTom Siiter
Music byDoug Timm
Distributed byThe Vista Organization
Release date
  • October 23, 1987 (1987-10-23)
Running time
89 min
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[1]
Box office$1,149,470

Nightflyers is a 1987 American science fiction horror film based on Nightflyers, a 1980 novella by George R. R. Martin.[2][3] Martin himself co-wrote the film with Robert Jaffe.


The film is about a group of scientists who begin a space voyage to find a mysterious alien being, and in the process are victimized by the ship's malevolent computer.




The film is based on a novella that appears in George R. R. Martin's 1985 short story collection. Originally written in 1980, the 23,000-word novella was published by Analog Science Fiction and Fact. In 1981, at the request of his editor at the time, James Frenkel, Martin expanded the story into a 30,000-word piece, which was published by Dell Publishing, together with Vernor Vinge's True Names, as part of their Binary Star series. In the extended version, Martin supplied additional backstory on several characters, and named secondary characters which were not named in the original version.[2]

Nightflyers is set in the same fictional "Thousand Worlds" universe as several of Martin's other works, including Dying of the Light, Sandkings, A Song for Lya, "The Way of Cross and Dragon", "With Morning Comes Mistfall", and the stories collected in Tuf Voyaging.[4]


Screen and television rights were purchased by Vista in 1984, which produced a 1987 film adaptation with a screenplay co-written by Martin,[5] with writer/producer Robert Jaffe.[3] It was directed by Robert Collector, using the pseudonym "T. C. Blake" as he left before post-production was completed.[3] According to Martin, writer/producer Robert Jaffe probably adapted his script from the shorter novella version, since all the secondary characters had different names than the ones he chose in the expanded version.[2] The film grossed $1,149,470.[6] Martin was unhappy about having to cut plot elements in order to accommodate the film's small budget.[7] While not a hit at theatres, Martin believes that the film saved his career, and that everything he has written since exists in large part because of it.[8]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS, Betamax, and LaserDisc in 1988 by International Video Entertainment.


  1. ^ "Nightflyers (1987)". AFI. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c grrm (16 May 2017). "Here's the Scoop on NIGHTFLYERS".
  3. ^ a b c James, Caryn (1987-10-24). "Film: 'Nightflyers' Science Fiction Thriller". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  4. ^ "OLDIES BUT GOODIES – George R.R. Martin".
  5. ^ grrm (November 27, 2017). "The NIGHTFLYER Flies Again".
  6. ^ "Nightflyers (1987) – Box Office Mojo".
  7. ^ Peter Sagal (September 15, 2012). "'Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin Plays Not My Job". NPR. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  8. ^ grrm (October 23, 2017). "NIGHTFLYERS at the JCC".

External links[edit]