David Gerrold, born Jerrold David Friedman on January 24, 1944, is an American science fiction writer and screenwriter whose contributions to the genre have made him a recognizable figure, particularly within the fandom of “Star Trek.” He is best known for his episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” one of the most popular episodes in the Star Trek canon. Gerrold’s work goes beyond television, encompassing novels, non-fiction books, and even teaching stints.
The Trek to Fame: ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’
David Gerrold’s career catapulted into prominence when he was just 23 years old. His script for “The Trouble with Tribbles” was accepted by the “Star Trek” team, and it became one of the most iconic and beloved episodes of the series. Gerrold ingeniously introduced the character of the Tribble, a small, fluffy creature that reproduces at an alarming rate, serving both as comic relief and a narrative device to critique unchecked population growth and ecological irresponsibility.
Gerrold has written dozens of novels across various sub-genres of science fiction. Noteworthy among them is the “War Against the Chtorr” series, a post-apocalyptic saga still awaiting completion. The series delves into ecological themes, exploring the invasion of Earth by an alien ecosystem. Other significant works include “When HARLIE Was One,” one of the pioneering narratives about artificial intelligence, and “The Man Who Folded Himself,” a time-travel novel rich in its exploration of identity and the implications of manipulating time.
More Than Just Fiction
In addition to his fictional works, Gerrold has penned non-fiction, including guides on screenwriting and essays on the craft of storytelling. He has also been an educator, teaching screenwriting and science fiction writing at Pepperdine University.
Recognition and Impact
Gerrold has received several prestigious awards for his contributions to science fiction, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards. His reach goes beyond mere accolades, as his work has inspired countless fans and fellow authors to explore social, ethical, and scientific themes through the lens of speculative fiction.
Social Activism and Personal Life
David Gerrold is openly gay and has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. His experiences as a single adoptive father were documented in the autobiographical book “The Martian Child,” which was later adapted into a movie starring John Cusack.
A Lasting Legacy
David Gerrold’s career spans over five decades, during which he has enriched the genre of science fiction with a blend of imaginative storytelling, thematic depth, and a dash of humor. He remains an active voice in science fiction, continually adapting to new mediums and platforms.