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Star Trek – The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

David Gerrold is one of the very few Star Trek writers to become an established science-fiction writer after his work on the television show.

Sure, writers like Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga have continued to work in genre television and film, but Gerrold is unique in that he has built up a reputation as a formidable science-fiction novelist. “By any reasonable definition David Gerrold is a major figure in science fiction,” the New York Times has argued. It seems hard to disagree. If Roddenberry had produced Star Trek a decade or so later, he may have been approaching David Gerrold the same way he approached Ray Bradbury or Theodore Sturgeon.

Gerrold joined the writing staff in the second season of Star Trek, following a number of failed pitches. The writer managed to sell The Trouble With Tribbles, which became one of the most iconic and memorable Star Trek episodes ever written. He was such a success that he was drafted in to punch up I, Mudd – the script going into production before The Trouble With Tribbles. Gerrold would hang around for the third season of the show and would become one of the defining voices on Star Trek: The Animated Series with D.C. Fontana.


Gerrold remained busy in the long gap before Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing a string of well-regarded one-off science fiction novels in the seventies; however, perhaps his best-known work in the interregnum was The War With the Chtorr, his series of novels documenting an alien invasion of Earth. When he fell out with Gene Roddenberry over the production of The Next Generation, Gerrold would launch his popular Star Wolf series – a bunch of novels adapted from a television pitch that feel very much like his vision of The Next Generation.

However, despite this success outside Star Trek, Gerrold remains quite attached to that massive shared universe. Indeed, he recently adapted his own infamously lost Next Generation script – Blood and Fire – for Star Trek: Phase II. However, this was not Gerrold’s first “non-televised” piece of Star Trek. The author was responsible for The Galactic Whirlpool, the fourteenth Bantam Star Trek novel published in 1980. The novel was published shortly before the license was handed over to Pocket Books, and is a remarkable accomplishment.

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