David Gerrold

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Name: David Gerrold
Alias(es): Noah Ward [1]
Fandoms: Star Trek: TOS
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David Gerrold is a Star Trek writer and fan.

a page from a con report printed in Hailing Frequency #2 (July 1973), portrays Gerrold at Vul-Con I, photographer not credited
from 1973: The Trouble with Tribbles -- "David Gerrold before Tribbles and after..."
from the second printing of Menagerie #1 in 1974, Joni Wagner employs a photo reference for her illo of Gerrold
Gerrold holding a tribble in 1968 at Fun Con
David Gerrold in the 1975 Futuristic Fashion Show at Equicon


"David Gerrold... received his B.A. from San Fernando Valley State College in 1967, and has worked in a toy store, in a 'dirty book store,' and as a television producer. He got his start in television with the sale of his script, 'The Trouble with Tribbles.' Since that time, he has written and co-written several other scripts for Star Trek... He has written two books on the series, The Trouble with Tribbles and The World of Star Trek, the latter of which is being re-released in connection with Star Trek III [The Search for Spock] as this fanzine goes to press." [1984] [2]

Gerrold is also credited with co-writing the story from which the TOS episode "The Cloud Minders" was adapted by Margaret Armen, and two episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem".

He worked on the early planning of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but quit early in the first season. He describes this experience and his work with Gene Roddenberry in an open letter reprinted with permission at StarTrekdom and dated July 19, 2007. He also talks about it in the 2015 film Chaos On The Bridge.

Gerrold and Tribbles

Gerrold wrote the script for one of the most popular Star Trek: TOS episodes, "The Trouble With Tribbles."

Gerrold himself had a complicated relationship with tribbles.

One of the best ST episodes is "The Trouble With Tribbles." David Gerrold tells an interesting story about it in his book of the same name (Ballantine publishers). He discovered the tribbles were so similar to Martian flat cats in a story by Robert Heinlein that he was afraid he would be accused of plagiarism. He wrote to Heinlein who replied that the basic plot had been used before his book too.[3]

In 1969, Gerrold wrote: "... there are too many fans who have not realized that Star Trek is a broken promise, a vision of things that will never be. These are the rabid little trekkees who get excited at seeing a real tribble (damn it, it's only a powder puff!)." [4]

In either a crafty marketing move with Paramount, or a reflection of Paramount not covering all its bases (possibly both), David Gerrold temporarily got over this disdain and personally sold a lot of tribbles. From a 1972 ad in Star-Borne:

Gerrold's ad for tribbles for sale in 1972 from Star-Borne #4: Small tribbles were $3, fans could buy 10 small tribbles for $20. Large tribbles were $5 a piece, and fan could purchase 5 tribble for $20.

Tribbles are available in the following colors: soft russet, shaggy gray, fluffy white, velvet black, outrageous calico, shocking zebra, and miscellaneous. Pleas specify second and third choices when ordering. Sometimes we run out.

Tribbles are the exclusive creation of David Gerrold, and are copyright in his name. They were created for STAR Trek, and have appeared in "THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES" (live action) and the forthcoming "MORE TRIBBLES, MORE TROUBLES." (animated) .

In 1973, Gerrold combined his tribble sales with yet another fan campaign, this one for Star Trek: The Animated Series, and by proxy, the possibility of a Star Trek movie.[5] From an extensive flyer by Gerrold:

We're trying to generate the biggest mail response in TV history [to encourage viewers for Star Trek: The Animated Series]. We need to reach 100,000 people or more... It's going to cost a lot of money, though, not to mention printing a paper costs. But we're not asking for contributions. We don't want to take your money without giving you fair value in return. That's why this letter is going out with an advertising packet. When you buy a tribble or a book, you're helping us cover the mailing cost to you, but to two other people as well.

In 1974, a fan, Cara Sherman wrote:

DAVID GERROLD ALL OVER THE PLACE, or The Man Who Solded Himself [6] ***David Gerrold is DAGE CO. (Obviously an acronym of DAvid GErrold), and is vending all kinds of books and other things. [snipped: list of books for sale] He is also still selling those... tribbles. Short haired, small (about the size of a hairy ping pong ball), large (about the size of a hairy tennis ball) and immense (about the size of a hairy soccer ball), 2, 4 and 8 dollars a piece; long-haired (same sizes but shaggier), 3 dollars each, 2 for 5, large 5 dollars each, 2 for 9, and immense 10 dollars each or 2 for 16.

I'd tell you what I think, but greed speaks for itself.[7]

In 2016, Gerrold explained that tribbles had their part of making him decide to stop going to cons:

I knew it was time for me to stop going to conventions when I showed up at one and there were thirty people selling Tribbles. You say to them, "You don't have the right," and they say, "Fuck you, you made enough money off Star Trek. Now it's my turn." This was the shift. In '72 or '73, you'd meet the fans, and they were grateful for the opportunity to meet people who worked on Star Trek. By '75 or '76, the attitude was "We own Star Trek now. The studio doesn't care. We do." [8]

Art and Ads Starring Tribbles!

Gerrold and Fandom: Sometimes Complicated

Gerrold is known as the writer of the extremely popular Star Trek: TOS episode 'The Trouble with Tribbles," for his frequent convention appearances, for his marketing of toy tribbles, for his "dulcet voice selling original xeroxed scripts boom over the whining PA system" [at conventions],[9] for what many fans felt to be controversial and offensive remarks during interviews,[10] his essays,[11] and for his behavior at conventions.[12][13]

In early 1976, it was reported that Gerrold had "announced that he will sever all connection with fandom other than normal paid appearances and keeping in touch with friends." [14], but he must have changed his mind.

Gerrold has contributed to several fanzines, both as an interviewee and as a non-fiction writer.


Gerrold was a very, very frequent guest at cons. He often ran the auction, gave presentations and talks, and was a general raconteur.

A fan in 1975 said of Gerrold's appearance at Star Trek Lives! con:

The guests all gave individual talks as well as appearing on the main panel. David Gerrold gave several talks and helped out the convention in other ways as well. Even before I saw David Gerrold at the convention I'd heard of his reputation for being egotistical. After listening to his discussions of writing and succeeding as a professional writer, I realized that he had to have a larger than average ego in order for him to have succeed as he has. The most important piece of advice he gave is "If you can possibly be discouraged, then don't be a writer, because you'll never make it." Thus it's not surprising to me that he's not meek and mild mannered, and that when somebody heckled him from the balcony behind him that he acted as if he wanted t climb up the wall and pull the guy over the railing. He also pointed out that his lack of good humor at that moment was also a combination of his tape recorder having been stolen at the con, and of two helpers who always stopped him when they saw him to check his badge, as if he wasn't recognizable to them after the first day (This was the last day.) [15]

From the 1991 program book for UFP Con:

David Gerrold is no longer studying to be a curmudgeon. He has graduated.

Unwary callers are likely to be greeted with a snarled "What is it now?" or even "This had better be good". He is not a nice man. If you don't believe that, just ask him. (Or any of his friends.) But don't say you haven't been warned. (Anyone who asks David anything before breakfast is suicidal.)

David is not nice - he's committed. Passionately committed to making a difference on the planet.

He doesn't give birthday and Christmas gifts anymore - he gives the money he would have spent for gifts to APLA (Aids Project Los Angeles) - they use it for their necessities of life program, providing basic "life support" for people with AIDS.

He doesn't get gifts from his family or friends either. We spend the money supporting the things he is committed to - ending hunger, ending AIDS, preserving the planet.

David no longer "gives" autographs. Sure, he'll sign your books for you - (he'll even sign them for free) but now he's signing them to raise money for APLA.

David is much more articulate than I am about the things he's committed to - and you'll hear all about them from him. So when he snarls "I am not a nice man!" - believe him. He doesn't waste much of his time on social niceties - he's in too much of a hurry to get on with the job at hand. [16]

In 2016, Gerrold explained his role in Star Trek fan networking:

The first convention had been the only hint that something was happening. Then they were going to do one in '73, which I went to, and six thousand people showed up. The following month in Los Angeles, people showed up there, too. That was the first real hint that this thing was not dead. But the studio said, "Three thousand people is no big thing." You really needed to demonstrate a continuing phenomenon, which had not been demonstrated at that time. So my book was out there, and here were all these fans who did not know that other fans existed. But every fan who got the book got a list of fan clubs and things like that, and every fan found out about other fans. We kept the fan club and convention list updated, so that by the time the conventions started to peter out, we noticed that an incredible network of fans had been created. I don't take credit for all of it, but I claim credit for triggering a large part of it, because I also helped the other conventions build up their lists. Once the process was initialed, it became a chain reaction, and toward the end of '74 and '75, we began to notice that the phenomenon had developed into something really big.[8]

Other Interactions with Fans

One example of Gerrold's complicated relationship is the dedication to the long-running and very influential zine series, Menagerie, in which the editors dedicated the second issue "To DAVID GERROLD, who by keeping 2,000 miles away, helped beyond telling."

Gerrold was also the subject of a con panel at SeKWester*Con called "What is David Gerrold and Why?"

A con report for the 1974 Star Trek Lives by Sharon Ferraro mentioned Gerrold, saying: "David Gerrold was, of course, there, but amazingly, he was a (relatively) good boy. There may be hope for him yet."[17]

A fan in 1974 reported her comments about attending Equicon:

I missed all the good panels. Unfortunately, I did not miss David Gerrold, but he was unavoidable — he emceed the costume contest and managed to insult just about every Star Trek entry somehow. For some reason that guy has mostly contempt for Star Trek fen. Possibly because he was inundated with too much rah-rah Trekkishkeit at the beginning of his hyperbolic career. Now, if he could get his head deflated, I've been told he's a pretty nice guy. [18]

Regarding being "nice" nice to fans, in 1974 Gerrold said:

I'm just one more guy who writes, and I'm grateful to the people who enjoy my stories because it's nice to have my work appreciated. "Being nice" (as you put it) is just my way of saying thank you, it's also a way for me to find out (by listening to your comments) what I did right and what I did wrong, so I can make my next book even better. [19]

Regarding "nice," in 1985 Gerrold said:

I’m not a nice man; I’ve said this over and over. And I’ll tell you this much: ten or fifteen years ago when fandom was first getting started, I couldn’t understand why some people were saying such mean things about me. They’d say, "You’re not a nice person." And I’d say, "Yes, I am." And they’d say, "No, you’re not!" After a few years, it began to sink in. You know, maybe they know something I don’t. I really am not a nice person. And since I’ve begun telling everyone, "I’m not a nice person," my life has been a lot easier. [20]

In the fall of 1975, San Diego Comic-Con founder Ken Krueger published a piece in Bob Sourk's Destiny of Science Fiction fanzine, recounting his personal experience trying to ask Gerrold, at NASFiC 1975, to autograph a copy of his novel The Man Who Folded Himself.

"NO WAY!" yelled David. "You bought it at Pic and Save!"
Sort of stunned, I said "No I didn't," but by then he was beyond earshot. As a matter of fact I bought them from a remainder house at less than the 59c Pic and Save was selling them for, but that isn't the point.
The point is that David Gerrold evidently feels that having someone buy one of his books at less than the publisher's printed price is an insult of some sort. And that, my friends, is a crock of shit...
...Why does the fact that the book was a remainder make it unsignable? Or is it that David is no longer among the mortals and does not sign things? I can't answer that, though I wish I could.
Regretfully, I came back to the office and took down my collection. I looked them over, the copy of Yesterday's Children with "For Ken Krueger, Best Wishes from David Gerrold" written in it: the copy of Space Skimmer where he spelled his own name wrong and corrected it by writing it over and over; the copy of With A Finger In My I that was signed "With much affection."... I took the paperbacks out of their plastic wrappers, wrote 45c on the covers and sent them out with the other junk to be sold in the second hand store on Century.
I had no further use for them. Some ass had written in them.[13]

STW and Multiple Apologies

David Gerrold straddled a line, between being a fan, with the much larger role he played, that being one of the original creators of the show (mainly via his screenplay, "The Trouble with Tribbles" and his part in writing for-profit Star Trek books). He was sort of one of "us," but fans also knew he was perhaps a conduit to the TPTB, and treated him both with gingerly respect, and but also with a conflicted anger over many of his remarks and actions at cons and elsewhere; the editor's remarks in A Piece of the Action hint at this constant back-and forth, and in the end, illustrate he knew which side fandom's bread is buttered on.

Some examples of the uneasy relationship that fans had with TPTB's Involvement and Interference took place in A Piece of the Action.

In 1974, when a fan, Tim, described Gerrold at the 1974 Star Trek Lives as "his usual obnoxious but likable self," [21] the newsletter had to print a retraction:

In the March issue of A Piece of the Action, we printed a sentence which requires retraction, or at least explanation, we said, "David Gerrold was his usual obnoxious but likable self." This was partially the fault of the writer, and partially my fault, as editor, for allowing such a statement to be printed. David Gerrold, perhaps more than any other celebrity, has made himself a part of fandom, and perhaps this has something to do with it. Most of us look at him as though he were one of us, and jokes like "obnoxious" get through about him, where they might not with other celebrities. Those of us who have met him and spoken with him know that he is not obnoxious—in fact, it is so obvious that the very statement "obnoxious" is obviously sarcastic. But nonetheless, such a statement needs to be retracted, in order that those who have not met him will realize that it is definitely not true.[22]

In 1975, there were more hurt feelings. A fan, Katie, wrote a fairly complimentary con report for Vul-Con, but also complained about what she felt to be Gerrold's monopolization of a panel:

At one point, [David Gerrold] talked for thirty minutes. Our chairman, Helen Young, was never given a chance to speak until the very end, when she was told to wrap things up. The whole thing was unfair and quite boring. [23]

In A Piece of the Action #29 (August 1976), the editor issued an apology due to D.C. Fontana, Bjo Trimble, David Gerrold, Virginia Walker, Janice Scott, Diane McClaugherty and others all complaining about the comments about Gerrold and the "rough treatment" he'd suffered due to Katie's words:

A number of people have been upset by certain parts of the Vul-Con report in the June A Piece of the Action -- D.C. Fontana, Bjo Trimble, David Gerrold, Virginia Walker, Janice Scott, Diane McClaugherty, to name a few whose comments had reached us by press time. Exceptions have been taken to several opinions expressed by the article's author. Some found Vul-Con to be a thoroughly enjoyable Con, and we hope to have their contrasting reports in the next issue. Others took exception to the rough treatment accorded the panel discussion. Because of the questions posed by the panel moderator and those asked by fans in the audience, those panel members who were knowledgeable about putting on a con or at whom the questions were directed did the answering—therefore David Gerrold might not deserve to be considered as having monopolized the conversation [the original topic of the panel was never mentioned]. The views expressed in the Vul-Con article were the author's opinion of an event and not intended as personal slander. Further, the author was not a spokesman for STW, but was functioning as a guest writer. News should be the primary function of any newsletter, but constructive criticism is essential as well. Pointing out faults which may lead to alternative action in the future is a necessary part of progress. However, the editors feel the references should have been edited and regret that they were printed. This incident points out to us that we do not often enough remember to express our appreciation to friends and supporters. David Gerrold is indeed a very good friend to the Star Trek Welcommittee and a valuable member of Star Trek fandom. We regret any embarrassment this may have caused him. David has long been a booster of the Star Trek Welcommittee. Thousands of first-discovery fans write him as a result of his two Star Trek books, and each receives several pages of informative flyers from David—which includes a lengthy and detailed description of the Star Trek Welcommittee, tells fans to contact the Welcommittee for Star Trek information, urges them to get our "fantastic directory", and plugs A Piece of the Action for the current Star Trek news. David has contacted A Piece of the Action regarding his concern about the fact that derogatory remarks have gotten out of hand in Star Trek and science fiction fandom. David dealt with this problem at length in his recent WesterCon Keynote Address...

Remarks on Star Trek

In 1969, Gerrold wrote that Star Trek could be good, but was often not:

Here is a show which could have examined every aspect of mans' inhumanity to man, made moral statements about every element of life -- and instead finds itself just one more pseudo-adventure series, where the adventures are being conceived by stale old men who think science fiction is just like western -- only you use phasers instead of Colt /45s...[Star Trek] is a show which promised to be very very good -- and then the networks broke that promise.


Fortunately, for those of us who like science fiction, Star Trek will not last long, and we can expect to lose many of the more frivolous of the pseudo-fans. (I will not mourn Star Trek's passing. In fact, I welcome it. I do not want to see some thing I once loved suffer for too long...)

Unfortunately, the trend of simple-mindedness in the American Fan ; has been begun, and science fiction cons seem to encourage this trend.[24]

In 1970, Gerrold wrote:

STAR TREK holds a special place in my heart. It gave me my start as a professional writer, but more than that it gave many writers a showcase in which to attempt intelligent adult science fiction in a visual medium, I remember most the great morale of the people involved in the show, the in- jokes, the kidding back and forth, the horseplay and the friendly digs, I re member the seriousness of the story discussions, how Gene Coon approached the show with honesty and intelligence and how Gene Roddenberry insisted on consistency from one episode to the next.

I appreciated the chance to work with them, and the opportunity to show what I could do. That THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES garnered a Hugo nomination is a credit not just for me, but for the people at STAR TREK who were willing to take a chance on an unknown writer, something that too few TV shows are willing to do.

STAR TREK was an attempt to do adult and intelligent science fiction on TV, It had a format that gave it the potential to be the best S-F TV show ever. Too often it failed to live up to that potential, but on the nights when it reached its greatness, it was well worth watching.

The place in my heart that STAR TREK holds is a special one — not only did it give me my start, but it gave me a chance to write the kind of stories that I wanted to in the medium that I wanted to. [25]

In 2011, Gerrold wrote:

If I hadn’t done Star Trek, I have no idea what I’d be doing these days. Star Trek kick-started my professional career. And on another level – if I ever write an autobiography, this would be something I’d touch on – it resolved all of my adolescent self-esteem issues overnight to have sold a script to Star Trek. At that time, Star Trek wasn’t this big, wonderful, magical thing. It was this second-rate TV show that only a few geeks and dorks and nerds knew about. Everyone else kind of made fun of it. We weren’t pulling great ratings. But, for me, it was like, “Guess what? I just sold a script to a primetime TV series!” I look back on it and, gosh, there was still a lot, an awful lot I had to learn about writing, but it was crossing a great big line between just being a wannabe and actually having some sense of how the system really works.[26]

In 2015, Gerrold wrote this regarding social justice issues as they pertain to Star Trek fandom:

Star Trek was about social justice from day one -- the stories were about the human pursuit for a better world, a better way of being, the next step up the ladder of sentience. The stories weren't about who we were going to fight, but who we were going to make friends with. It wasn't about defining an enemy -- it was about creating a new partnership. That's why when Next Gen came along, we had a Klingon on the bridge.


Because if that's what you stand for -- a return to the days of sexism, racism, misogyny, and discrimination -- then you really shouldn't be pointing to Star Trek as your inspiration. Because that's not what Star Trek was about. Honest. I was there.[27]

Remarks on Slash

Gerrold, who is gay, has a decidedly negative attitude toward slash fan work, in particular K/S.

In 1984, while conducting an auction at the U.F.P. Convention in Manchester, England, he chose to ridicule slash fanzines:

The event took place on both Saturday and Sunday of the con. On Saturday, Mr. Gerrold picked up a copy of Thrust and said he found such literature 'annoying to say the least.' He then flourished the cover -- there were small children in the audience and, despite being asked to refrain, he continued to do so -- and gave 'mock readings' in a derisory tone, accompanied by jeers from one sector of the audience. Later, he apologized for having given 'offence' (his word). However, on Sunday, the same behaviour prevailed. Mr. Gerrold used words like 'filth' and 'perversion' with regard to zines, in particular K/S Relay. Readings were given from Sun and Shadow, and it was implied this was a K/S zine. The same suggestion was made of Precessional.[28] The atmosphere of the whole auction was not pleasant... Perhaps readers of UT [Universal Translator]have encountered such a phenomenon before, but I was considerably saddened by it, as it seems so contrary to the spirit of Star Trek [but came] from one who is regarded as a creator.[29]

See more fan comments regarding Gerrold's remarks and actions: Con Reports: 1984.

Also in 1984, he edited a re-issue of his 1973 book The World of Star Trek in which he associated slash fandom with mental disturbance, mentioning it in a section on fans who have supposedly stalked the actors or committed suicide over Star Trek.[30]

An equally disturbing phenomenon has developed among a group of female Star Trek fans. To them, Star Trek is not about the Enterprise or its five-year mission, or the noble vision of humanity among the stars—it is specifically about the relationship between Kirk and Spock.

More specifically, these women entertain themselves by writing stories in which Kirk and Spock are homosexual lovers. [He footnotes this with "I am not making this up. Honest."]

Kirk?!! And Spock?!!

The stories are collected and circulated in mimeographed fanzines. More than one unsuspecting Star Trek fan has stumbled unwarily into these zines at some convention or other. The result is usually a started expression and the question, 'Is this what Star Trek is really about?' (It is most definitely not what Star Trek fandom is really about, but more than one young would-be fan has been prohibited from attending Trek-cons or reading Trek-zines because his/her parents have seen this material.

The network of K/S fans -- as they call themselves -- is small, but very active. Some of their stories are very explicit. And some of the artwork accompanying—well, never mind. These women use scenes from the episodes and specifically from the Star Trek movies to justify their belief that this is the secret message of Star Trek . . . . While the K/S ladies have never been vocal enough to be a problem, their projection of their own sexual fantasies onto Star Trek has at times been a nuisance for those who actually have to produce the show. Eventually, Gene Roddenberry, in his novelization of Star Trek I, had to acknowledge their unwelcome invasion of the universe he had created by including a footnote . . . explaining that Kirk and Spock were "just good friends." (This did not even slow the K/S ladies down.)

One long-time Star Trek fan summed up her feelings about the K/S phenomenon this way: "I really don't mind the stories. Some of them are even quite well written. What does bother me though is the sado-masochism in them. Too many of the stories involve beating and rapes -- sometimes even between Kirk and Spock. I just find it difficult to believe that this is an accurate portrayal of the behavior of two of Starfleet's finest officers."

Even more candid are the comments of a gay male Star Trek fan: "The K/S stories I've seen are offensive. It's a woman's idea of what gay men are like, and it's way off base. Besides, I like Kirk and Spock the way they are."

What anyone wants to believe in the privacy of his or her own head, of course, is his or her own business. It's when you start messing around in other people's universes that you have to follow the rules of the local creator. If nothing else, it's good manners.[31]

This rant, of course, had an effect familiar to anyone who's ever been warned not to do something.

In 1985, he followed this up with an Open Letter to K/S Fandom by David Gerrold, setting off another major flap within established fandom. Later in the year, he commented on K/S fandom's reaction in an interview conducted by Randall Landers and Tim Farley, during which he referred to either all K/S fans or just the ones who argued with him about it as "fat ladies with a sexual dysfunction."[32] in DraftTrek Interview with David Gerrold, Gerrold also said of slash fans: "When creating Star Trek, from 1966 through 1969, we were not writing masturbatory fantasies for fat ladies with sexual dysfunctions, and those of you reading this can stick it. I think Human beings should not wallow. I tell people to stop peeing in the swimming pool and get out, especially when it’s not your pool in the first place."

He shared his position on K/S again in 2013, see Somebody asked me again what I thought about K/S fans. And in 2016, he revealed more about his encounters with K/S fans and slash in his Facebook post titled Just for the record, I always assumed Sulu was gay. That was a lot more fun than assuming Kirk and Spock were lovers..

Gerrold as a Gateway to K/S and Slash

Some fans credit Gerrold with their introduction to K/S, citing his comments in the revised edition of The World of Star Trek.

A fan writes:

I first read about K/S in a rude comment in a David Gerrold book (thank you, Mr. Gerrold!) and then in fan literature. It sounded a little weird, but okay. When I actually saw some, I was hooked immediately. Now it's the only Trek I buy.[33]

Another fan writes:

My involvement with K/S began in early '86. I'd been thinking/fantasizing about Kirk and Spock "like that" for ages... when I finally chanced upon Gerrold's famously funny remarks about the "K/S ladies'; - and practically jumped for joy! I wasn't alone!! The first zine I ever ordered was AS I DO THEE 2, and it was even more wonderful than I'd imagined K/S would be.[33]

And another says:

Fascinating how many of us owe knowledge of fandom of K/S to David Gerrold. Haybe we should get up a petition of thanks, or something.[34]


Star Who?

One of the "Star Who?" illos from Beta Lyrae, "imagined by David Gerrold," art by Karen Flanery

Gerrold is the author of Star Who?, a 1974 fanwork published in the zine Beta Lyrae. It is a parody in script form and uses a bit of fan casting. The topic of Star Trek: TOS and Gene Roddenberry's creative mind and editing style using current political and celebrity figures. It is illustrated by Karen Flanery.

The fan casting:

  • Captain Kirk = the actor Bela Lugosi as the character Dracula
  • Scotty = the politician Richard Nixon
  • Chekov = the actor Peter Lorre
  • Sulu = Mr. Jinks, a cartoon cat (Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon)
  • Spock = the character Peter Columbo
  • McCoy = the actor John Wayne
  • Gene Roddenberry = the character Frankenstein
  • Uhura = Geraldine Jones, a fictional African American character and the most famous recurring persona of comedian Flip Wilson

The Cloud Minders

Gerrold is credited with co-writing the original story from which Margaret Armen adapted the TOS episode "The Cloud Minders". According to the Internet Movie Database, he "conceived the original story on which this episode was based, an outline called 'Castle in the Sky'. He was deeply disappointed with the final script."

It was intended as a parable between the haves and the have-nots, the haves being the elite who are removed from the realities of everyday life – they live in their floating sky cities. The have-nots were called "Mannies" (for Manual Laborers) and were forced to live on the surface of the planet where the air was denser, pressure was high, and noxious gases made the conditions generally unlivable. The Mannies [were] torn between two leaders, one a militant, and one a Martin Luther King figure. (Mind you, this was in 1968, shortly after King was assassinated, and just before the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.)

In my original version, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura were captured by the Mannies when their shuttlecraft was shot down by a missile. (The Enterprise desperately needed dilithium crystals. This planet was one of the Federation's biggest suppliers, and Kirk's concern was to restore the flow of crystals. He didn't care who worked the mines, just that the supply was not interrupted. The shuttlecraft was necessary because I felt that the crystals might be too dense for the transporter.) In the process of the story, Kirk realizes that unless living conditions for the Mannies are improved, the situation can never be stabilized.

Because Uhura has been injured in the shuttlecraft crash, McCoy starts treating her in a Mannie hospital. But he is so appalled at the condition of the other patients there, especially the children suffering from high-pressure disease, that he begins treating them as well. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock have convinced their captors to let them go up to the sky city and try to negotiate a settlement to the local crisis.

The story focused primarily on the lack of communication between the skymen and the Mannies. Kirk's resolution of the problem was to force the two sides into negotiation. He opened the channels of communication with a phaser in his hand. "You -- sit there! You -- sit there! Now, talk!" And that's all he does. He doesn't solve the problem himself, he merely provides the tools whereby the combatants can seek their own solutions, a far more moral procedure.

In the end, as the Enterprise breaks orbit, Kirk remarks on this, as if inaugurating the problem-solving procedure is the same as solving the problem. He pats himself on the back and says, "We've got them talking. It's just a matter of time until they find the right direction." And McCoy who is standing right next to him, looks at him and says, "Yes, but how many children will die in the meantime?"

This answer was not a facile one; the viewer was meant to be left as uneasy as Kirk.

But in the telecast version, the whole problem was caused by Zenite gas in the mines, and "if we can just get them troglytes to all wear gas masks, then they'll be happy little darkies and they'll pick all the cotton we need..."

Somehow, I think it lost something in the translation.[35]

Blood and Fire

ad from David Gerrold, in which he sells a unused script for Star Trek: TNG and donates the money to the "AIDS Project Los Angeles."
From the ad: "'Blood and Fire' was written for Star Trek: The Next Generation in May of 1987. It's about the fear of AIDS and what it does to people. (Yes, this is the one with the two gay characters in it.) A few weeks after it was turned in, 'Blood and Fire' was shelved. No explanation was ever given why the script was set aside."

In 1987, Gerrold wrote a script for Star Trek: TNG which included two gay characters and touched upon the topic of homosexuality and AIDS. It was called "Blood and Fire".[36] The script was turned down, and Gerrold left his job at Star Trek shortly after.[37][38]

In 1989, Gerrold sold copies of the script to raise money for AIDS-related charity.

With Gerrold's permission, Carlos Pedraza rewrote "Blood and Fire" as a two-part episode for the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages (renamed Star Trek: Phase II). Gerrold did a final draft polish and also directed. Filming was completed on part 1 in 2007 and the show "aired" online in December 2008: part 2, a year later.

Blood and Fire: Part 1

Blood and Fire: Part 2

The Martian Child

Gerrold wrote the novelette The Martian Child based partly on his own experiences with his adopted son. In the book, the father is gay, like Gerrold himself. However, when the story was optioned for film by Bonneville, which is Mormon-run, they made Gerrold "straightwash" his character. When Bonneville later gave up on the production, the film rights were picked up by New Line Cinema, which retained the straight version of the character.


cover of Otherwords #1

In 1969, the David Gerrold Fan Club published a series of zines about him called Otherwords. From the introduction to the first issue:

Otherworlds (to be quite honest about it) is published for the edification of David Gerrold's ego. (And if you've ever seen his ego, you know it needs a lot of edifying.) Subject matter will primarily consist of articles by, for and about David. Some will be original, some will be reprinted. Material will include various fan work, unsold professional work, and sometimes letters (and missives) pertaining to both. Should this exercise in narcissism be more than your stomach can stand, we will occasionally attempt to relieve the tedium. Somehow.

David Gerrold For President

from "There May Well Be a Choice"

In a 1979 editorial called "There May Well Be a Choice" by Ellen M. Kozak, David Gerrold was encouraged to run for president of the United States:

He sounded so good that someone wondered aloud how to get his ideas through to the President. Then a better though occurred to those assembled.

"Hey, David," someone asked, "are you 35 yet?"

"I turned 35 in January."

"Then why don't you run for President?"

There was momentary silence in the room, then an electric buzz of approval."

Why not, indeed? David may be the most intelligent potential candidate on the national scene. And it is clear that he has neither patience nor respect for many of the nonfuctional sacred cows of Washington.

And David has hope -- the same kind of hope James T. Kirk possessed, the kind of hope that really holds Trekdom together...

Take up the challenge yourself. If David's words sound good to you, write him in care of Starlog... Tell him to run. He may be the candidate we've been waiting for? [39]

Gallery: Gerrold in Fanworks and at Fan Gatherings




Columns in "Starlog"

Gerrold was the author of a long-running series of columns in Starlog between April 1977 and June 1983. These columns generated many heated, strong opinions from fans in the magazine's letter column. After June 1983, Gerrold wrote many other articles that were not part of a regular column.

Starlog is archived here.

State of the Art: (April 1977-July 1979)

  • example: #4 first “State of the Art” column (April 1977)
  • example: #7 (about becoming the author of the novelization of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, being an “ape” in one of the movies, includes photos)
  • example: #8 (“I’ve been having this fantasy about the new Star Trek movie.”)
  • example: #9 (about blood drives and conventions)
  • example: #10 (writing for television, specifically the wonderful “Logan’s Run”)
  • example: #11 (turns out “Logan’s Run” was not that wonderful, mentions his pseud is “Noah Ward”)
  • example: #13 (science fiction on television)

Rumblings: (August 1979-August 1981)

Soaring: (September 1981-June 1983)

  • example: #51 (September 1981)

Personal Websites

External Sources


  1. ^ Starlog #11
  2. ^ from Sensor Readings #1 (1984)
  3. ^ from a fan in Interstat #125 (March 1988)
  4. ^ from The Awful Offal
  5. ^ "If the animated Star Trek does well enough, perhaps Paramount can be convinced to bring back the live series -- or even a movie!
  6. ^ "The Man Who Solded Himself" is a pun on Gerrold's novel, "The Man Who Folded Himself."
  7. ^ from Romulan Wine #4, see that zine for D.C. Fontana's comments on bootleg material, fan purchases, legalities, and ethics
  8. ^ a b from "The Fifty Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, published in 2016 by St. Martin's Press
  9. ^ from a fan's memorial for the Commodore Hotel, The Hole in the Deck Gang Newsletter #12
  10. ^ two interviews: one in Sensor Readings #1 and for the convention DraftTrek, see those pages
  11. ^ see The Awful Offal (1969)
  12. ^ see the personal statement by [R W] in Universal Translator #23
  13. ^ a b Ken Krueger, "Don't Feel Bad David, It's Nothing To Get Upset Over: Or, It Could Be Worse, You Could Have Paid For Them." In Destiny 3, Fall 1975, p. 13.
  14. ^ reported in Karass #21 (April/May 1976) by Linda Bushyager
  15. ^ James Van Hise wrote a convention report for his zine Trek #4. The three-page report can be read here (click each image twice to enlarge): My Star Trek Scrapbook: 1975 New York Trek Con article, Archived version
  16. ^ This was written by Susie Miller who prefaced it with: "Dear Kim. You asked me to write something about David for the con book. Well, here it is - but I'm afraid its not funny and amusing. David does funny much better than I do - I don't even try to compete. After knowing him for seven years, I wanted to say something about the man I know - not the professional funny man who makes public appearances, but the caring, committed writer who pours all of his energy and love into his work. I wanted to convey somehow the man who snarls "What is it now?" when I call him but has always answered "David, I need a favour" with "the answer is yes - what's the question?" So, here is what I have to say about David Gerrold. See you soon. Love, Susie"
  17. ^ Menagerie #3
  18. ^ con report by Cara Sherman, printed in Romulan Wine #4
  19. ^ from 2-5YM Interview with David Gerrold
  20. ^ from DraftTrek Interview with David Gerrold (1985)
  21. ^ from A Piece of the Action #12 (March 1974)
  22. ^ from A Piece of the Action #14 (May 1974)
  23. ^ from A Piece of the Action #7
  24. ^ from Gerrold's 1969 essay The Awful Offal
  25. ^ from Retrospect: Spotlight on Leonard Nimoy
  26. ^ from Trek Writer David Gerrold Looks Back
  27. ^ from Gerrold's 2015 remarks in Star Trek was about social justice from day one
  28. ^ Both zines deal with devoted but non-sexual friendship between Kirk and Spock.
  29. ^ from a personal statement by [R S] in Universal Translator #23
  30. ^ The suicide story has circulated in fandom since the early 1970s in various forms. It may well be an urban legend. There is a discussion of the fan suicide story on TrekBBS.
  31. ^ David Gerrold, The World of Star Trek. Bluejay Books, 1984.
  32. ^ He seems to have an obsession with female fans' weight. In the 1983 edition of The World of Star Trek he refers to a woman who allegedly went around various conventions -- reading to presumably unwilling listeners her 150-page single-spaced study of Spock and Vulcan -- as "a charter member of size-nineteen Star Trek fandom."
  33. ^ a b from The LOC Connection #22
  34. ^ from The LOC Connection #24
  35. ^ David Gerrold, The World of Star Trek (Ballantine, 1973).
  36. ^ Episode 4x4: Blood and Fire, part 1. (Accessed 20 June 2012).
  37. ^ For details on what really happened with "Blood and Fire" and why Gerrold left the show, Exclusive: David Gerrold Talks Frankly About TNG Conflicts With Roddenberry & Berman + JJ-Trek & more – TrekMovie.com, Archived version 2014-11-12: WebCite
  38. ^ " “Gene Roddenberry promised a room full of 3,000 fans that we’d have gay characters on TNG,” he told me. “He repeated that promise in a staff meeting. So I put two gay characters in my script for ‘Blood And Fire’ (unproduced). But the argument was raised that we couldn’t put gay people in the show because it would offend viewers. And when I realized that Gene’s promise would never be kept, I decided to quit.”" -- Interview: David Gerrold - Lightspeed Magazine, Archived version
  39. ^ from Academy Chronicles #8
  40. ^ "I am not a nice man/person is a phrase Gerrold used to describe himself and/or embraced. From a 1985 interview: "I’m not a nice man; I’ve said this over and over." -- DraftTrek Interview with David Gerrold (1985). From the 1991 program book for UFP Con: "He is not a nice man. If you don't believe that, just ask him. (Or any of his friends.) [...] So when he snarls "I am not a nice man!" - believe him."
Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also Maureen Garrett, Richard Arnold, David Gerrold, Susan Sackett