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David Gerrold (born 24 January 1944; age 80), birth name Jerrold David Friedman, is a screenwriter and science fiction author who wrote episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series and also worked as a story editor on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He left near the end of that series' first season in a dispute with Gene Roddenberry.

Star Trek affiliation[]

Gerrold wrote the scripts for the Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" and its sequel, the Animated Series episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles", as well as another Animated Series episode, "Bem". The first of these was nominated for a Hugo Award in the category "Best Dramatic Presentation", which he shared with Joseph Pevney. He provided the story, along with Oliver Crawford, for "The Cloud Minders". He also provided an uncredited rewrite of the final draft of the script for "I, Mudd".

Before his script outline that became "The Trouble With Tribbles" was bought by Star Trek producers, Gerrold (a recent college graduate), early in 1967, submitted a sixty-page outline for a two-part episode, "Tomorrow Was Yesterday". After that outline was responded to, positive for its quality, negative for its usefulness to the series, Gerrold was invited by producer Gene Coon to submit some script outlines suitable for the program's budget. Gerrold submitted five outlines, including "A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…" (which became Tribbles), "The Protracted Man", "Bandi", and two others with titles Gerrold did not recall some years later. One of the others involved Kirk playing a chess game with his crew as chess pieces, the other involved a spaceship-destroying machine, an idea he noted as eerily similar to Norman Spinrad's story "The Doomsday Machine" that was produced for the same season.

Coon saw "Fuzzies…" as the best candidate for a potential Star Trek episode and guided the young Gerrold through the proccess of developing it into a workable script. Meanwhile, Gerrold was also granted access to visit the set during the production of several episodes (including "The Apple") to gain first-hand knowledge of the series format and audiovisual language. Coon also assigned Gerrold to do a rewrite on Stephen Kandel's script of "I, Mudd" during his "writing student" tenure at the show.

After the success of "Tribbles", Gerrold also came up with both "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem" as story ideas for the third season, however the new producer, Fred Freiberger refused to buy either of them. They were re-developed and produced for the The Animated Series five years later. However, Freiberger bought a story idea from Gerrold, "Castles in the Sky", which was eventually developed into "The Cloud Minders". Unlike Coon, Freiberger did not trust the novice writer's capabilities, and assigned television veteran Oliver Crawford to co-write the script with Gerrold. Eventually, Freiberger, dissatisfied with the outcome, pulled both of them out the assignment, and hired Margaret Armen to rewrite the script.

A caricature of Gerrold was included in "More Tribbles, More Troubles" as an in-joke. According to the novelization of the episode by Alan Dean Foster, this individual was named "Hacker," a name which Gerrold later found insulting.

In early October 1986, Gerrold, together with Robert H. Justman, Edward K. Milkis and D.C. Fontana were brought back by Roddenberry to form the original production nucleus to "help out" with the pre-production of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 9-11) In 1987, Gerrold became a story editor on The Next Generation, in which capacity he wrote many elements in the Writers' Bible for the series. Having had an inside track he submitted a series of articles under the column heading "Generations" to Starlog, the first of which appeared in issue 118, May 1987 and which ran through issue 123 of October 1987, often illustrated with production art by Andrew Probert. The intent was, much as Susan Sackett had done in her "Star Trek Reports" columns on Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the same publications in the 1970s, to keep readership apprised about the progress of the production of The Next Generation".

He left the show near the end of the first season, partly because of the dispute over his controversial script, "Blood and Fire". The story, which was basically an allegory of AIDS, and involved allegedly homosexual characters, was initially scrapped by the producers. It was re-written by Herb Wright as "Blood and Ice", removing the gay characters, but it still remained unproduced. Gerrold received credit as Program Consultant for the early part of the first season, from "The Naked Now" to "Lonely Among Us".

However, the main reason for Gerrold's departure was the constant harassment by Roddenberry's lawyer, Leonard Maizlish (who was responsible for all Original Series production staff members departing the show during or after the first season). Gerrold has stated, "[I] finally got the very clear message that Gene's lawyer didn't like me. And that whatever Gene promised me, the lawyer was going to take away. (…) what he was doing was significantly undermining everybody that might be a threat to Gene, so that he could stay in control." [1] and , "Gene's lawyer (Leonard Maizlish) was making it impossible for anybody to do any real work. He was rewriting scripts. He was committing Guild violations. People were very unhappy. It was one of the worst working environments I'd ever been in. So when my contract came up for renewal, I asked Gene not to [renew it]. Later, I found out that Maizlish was telling people what a troublemaker I was, that I'd been fired because I was mentally ill, that I never did anything useful for the show – real character assassination of the worst sort." [2] Producer Justman, one of the Original Series veterans who left the production and citing Maizlish's actions as "destructive meddling", has confirmed Gerrold's stance as he too left the production because of Maizlish. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 433-434)

Not being able to divulge the main reasons for his departure at the time, due to his non-disclosure obligations, Gerrold has additionally stated in his last Starlog "Generations" column (published in the October 1987 issue, just after the first time airing of the pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint"), "My contract with Paramount expired at the end of May and I asked Gene Roddenberry to please not renew it. Why? In April I was offered the opportunity yo write and produce a four-hour science-fiction mini-series for CBS and Columbia Television. The series is called Trackers and the Executive Producer is Daron J. Thomas. If the mini-series is a hit, then a regular weekly SF TV series would be developed from it. This was a very difficult decision for me to make. Star Trek has always been a home to me. It had always been fun and the people have always been good to work with. But… now, it was obvious to me that it was time to leave home. Or as my agent put it: "You can't turn down the chance to be the Great Bird of your own galaxy."" (Starlog, issue 123, p. 15) That series, however, never got off the ground.

In addition to writing, he provided the voice for Em/3/Green in the TAS episode "The Jihad", and was an extra in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". He originally wanted to appear in a smaller role in "The Trouble with Tribbles" (some sources say he wrote the part of Freeman for himself), but it never came to fruition.

Gerrold's son Sean, who was twelve at the time of the filming of "Trials and Tribble-ations", joined his father on the DS9 set. Sean asked his father where the Enterprise crew kept their money (a question which Gerrold himself had once asked Gene L. Coon) and expressed disappointment that James T. Kirk and Spock were not actually there. (Trials and Tribble-ations introduction)

Gerrold wrote the novelization of the TNG pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, and the Original Series novel, The Galactic Whirlpool, which was developed from his the aforementioned "Tomorrow Was Yesterday" outline. He also wrote the foreword of the "Trials and Tribble-ations" novelization and the introduction of the Constellations anthology. Outside fiction, Gerrold wrote The World of Star Trek, a behind-the-scenes reference and interview book, and The Trouble with Tribbles, detailing his experiences in the production of the titular episode, both in 1973.

More recently, Gerrold wrote and directed the fan-made internet series Star Trek: New Voyages episode "Blood and Fire" (2007), which features James Cawley, John Carrigan, Denise Crosby, and Bill Blair. It is a re-working of his "Star Wolf" book Blood and Fire (itself, a re-working of the aforementioned story he originally wrote for TNG). This time, the allegory of AIDS and the involvement of homosexual characters, was included. Another episode, a further sequel to "The Trouble with Tribbles", was planned. After a series of controversial artistic disputes between Gerrold and the Phase II production concerning the filming of the episode "Mind-Sifter" and the scrapping of Gerrold's own episode "The Protracted Man", the latter of which that was well documented in a dispute between himself and a fan on the TrekToday bulletin board, Gerrold resigned his position as the series showrunner. (citation needededit)

Although Gerrold had for many years a contentious relationship with both Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry, he has reconciled himself to his association with the show and speaks of his experiences fondly. [3]

In 2015, David Gerrold would become involved in the copyright infringement lawsuit between both CBS/Paramount and Alec Peters, regarding the Star Trek fan film "Axanar". Although he stated that he had "no dog in this fight", he had become a creative consultant on the project after reading the script, being quoted as saying "This is Star Trek", and later spoke out in favor of fan films and "Axanar". [4] [5]

In 2016, Gerrold found himself involved in a second copyright infringement lawsuit involving Star Trek. A lawsuit was filed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) against Gerrold and comic book artist Ty Templeton for their proposed Star Trek-Dr.Seuss “mash-up” book "Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!". The project generated $30,000 in a Kickstarter campaign that was promptly shut down (and the donations frozen) when DSE asserted their ownership of the Dr. Seuss property. A lawsuit quickly followed in late 2016 accusing the mash-up creators and their publisher ComicMix of both copyright and trademark infringement. The claim was largely dismissed in court in June 2017, but that ruling was rescinded by the same judge in December 2017. [6]

The 2009 DVD box release Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection featured a reunion of fan extras in the "Special Star Trek Reunion", including Gerrold, Christopher Doohan, Bjo Trimble, Jo Ann Nolan, and Fred Bronson chatting on the same sound stage used for the rec deck scene. [7]

Non-Star Trek work[]

Outside Star Trek, in the early 1970s, he created the TV series "Land of the Lost" for brother-producers Sid and Marty Krofft. Besides scripting the pilot plus several additional episodes, Gerrold served as story editor during two of the show's three seasons; he also compiled the 200-word Pakuni language (which was abandoned after the second season).

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Gerrold was a free-lance writer for Starlog magazine, for which he wrote regular columns; among others, aside from the one mentioned above, was one called "Rumblings", which concerned itself with science fiction in general, though not few of them had Star Trek as main subject.

In the mid-1980s, Gerrold co-wrote the novelization for the movie "Enemy Mine". The book contained a number of post-rescue scenes which did not appear in the film, while eliminating the climactic showdown between the Dennis Quaid and Brion James characters.

He has written the "Star Wolf" trilogy, using some scripts not used for Star Trek, which enthusiasts sometimes call "Star Trek like it should have been"; apart from his Star Trek novels and the tribbles episode, his most famed work may be "The War against the Chtorr", in which he describes a biological invasion of planet Earth by a hostile ecology. He also wrote the novelization of the 1973 film Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which featured Paul Williams, France Nuyen, music by Leonard Rosenman, and cinematography by Richard H. Kline. Gerrold himself appeared in the movie in a small cameo role, as a dead ape in a battle scene.

Martian Child, a 2007 comedy-drama film based on a novelette and subsequent novel by Gerrold, concerns an author adopting a boy after his fiancée passes away. The story is semi-autobiographical – Gerrold himself adopted a boy in 1992. The film's protagonist, played by actor John Cusack, is also named David in this film. Gerrold served as executive producer for the production. Star Trek stuntman Lauro Chartrand appeared in this film. The original novelette had received a 1995 Hugo Award.

He is also planning to Tuckerize people he knows in an upcoming novel.

Star Trek appearances[]

Star Trek interviews[]


Star Trek books[]

Outside Star Trek[]

War Against the Chtorr[]

  • A Matter for Men (1983)
  • A Day for Damnation (1985)
  • A Rage For Revenge (1989)
  • A Season for Slaughter (1993)
  • A Method For Madness (in progress as of 2006)
  • A Time For Treason (under contract to write)
  • A Case For Courage (planned)
  • also: "GURPS Chtorr"

Star Wolf[]

  • Voyage of the Star Wolf
  • The Middle of Nowhere
  • Blood and Fire

Babylon 5[]

  • "Believers" (script, Season 1, 1994)

Other novels[]

  • The Flying Sorcerers (with Larry Niven)
  • When H.A.R.L.I.E. was One
  • Space Skimmer
  • Yesterday's Children
  • The Man Who Folded Himself
  • Moonstar Odyssey
  • Deathbeast
  • The Martian Child
  • Jumping Off The Planet
  • Bouncing Off The Moon
  • Leaping To The Stars

External links[]