Gerrold, David 1944-
GERROLD, David 1944-
PERSONAL: Born David Jerrold Friedman, January 24, 1944, in Chicago, IL; son of Lewis (a photographer) and Johanna (Fleischer) Friedman; children: Sean. Education: Attended University of Southern California; California State University—Northridge, B.A.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—9420 Reseda Blvd., No. 804, Northridge, CA 91328. Agent—Barbara Bova, Barbara Bova Literary Agency, 3951 Gulfshore Blvd., PH 1-B, Naples, FL 34103. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Science-fiction writer, 1967—. Taught screenwriting at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, 1982-99.
AWARDS, HONORS: Hugo Award nomination, World Science Fiction Society, 1968, for The Trouble with Tribbles; Nebula Award nomination, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 1972, for "In the Deadlands," and 1977, for Moonstar Odyssey; Hugo Award nomination, World Science Fiction Society, and Nebula Award nomination, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, both 1972, for When Harlie Was One, and both 1973, for The Man Who Folded Himself; Skylark Award, 1979; Nebula Award for Best Novelette, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 1994, Hugo Award for Best Novelette, World Science Fiction Society, 1995, Homer Award, Lambda Award nominee, and winner of the Locus Readership Poll, all for The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son; Spectrum Award, 2001, Hal Clement Award for Young Adults, Golden Duck Awards, 2002, Lambda Award nominee, and Nebula Award nomination, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, all for Jumping off the Planet.
SCIENCE FICTION; EXCEPT AS NOTED
(With Larry Niven) The Flying Sorcerers (novel), Ballantine (New York, NY), 1971.
(Editor, with Stephen Goldin) Protostars, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1971.
(Editor, with Stephen Goldin) Generation, Dell (New York, NY), 1972.
Space Skimmer (novel), Ballantine (New York, NY), 1972.
When Harlie Was One, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972, revised and expanded as When Harlie Was One (Release 2.0), 1988.
With a Finger in My I (short stories; contains "In the Deadlands"), Ballantine (New York, NY), 1972.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (novelization adapted from the screenplay by John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington), Universal Publishing & Distributing (New York, NY), 1973.
The Man Who Folded Himself, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.
The World of Star Trek, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
The Trouble with Tribbles, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
(Editor) Alternities (anthology), Dell (New York, NY), 1974.
(Editor) Emphasis (anthology), Ballantine (New York, NY), 1974.
(Editor) Ascents of Wonder (anthology), Popular Library (New York, NY), 1977.
The Galactic Whirlpool (novelization from Star Trek), Bantam (New York, NY), 1977.
Moonstar Odyssey (novel), Signet (New York, NY), 1977.
Deathbeast (novel), Popular Library (New York, NY), 1978.
Enemy Mine (novelization of movie), Berkeley (New York, NY), 1985.
Encounter at Farpoint (novelization from Star Trek), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Chess with a Dragon, illustrated by Daniel Torres, Walker (New York, NY), 1987.
Under the Eye of God, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
A Covenant of Justice, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Fatal Distractions!: Eighty-seven of the Very Best Ways to Get Beaten, Eaten, Maimed, and Mauled on Your PC (nonfiction), Waite Group Press (Corte Madera, CA), 1994.
Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (nonfiction), Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 2001.
The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son (adapted from a novelette that first appeared in the September, 1994, issue of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.
"WAR AGAINST CHTORR" SERIES
A Matter for Men, Timescape Books (New York, NY), 1983.
A Day for Damnation, Timescape Books (New York, NY), 1984.
A Rage for Revenge, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
A Season for Slaughter, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
Jumping off the Planet, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.
Bouncing off the Moon, Tor (New York, NY), 2001.
Leaping to the Stars, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.
"TALES OF THE STAR WOLF" SERIES
Yesterday's Children, Dell (New York, NY), 1972, revised as Starhunt, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1978.
Voyage of the Star Wolf, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
The Middle of Nowhere, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Blood and Fire, BenBella Books (Dallas, TX), 2004.
The Trouble with Tribbles (episode of Star Trek television series, NBC-TV, telecast December 29, 1967), Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
Also author of a revision of I, Mudd, first produced in 1967, and coauthor of The Cloud Minders, first produced in 1968, both as episodes for Star Trek, and of More Troubles, More Tribbles and Bem, both for the animated Star Trek series. Story editor of Land of the Lost, 1974, and for the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Also author of scripts for Logan's Run, Tales from the Darkside, Twilight Zone, The Real Ghost Busters, Superboy, and Babylon 5.
Gerrold's columns have appeared in Starlog, PCTechniques, Visual Developer, Yahoo, GalaxyOnline, and Galileo. Contributor to Future Life, InfoWorld, PC Magazine, A+ Magazine, Profiles, Creative Computing, and Personal Computing.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A Method for Madness, A Time for Treason, and A Case for Courage, further installments in the "War against the Chtorr" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Author or editor of over forty books and numerous television scripts, David Gerrold "is among the best and most inventive SF writers of his generation," according to a contributor for St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. Gerrold's award-winning novels include When Harlie Was One, The Man Who Folded Himself, Yesterday's Children, and Moonstar Odyssey, as well as the books that comprise his enterprising and entertaining "War against the Chtorr" series. For a young-adult audience, he has also written a science fiction trilogy, the Dingilliad series, including Jumping off the Planet, Bouncing off the Moon, and Leaping to the Stars. Additionally, Gerrold has written of his experiences as the single father of an adopted son in the popular 2002 novel The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son. Indeed, as Colleen Power noted in an essay on the author in Reader's Guide to Twentieth-Century Science Fiction, the teaching of important experiences is at the very heart of Gerrold's works: "Gerrold feels that the most meaningful stories are those which provide an experience, or knowledge, that can be adapted into everyday life." Power also noted that, in general, Gerrold's "characterizations are outstanding . . . , giving his readers rich memories of glorious villains and complex heroes." However, for the St. James critic, "Gerrold's literary career has never quite jelled as it might have." According to this contributor, Gerrold's "ability to move easily between novels and screenplays . . . has arguably distracted him from focusing on either."
For Gerrold himself, his writing is all about "growth," as he once commented in an interview with Contemporary Authors (CA). "Everybody has that one thing inside that he doesn't want to look at too closely because it hurts too much—like being picked last to play ball—that gives him a feeling of insecurity. Whatever it is, there's that one thing. My stories are about the person who suddenly finds himself in a situation where, in order to survive, he must get right down in there, find that part of him that hurts, and deal with it. That's called growth. That fascinates me, the idea of how much it is possible for an individual to grow beyond his or her apparent limitations. That is my central theme, and whether I intend it to or not, it shows up in anything I write, even the easy stuff that's meant just for fun."
Born in 1944, in Chicago, Illinois, Gerrold grew up in California's San Fernando Valley. He was an early fan of science fiction, active also in the fan scene. He once commented that what led him to science fiction as a child was the same thing that leads others there: "It's an escape literature," he noted in his interview with CA. "Children who have trouble adjusting to their environment for one reason or another seek escape; some go into drugs, some go into some kind of fantasy world, some go into science fiction. I had always been an inveterate reader, and I stumbled into science fiction by a fellow named [Robert A.] Heinlein. There was this book labeled Rocketship Galileo, and I said, 'Gee, I like rocketships. That's terrific.' After I'd gone through about six of Heinlein's juveniles, I used the card catalogue to discover that there were about twenty more Heinlein's I hadn't read, and that led me into adult science fiction. I was there for ten years, and then Star Trek came on the air."
By this time, Gerrold had passed through two different high schools, a junior college, had participated in cinema classes at the University of Southern California, and was taking theater courses at California State College—Northridge where he eventually earned his B.A. in theater arts. He had dabbled in filmmaking and had taken some writing courses. However, inspired by the new television show Star Trek and feeling confident in his knowledge of the science-fiction genre, he decided to send in some story ideas to the producers "to demonstrate what I thought a good science-fiction story for television should be," he explained in his CA interview. "Of course it was terribly prideful to think that with no experience at all I could be writing for TV, but it turned out that there were very few television writers who really understood science fiction. Someone who had a grasp of science fiction was more in demand for Trek than someone who understood TV writing, because TV writing doesn't require much intelligence, as the current state of television demonstrates."
In 1967, Gerrold wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles," a script dealing with the havoc caused by harmless looking little furry creatures. Nominated for a Hugo, the script was turned into one of the most popular Star Trek episodes of all time. The episode was identified by Fox TV in a 1997 special as "the most popular science fiction episode in television history," according to information on Gerrold's Web site. Star Trek celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 1996 with a digitally adapted segment of the "The Trouble with Tribbles" mixed in with an episode featuring the cast of the then current Star Trek incarnation, Deep Space Nine.
This early success paved the way for Gerrold to continue with a career in writing. More television scripts followed, and in 1971, collaborating with science-fiction novelist Larry Niven, he published his first novel, The Flying Sorcerers, a humorous look at how one planet makes the changeover from reliance on magic to science and industry. Edra Bogle, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, found this a "hilarious account." Between 1972 and 1973, Gerrold produced nine books, including two nonfiction titles about Star Trek, an anthology, a short-story collection, and five novels. Gerrold's first solo novel was When Harlie Was One, a work nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula. This book deals with artificial intelligence in a realistic and meaningful manner, claimed reviewers. The Harlie of the title is a giant computer. "Examining the problematic morality of a sentient computer," wrote Bogle, "Gerrold speculates on the use of knowledge by humans, the purpose of humanity, and the nature of God." Bogle also found the novel "innovative," yet also felt that the "determinedly upbeat ending undercuts any substantive answers to the question raised."
Space Skimmer, also from 1972, deals with the search for a lost galactic empire, while Yesterday's Children takes the form of space opera, dealing with the mutinous conflict between a captain and the first officer of a space ship. A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement found Yesterday's Children to be "that rare thing in the genre: a study of character." The same reviewer concluded: "Yesterday's Children remains a solidly worked-out SF novel with unusually good characterization." Gerrold later revised this novel as Starhunt, the first of a series of novels (including Voyage of the Star Wolf, The Middle of Nowhere, and Blood and Fire) that "has a strong smell of the sea behind it," according to Tom Easton in an Analog review of The Middle of Nowhere. These novels feature Jon Korie, executive officer of the space ship LS-1187, and his battle against the evil Morthan empire, a race of genetically altered proto-humans. Easton, writing in Analog, also had praise for Voyage of the Star Wolf, calling it "a tale of intense frustration and terror that delivers a lesson or two in leadership." Combined in these novels, as in several others, is the Harlie artificial intelligence of Gerrold's earlier novel. Writing in Science Fiction Chronicle, Don D'Ammassa felt that with Voyage of the Star Wolf Gerrold "singlehandedly elevated [the war-in-space novel] to a level no one else has equaled." Reviewing The Middle of Nowhere in Booklist, Carl Hays lauded this example of "intelligent and entertaining hard sf that remains blessedly free of the militaristic stereotypes rampant in other examples of the subgenre."
Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself, from 1973, "shows a growing maturity of thought and emphasis," according to Bogle. This book takes a premise straight from the pages of Heinlein—a folding or convolution in time wherein the protagonist continues to meet himself in different periods. A nineteen-year-old student, with the aid of a special belt, time travels and meets with a half-dozen different versions of himself at different ages. A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that "Gerrold is such a good writer that he keeps us reading through the most confusing shifts of time, space and character—right into pre-history." A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement had similar praise, calling the book "most impressive," and also noting the "uncanny allegorical force" of the tale.
Following this enormous burst of creativity in the span of only two years, Gerrold slowed down in production for a time, working on screenplays and contributing to anthologies, and living for a time in Ireland and New York. His novel Moonstar Odyssey appeared in 1977, and tells of an artificially habitable planet where the inhabitants choose their gender at puberty. This search for "self-fulfillment," as Bogle describes the theme, is also evident in the 1978 novel, Deathbeast.
Returning to California, Gerrold created the television show Land of the Lost, started teaching creative writing at Malibu's Pepperdine University, and continued working on the first of the novels in his "War against the Chtorr" series. A Matter for Men, the initial novel in the series, eventually appeared in 1983, and the second, A Day for Damnation, was published the following year. These two books set the stage for the series—Earth faced with an alien invasion of a sort inspired by H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds. Indeed, the critic for St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers thought the novels of Gerrold's series present "at least the second-best alien invasion story ever published," next to War of the Worlds. A plague has hit the planet, but soon the survivors discover that this sickness is the first stage of an attack by Chtorran invaders, or worms, huge caterpillar-like creatures with fangs. The worms are not alone in the invasion; they carry the entire ecosystem of their world, a system far older and more vicious than anything on Earth. The battle is seen through the eyes of Jim McCarthy, about twenty at the opening of A Matter for Men. McCarthy grows into manhood over the course of the novels even as Earth is dying around him. The native plants and animals of Earth have been attacked by the Chtorran ecosystems, and McCarthy has lost friends and loved ones to the invaders.
The action continues in A Day for Damnation, and in A Rage for Revenge McCarthy is captured by a group of human-Chtorran renegades. The contributor for St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers felt that the strength of this title lay in the fact that its protagonist "has not, yet, turned into the same caliber of monster as his human and Chtorran enemies." The fourth novel in the series, A Season for Slaughter, explores the themes of "personal responsibility and alienation," according to the same contributor. In this installment, McCarthy continues to learn more about the nature of the Chtorran threat, though it is still unclear if humanity will be able to counter it. Booklist's Roland Green felt that this fourth volume "continues in the classic mold of intelligent action-sf." Writing in Analog, Easton noted that "the series moves from ignorance toward understanding. For McCarthy, this means he's growing up, learning how to be a decent human being." D'Ammassa, writing in Science Fiction Chronicle, had further praise, claiming that this fourth volume "continues the narrative with power and effectiveness." D'Ammassa additionally called the novel "gritty, engaging, and unsettling." Fans are still waiting for the series to continue with the next projected volume in the series, A Method for Madness.
With Under the Eye of God and A Covenant of Justice, Gerrold presents another pair of interlinking books. These deal with an immortal race of vampire-like creatures and dragons, the Regency, who rule a forgotten world in a distant corner of the Milky Way. Two bounty hunters are forced by the Regency to hunt down a fugitive, someone who could possibly overthrow their regime. D'Ammassa, writing in Science Fiction Chronicle, found the first in the duo, Under the Eye of God, "entertaining but maddening" because of Gerrold's use of "farcical humor." A reviewer for Library Journal, however, found the same title an "engaging tale of tongue-in-cheek adventure." In a Booklist review of the second novel in the series, A Covenant of Justice, Denise Winters felt that the author "is able to infuse his electrifying adventures with humor . . . while keeping the action cascading."
Though his books can generally be enjoyed by all ages, Gerrold has also written specifically for the young-adult and juvenile audiences with his "Dingilliad" series, a trilogy that includes Jumping off the Planet, Bouncing off the Moon, and Leaping to the Stars. The books feature the adventures of Charles Dingillian in "a genuinely powerful coming-of-age story," according to Booklist's Roland Green. In the first novel, young Charles 'Chigger' Dingillian and his two brothers are leaving on a trip to the moon with their father, recently separated from their mother. Set in the twenty-first century, the book posits an Earth that is hugely overcrowded. Such trips to the moon are done via an orbiting magnetic elevator system. But Chigger, the middle sibling, soon begins to see that his dad is in fact kidnapping his children from their mother. Through the character of Chigger, readers experience "the smuggling and big-business intrigue that simmers in a world where international corporatism has made all borders irrelevant," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. The same contributor felt that Gerrold writes with "just the right mix of preteen braggadocio and heartbreak." Green, writing in Booklist, concluded, "this is sometimes over-the-top but always recognizably the creation of a major talent."
For Library Journal's Jackie Cassada, this novel also showed echoes of Heinlein's juvenile fiction and "should appeal to YA as well as general readers."
Chigger's adventures continue in Bouncing off the Moon, in which the three brothers move off the Earth, one step ahead of a deadly plague and financial debacle, bound for the moon. There they undergo a series of adventures and misadventures that make them wonder whether someone is out to murder them. A critic for Publishers Weekly had praise for this continuation of the series, calling it an "engaging, believable, and eventually riveting book." Green, however, writing in Booklist, felt that this second title lacked "the exuberant creativity and tight narrative of its predecessor." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews has similar reservations, finding the plot "claustrophobic but probably okay for the YA audience."
Leaping to the Stars concludes the series, with Chigger signing on as a colonist to the Outbeyond—a distant colony of planet Earth—in a desperate attempt to escape the rival powers pursuing him on the moon. In his possession is Harlie, the artificial intelligence which competing powers on the moon seek. Chigger is also accompanied by his two brothers as well as his divorced parents, but on the way to Outbeyond, they are beset by fellow travelers, the fundamentalist group called the Revelationists, who want to destroy Harlie. A critic for Publishers Weekly noted that the book had "obvious" appeal for young adults, "but plenty of adults are also sure to enjoy this thoughtful adventure." Booklist's John Mort also found that Gerrold has a "fresh voice" and that the dialogue between Chigger and his Harlie is "also intriguing—even rather touching." Cassada also commended the novel in a Library Journal review, remarking on the "derring-do in the style of early Heinlein."
Gerrold shares some of the lessons he has learned in his more than three decades of writing in the 2001 Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, a "fairly standard set of the basics," according to Booklist's Green, who predicted that writersto-be "will appreciate his clarity and lack of condescension." Library Journal's Denise S. Sticha observed that "Gerrold passionately discusses the challenges and excitement of writing sf" in this "welcome addition."
A further departure for Gerrold is his 2002 The Martian Child, adapted from a 1994 novelette of the same title. In this expanded version, Gerrold creates a fictionalized memoir of his own experiences as a gay, single father of an adopted son. The book covers the first two difficult years the father and adopted eight-year-old boy were together. "The heart-searing moments are many but never overwritten, thanks to Gerrold's bright, efficient exposition," noted Ray Olson in a Booklist review.
Gerrold has produced an interesting and intriguing body of work since his breakthrough teleplay, "The Trouble with Tribbles." This includes over two dozen novels, and more nonfiction titles and short story collections, along with edited volumes and contributions to anthologies. Praised for his characterizations as well as his unique voice, Gerrold remains humble about the role of a writer. As he concluded in his CA interview, "I believe there's nothing inherently special about a writer; he's just a human being who has learned to use the language precisely enough to be coherent in the communication of his ideas. There are lots of people who have the skill to be writers who just never have the determination to sit down at a typewriter, or the feeling that what they have to say is important enough. But what distinguishes the real writer from the guy who's just putting words on paper is that he is reporting back his experiences; that is, he uses his life as a laboratory and reports back on what he has discovered in that laboratory. It is a continual process of discovery of self, and when a writer is able to report something that he has discovered about himself, he is reporting something that he has discovered about the human condition. When he does that, and other people recognize the truth of it, there is one more piece of truth in the world than there was before, and more understanding."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Authors, Volumes 93-96, interview with David Gerrold, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science-Fiction Writers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1981, pp. 189-192.
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by James Gunn, Viking (New York, NY), 1988.
Reader's Guide to Twentieth-Century Science Fiction, compiled and edited by Marilyn P. Fletcher, American Library Association (Chicago, IL), 1989, pp. 248-251.
St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th edition, edited by Jay Pederson, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Analog, April, 1991, Tom Easton, review of Voyage of the Star Wolf, pp. 181-182; April, 1993, Tom Easton, review of A Season for Slaughter, pp. 160-162; September, 1995, Tom Easton, review of The Middle of Nowhere, pp. 181-183.
Booklist, November 15, 1992, Roland Green, review of A Season for Slaughter, p. 582; April 1, 1994, Dennis Winters, review of A Covenant of Justice, p. 1426; March 15, 1995, Carl Hays, review of The Middle of Nowhere, p. 1313; March 1, 2000, Roland Green, review of Jumping off the Planet, p. 1200; February 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, p. 1034; March 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of Bouncing off the Moon, p. 1233; March 1, 2002, John Mort, review of Leaping to the Stars, pp. 1098-1099; June 1, 2002, review of The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son, p. 1675.
Book World, March 30, 1975.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2001, review of Bouncing off the Moon, p. 222; April 15, 2002, review of The Martian Child, p. 515.
Kliatt, March, 1994, Sister Avila Lamb, review of Under the Eye of God, p. 16; May, 1995, Howard G. Zaharoff, review of The Middle of Nowhere, p. 14.
Lambda Book Report, September, 2002, Thom Nickels, review of Leaping to the Stars, p. 16, Greg Herren, review of The Martian Child, pp. 16-17.
Library Journal, December, 1993, review of Under the Eye of God, p. 180; March 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Jumping off the Planet, p. 132; March 15, 2001, Denise S. Sticha, review of Worlds of Wonder, p. 91; March 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Leaping to the Stars, p. 111.
Locus, February, 1991, review of Voyage of the Star Wolf, p. 56; June, 1991, review of A Rage for Revenge, p. 48; June, 1994, review of A Covenant of Justice, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, February 4, 1974; May 13, 1974, review of The Man Who Folded Himself; January 3, 1977; June 5, 1978; March 6, 2000, review of Jumping off the Planet, p. 88; February 19, 2001, review of Bouncing off the Moon, p. 73; February 12, 2002, review of Leaping to the Stars, p. 166.
Science Fiction Chronicle, March, 1991, Don D'Ammassa, "1990's Novels in Review," review of Voyage of the Star Wolf, p. 28; April, 1993, Don D'Ammassa, review of A Season for Slaughter, p. 33; February, 1994, Don D'Ammassa, review of Under the Eye of God, p. 34; February, 1995, Don D'Ammassa, review of Fatal Distractions, p. 35.
Times Literary Supplement, February 15, 1974, review of Yesterday's Children; June 14, 1974, review of The Man Who Folded Himself.
Village Voice, June 13, 1974.
David Gerrold Home Page,http://www.gerrold.com/ (August 22, 2003).*
"Gerrold, David 1944-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/gerrold-david-1944
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