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Alternate Gerrolds by David Gerrold

Cover art by Bob Eggleton

Published by Benbella Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

David Gerrold is best known for the Star Trek episode "Trouble With Tribbles," but he has also written a large body of fiction in his own original universes. In this volume he has collected a number of his favorite short stories.

As the title suggests, a number of these are alternate histories. For instance, what if Adlai Stevenson had won the 1952 election rather than Dwight D. Eisenhower -- only to be impeached when his Presidency failed to live up to the expectation of the people? Take a look at "The Impeachment of Adlai Stevenson" to see. Or maybe old Joseph Kennedy got fed up with Boston and moved out to Hollywood. "The Kennedy Enterprise" shows just what a strange world it could have been -- and brings in the Star Trek connection for good measure, making the title a wonderfully hilarious play on words in the best fannish pun tradition.

And if you want a really mind-blowing experience, take a chug through "What Goes Around." Not only does he turn the story of Charles Manson and the Sharon Tate murders on their heads, but he offers a cameo by a certain well-known science fiction writer. Oh, he blurs it a little by using one of this person's old pseudonyms, but I think most of us will recognize who I'm talking about, if they've read much of this person's non-fiction writing.

However, alternate history isn't Gerrold's only game. There's "The Spell," the story of a man who's dealing with a totally out-of-control dysfunctional family of juvenile delinquents. When he enlists the help of a hippie witch, the solution to his problem is very strange -- and thoroughally effective. Or try "Digging in Gehenna," the story of an archeological team on a long-dead alien world. Sometimes we don't know just how badly our presuppositions and cultural conditioning blind us to what is right un front of our faces -- until we get our noses shoved into it.

Contents

  • Bauble
  • The Impeachment of Adlai Stevenson
  • The Kennedy Enterprise
  • The Firebringers
  • Franz Kafka, Superhero!
  • Rex
  • ...And Eight Rabid Pigs
  • The Ghost of Christmas Sideways
  • A Wish for Smish
  • What Goes Around
  • The Fan Who Molded Himself
  • The Feathered Mastodon
  • The Seminar from Hell
  • The Spell
  • Digging in Gehenna
  • Riding Janis

Review posted February 1, 2009.

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