David Gerrold

David Gerrold
David Gerrold
Born January 24, 1944 (1944-01-24) (age 67)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Author
David Gerrold Online

Jerrold David Friedman (born 24 January 1944, in Chicago, Illinois), better known by his pen name David Gerrold, is an American science fiction author who started his career in 1966 while a college student by submitting an unsolicited story outline for the television series Star Trek. He was invited to submit several premises, and the one chosen by Star Trek was filmed as "The Trouble with Tribbles" and became one of the most popular episodes of the original series. Gerrold's novelette "The Martian Child" won both Hugo and Nebula awards.


Star Trek

Star Trek: The Original Series

Within days of seeing the Star Trek series premiere "The Man Trap" on 8 September 1966, Gerrold wrote a sixty-page outline for a two-part episode called "Tomorrow Was Yesterday", about the Enterprise discovering a generation ship launched from Earth centuries earlier. Although Star Trek producer Gene L. Coon rejected the outline, he realized Gerrold was talented and expressed interest in him submitting some story premises. Bearing preliminary titles and, in some cases, preliminary character names, Gerrold submitted five premises.

Two of the submissions of which he had little recollection involved a spaceship-destroying machine, similar to Norman Spinrad's "The Doomsday Machine", and a situation in which Kirk had to play a chess game with an advanced intelligence using his crew as chess pieces. A third premise, "Bandi", involved a small being running about the Enterprise as someone's pet, and which empathically sways the crew's feelings and emotions to comfort Bandi, and if necessary at someone else's expense. Gerrold noted, in retrospect, that it would not be like the Enterprise crew to have such attitudes against Kirk as Bandi induced, and that he might instead set the episode on another ship where laxity has been reported.

A fourth premise, "The Protracted Man", applied science fiction to use an effect seen in West Side Story, when Maria twirls in her dancing dress and the colours separate. Gerrold's story involved a man transported from a shuttlecraft trying out a new space warp technology. The man is no longer unified, separating into three visible forms when he moves, separated by a fraction of a second. As efforts are undertaken to correct the condition and move the Enterprise to where corrective action can be taken, the protraction worsens. According to Gerrold, while they liked this idea, it was deemed too expensive in regards to the special effects required.

Since I first wrote that damn script for Gene / and the electrical picture machine / Tribbles have chased their creator / From here to Decatur / Nobody knows of the tribbles I've seen.

—David Gerrold[1]

The fifth premise, "The Fuzzies", was also initially rejected by Coon, but a while later he changed his mind and called Gerrold's agent to accept it. Gerrold then expanded the story to a full television story outline entitled "A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…", and it eventually became "The Trouble With Tribbles". The name "Fuzzy" was changed because H. Beam Piper had written novels about a fictional alien species of the same name (see Little Fuzzy). The script went through numerous rewrites, including, at the insistence of Gerrold's agent, being re-set in a stock frontier town instead of an "expensive" space station. Gerrold later wrote a book, The Trouble With Tribbles, telling the whole story about producing the episode and his earlier premises. The concept of Tribbles was considered similar enough to the flat cats of Robert Heinlein's novel The Rolling Stones that legal permission was obtained from Robert Heinlein.

This was one of two books Gerrold wrote about Star Trek in the early 1970s after the original series had been canceled. His other was a comprehensive analysis of the series entitled The World of Star Trek. He discussed them at various conventions where he was a frequent speaker and guest. In The World of Star Trek, he criticized some of the elements of the show, particularly Kirk's habit of placing himself in dangerous situations and leading landing parties from the ship himself, and suggested some things he would change about the show if it were to air again. Among these were a Klingon as a member of the crew, a counselor to look after crewmembers' inner lives, and crewmembers allowed to bring their families and children along.

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Gerrold contributed two stories for the Emmy Award winning Star Trek: The Animated Series which ran from 1973 to 1974: "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem". "Bem" featured the first use of James T. Kirk's middle name, which was revealed, in that installment, to be Tiberius. This was later entered into live-action canon in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy are on trial for the death of the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Many of the changes Gerrold had advocated in The World of Star Trek were incorporated into Star Trek: The Next Generation when it debuted in 1987. In particular, Gerrold can be credited   for reshaping the position of "first officer" as the ship's executive officer and commander of "away teams" (to overcome the unrealism of the ship's captain routinely beaming into dangerous situations). He parted company with the producers at the beginning of the first season, after a dispute before the Writers' Guild in which the Guild required that Gerrold be paid additional wages for the work he did helping to create the series, because he had largely written the show's bible rather than Gene Roddenberry. He was awarded cash but chose to forgo additional credit.

Gerrold wrote an unproduced script that would have had an allegory to the AIDS pandemic along with some brief scenes with two Star Fleet crewmembers that would have subtly been identified as being a homosexual couple. Gerrold wrote this script in response to being with Roddenberry at a convention in 1987 where he had promised that the upcoming Next Generation series would deal with the issue of sexual orientation in the egalitarian future. The script was rewritten to remove the homosexual couple. This script was later, after substantial rewriting, made a part of Gerrold's Star Wolf planned TV series, and was novelized as a Star Wolf story, Blood and Fire. (See below.)

Post-Trek involvement

Gerrold wrote a script for Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled "Blood and Fire", which included an AIDS metaphor and an incidentally gay couple in the ship's crew. The script was purchased by the TNG producers, but eventually shelved. Gerrold eventually reworked it as a novel, Blood and Fire, the third book in the Star Wolf series (see below). He later contributed the script to Star Trek: New Voyages, where the script was reworked by staff writer Carlos Pedraza to place the story in the time frame of Star Trek: The Original Series, and to introduce a homosexual couple on the Enterprise. Gerrold went on to direct the New Voyages episode in 2007.

Gerrold had always wanted to appear onscreen in an episode of Star Trek, particularly "The Trouble with Tribbles". The character of Ensign Freeman, who appears in the famous bar scene with the Klingons, was originally intended by Gerrold to be a walk-on part for himself, although another actor eventually took the role. While Gerrold appeared as a crewman extra with other Trek fandom notables in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, he did not get the chance to appear in a Trek series until Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when he appeared as a security guard in "Trials and Tribble-ations", set during the very same time frame as his original episode.

Gerrold also published a novelization of the Star Trek: The Next Generation series premiere "Encounter at Farpoint", published in 1987, and an original Star Trek novel titled The Galactic Whirlpool, published in 1980. The Galactic Whirlpool was based on the story outline "Tomorrow Was Yesterday". (It has been suggested that the "Specs" character in that novel was Gerrold himself.) In 2006, for the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, he co-edited, with Robert J. Sawyer, an essay collection titled "Boarding the Enterprise".

Other television work

After his early success with "The Trouble with Tribbles" Gerrold continued writing television scripts (mostly for science fiction series such as Land of the Lost, Babylon 5, Sliders, and The Twilight Zone).

Early science fiction novels

His science fiction novels, of which the best known are The Man Who Folded Himself (1973), about a man whose experiments with a time machine distorts the details of his life and reality, and When HARLIE Was One (1972), the story of an artificial intelligence's relationship with his creators. When HARLIE Was One was nominated for best novel for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. This novel is notable for being the first to use the term "virus" to describe a computer virus. A revised edition, entitled When HARLIE Was One, Release 2.0, was published in 1988, incorporating new insights and reflecting new developments in computer science.

The War Against the Chtorr

Gerrold is the author of the War Against the Chtorr series of books, about an invasion of Earth by mysterious aliens: A Matter for Men (1983), A Day for Damnation (1985), A Rage for Revenge (1989), and A Season for Slaughter (1993). As of 2010, he is still writing the fifth book (A Method For Madness), and has contracted to write a sixth (A Time For Treason). The ending chapters of the series have been set aside for the seventh and final book, which will be A Case For Courage. As of 2007, he said he was only four sequences away from completing book five. The first two books exist in both "original" and "extended" versions.

The alien invasion is an ecological one. Instead of earthlings Terraforming another planet, the aliens are "Chtorraforming" Earth. Instead of armies, the unseen aggressors gradually unleash plants and animals from their older, more evolved planet (which is indicated as being perhaps a half billion years older than Earth, and evolved into a higher effective competitiveness). These outcompete and displace their terrestrial counterparts and Earth becomes more and more Chtorr-like as the "war" progresses. With each book, additional layers, features, creatures, details and characteristics are exposed. The Chtorran ecology created by Gerrold is so complex there was at one time rumored to be a "Red Book" in the works - an illustrated field guide to Chtorran wildlife.

One reason given by Gerrold for the length of time taken between books 4 and 5 is the need to develop a writing style called "first person psychotic". Indications are that the central character attempts to survive by adaptation without being absorbed by the alien ecology, descends into his own personal version of living hell, or both. The 5th book is available for preorder at a major online seller.[2] The date is given as July 2011. Publication dates have been set for the 5th book in the past, however, and been unfulfilled. When queried about the July 2011 release date, Gerrold himself has cryptically commented that it would not "make it through the pipeline" by then. Whether this means that the book is forthcoming but will be released later in the year, or whether it is simply still in limbo, is unclear.

Portions of the remaining books have made it into print, however. Gerrold released to fans a cliffhanger teaser chapter from Method for Madness. In his collection The Involuntary Human (ISBN: 978-1-886778-68-X), he included "It Needs Salt" (as a portion of the planned but not formally scheduled Time for Treason). Finally, he also published the story "Enterprise Fish" in a volume of Thrilling Wonder Stories, (ISBN: 978-0-9796718-1-4; Ed. by Winston Engle). "Enterprise Fish" is described as an excerpt from Time For Treason. The Chtorr series and its central character have moved through stages of development with each book in the series, with another layer of the Chtorran ecology explained and understanding of it unveiled with each successive book. "It Needs Salt" and "Enterprise Fish", therefore, should be treated as containing spoilers.

Star Wolf

Gerrold is also the author of the Star Wolf series of books, centered on the star ship Star Wolf and its crew: Voyage of the Star Wolf (1990), The Middle of Nowhere (1995), Blood and Fire (2004), and Yesterday's Children (1972) which is actually an earlier novel that features the same main character, later significantly expanded and republished as Starhunt (1985)—it occurs prior to the other novels in the series' main continuity. The initial germ of Yesterday's Children was the "framing" story in his early Star Trek proposal "Tomorrow was Yesterday", much altered over time. Gerrold had planned to develop this concept into a TV series, as he writes in an introduction to Voyage of the Star Wolf. The Star Wolf series reflects Gerrold's contention that, due to the distances involved, space battles would be more like submarine hunts than the dogfights usually portrayed—in most cases the ships doing battle would not even be able to see each other.

Other works

He also wrote the non-fiction book Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, published in 2001.

The Martian Child is a semi-autobiographical novel, expanded from a novelette of the same name, based on the author's own experiences as a single adoptive father, with most of the key moments drawn from actual events. The novelette won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and a movie version was released in November 2007, with John Cusack playing the adoptive father. There is some controversy surrounding this character, as David Gerrold and his character in the novel are both gay, but in the movie he is a straight widower.[3][4]

In 2000, his long-time admiration of the works of Robert A. Heinlein led him to create a new series, called The Dingilliad. It follows a resourceful teenager and his family as they try to begin a new life. Although not necessarily canon, there are hints that it ties into the War Against the Chtorr universe, with everything from the plagues to the rumored appearance of a giant purple worm (similar cross-universe tie-ins occur in Gerrold's Trackers books). The Dingilliad trilogy consists of Jumping Off The Planet (2000), Bouncing Off the Moon (2001), and Leaping to The Stars (2002). Jumping off the Planet received the 2002 Hal Clement (Young Adult Award) for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction Literature [5]

In 2005, Gerrold was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in Telluride, Colorado.



The War Against the Chtorr

  1. A Matter for Men (1983)
  2. A Day for Damnation (1984)
  3. A Rage for Revenge (1989)
  4. A Season for Slaughter (1992)
  5. A Method for Madness (projected)
  6. A Time for Treason (projected)
  7. A Case for Courage (projected)

Star Wolf

  1. Yesterday's Children (aka Starhunt) (1972, rv.1980)
  2. Voyage of the Star Wolf (1990)
  3. The Middle of Nowhere (1995)
  4. Blood and Fire (2004)

The Dingilliad

  1. Jumping Off the Planet (2000)
  2. Bouncing Off the Moon (2001)
  3. Leaping to the Stars (2002)


  1. Under the Eye of God (1993)
  2. A Covenant of Justice (1994)

Star Trek novels

  1. The Galactic Whirlpool (1980)
  2. The Trouble With Tribbles (photonovel) (1977)
  3. Encounter at Farpoint (1987)

Other novels


  • With a Finger in My I (1972)
  • Alternate Gerrolds (2005)
  • The Involuntary Human (2007)

Anthologies (editor)

  • Protostars (1971) (with Stephen Goldin)
  • Generation (1972)
  • Science Fiction Emphasis 1 (1974)
  • Alternities (1974)
  • Ascents of Wonder (1977)


  • The Trouble With Tribbles (1973)
  • The World of Star Trek (1973, rv.1984)
  • Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy (2001)
  • Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix (2003) (with Glenn Yeffeth)
  • Boarding the Enterprise: Transporters, Tribbles, and the Vulcan Death Grip in Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek (2006) (with Robert J. Sawyer)


  1. ^ "David Gerrold - The Trouble with Tribbles writer". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/st/interviews/gerrold/printpage.html. Retrieved May 07, 2011. 
  2. ^ Gerrold, David (2011). Method for Madness. Tor Books. ISBN 9780765340382 
  3. ^ Juergens, Brian (2007-04-04). "The Martian Child: where'd the gay go? | Movie Reviews, Celebrity Interviews & Film News About Gay & Bisexual Men". AfterElton.com. http://www.afterelton.com/blog/brianjuergens/the-martian-child-whered-the-gay-go. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  4. ^ Pols, Mary (11 February 2007). "'Martian Child': Won't send you into orbit". Contra Costa Times. http://www.contracostatimes.com/movies/ci_7350457?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2011-02-10. ""Martian Child" is based on science fiction writer David Gerrold's novel, which was inspired by his own adoption, as a single gay man, of a boy named Dennis. David and Dennis may have struggled mightily in real life, but this is movie land, where every obstacle seems infinitely surmountable (and apparently, it is more marketable to be widowed, rather than gay)." 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]

See also

Book collection.jpg Novels portal

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • David Gerrold — (* 24. Januar 1944 in Chicago als Jerrold David Freedman) ist ein US amerikanischer Drehbuchautor und Schriftsteller von Fantasy und Science Fiction Romanen. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke 2.1 Serien …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • David Gerrold — Nom de naissance Jerrold Friedman Activités Romancier, scénariste, essayiste Naissance 24 janvier 1944 (1944 01 24) (67 ans) Chicago, Illinois …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Star Wolf (David Gerrold) — The Star Wolf series of novels by David Gerrold is centered on the star ship Star Wolf and its crew. The Star Wolf is a Liberty Ship, officially designated the LS 1187. Plagued by misfortune throughout the series, without any confirmed kills to… …   Wikipedia

  • Gerrold — David Gerrold (* 24. Januar 1944 in Chicago als Jerrold David Freedman) ist ein US amerikanischer Drehbuchautor und Schriftsteller von Fantasy und Science Fiction Romanen. Leben Zu seinen bekanntesten Werken zählt die Drehbuchvorlage für die Star …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • David (name) — David, Davit Michelangelo s statue of the biblical David. Pronunciation /ˈdeɪvɪd/ Gender …   Wikipedia

  • David Cross — For other people named David Cross, see David Cross (disambiguation). David Cross at the 2007 Plug Awards Born April 4, 1964 (1964 04 04) (age 47) …   Wikipedia

  • David Cross —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir David Cross (musicien).   Pour l’article homonyme, voir David Cross (footballeur).  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The War Against the Chtorr —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Trouble With Tribbles — Star Trek: The Original Series episode Captain Kirk up to his chest in tribbles Episode no. Episode 44 …   Wikipedia

  • List of Star Trek novels — This is a list of the various Star Trek novels, novelisations, and short story collections that have been published since 1968. Through this time, three main companies have published Star Trek fiction: Bantam Books (from 1967 to 1981), Ballantine …   Wikipedia