Gerrold, David. Alternate Gerrolds: An Assortment of Fictitious Lives.

Dallas: BenBella Books, 2004.

David Gerrold isn’t nearly as well known as he should be, especially within the science fiction community — even though he’s won any number of awards. Trekies know he wrote “The Trouble with Tribbles” while still in his early 20s, and fans of alternate history novels have a special place in their hearts for The Man Who Folded Himself, but his name probably would draw a blank with most SF readers under the age of forty.

Meanwhile, Mike Resnick was producing a series of popular original anthologies called “Alternate [Whatever]” — Presidents, Outlaws, Kennedys, Warriors, you name it — and David Gerrold had a story in every one of them. All of Gerrold’s contributions to the series are collected here, along with work from other anthologies, and while they’re not of equal quality, some are pretty good.

My favorite, I think, is “The Kennedy Enterprise,” about what happened after Shatner and Nimoy got the ax and Robert Kennedy, the head of MGM, gave his older brother Jack a role on the show. He gets in a few nicely placed jabs at Reagan, too. “The Seminar from Hell” is another good one, about the pitch the Opposition might make for your soul if you went to hear their motivational speaker. “The Firebringers” puts all the great leading men of 1940s Hollywood on the project of delivering the first atomic bomb in World War II. “Digging in Gehenna” is a straight science fiction adventure, almost the only one here, and also a good read.

On the other hand, “Franz Kafka, Superhero!” is kind of dumb, frankly, and “The Ghost of Christmas Sideways” didn’t make a lot of sense. “Rex” took an interesting idea and kind of beat it to death. So, while, there’s some good stuff here, it’s not really a showcase for the best of Gerrold. I think you’ll have to hunt up some of his earlier, longer work for that.

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Published in: on 30 January 2015 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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