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Authors: David Gerrold

Blood and Fire

BOOK: Blood and Fire
Table of Contents
Praise for David Gerrold and the Star Wolf series
“David Gerrold knows
Star Trek
better than anyone, and here's his take at how it really should have been; the
Star Wolf
series is
Star Trek
done right—moral conundrums, fascinating characters, and pulse-pounding action. Highly recommended.”
“... story moves along at the speed of light.”
“[Gerrold] looks at a real problem: How do you turn a jinx ship into a fighting unit? The answer to that question has often made a great story, and it does this time too. David has studied the master story tellers—Heinlein and Forrester and Conrad, and it shows.”
“... the adventure's there, the action moves along nicely, and the villain is as nasty as anyone could wish.”
“David Gerrold proves that he can do all the things that made us love Heinlein's storytelling—and often better.”
“Gerrold elevates his story line above standard battle-driven fare by focusing on the intense war of wits between the
Star Wolf's
fully dimensional human crew and its unique alien adversary. He produces intelligent and entertaining hard SF that remains blessedly free of the militaristic stereotypes rampant in other examples of the subgenre.”
“Halfway into the story, we'll already know more about poor Commander Korie, and his whole accursed crew, and every compartment in their jinxed ship, than we ever learned about Kirk and the
in three seasons and several feature films. Equally important, that ship and those people will go somewhere, and be changed profoundly by what happens to them along the way.”
The Star Wolf series
The Voyage of the Star Wolf
The Middle of Nowhere
The War Against the Chtorr series
The Dingilliad trilogy
The Man Who Folded Himself
The Flying Sorcerers
(with Larry Niven)
When HARLIE Was One
Moonstar Odyssey
The Martian Child
The World of Star Trek
The Trouble With Tribbles
Worlds of Wonder
For Randy, Pam,
and Captain Anne Jillian Harbaugh,
with love
“... To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
What an exceptional mandate to tell stories—daring stories, stories that broke tradition—especially in science fiction television!
When that brave opening narration introduced
Star Trek
in 1966, it expressed itself as episodes that dealt with bigotry and racism, the Vietnam War, the Generation Gap, enslavement of other races, fights for equality and many other issues of the time. Under the entertaining guise of science fiction action adventure,
Star Trek
told stories that were intelligent, life affirming, entertaining and thoughtful.
David Gerrold was a part of that groundbreaking series, writing the classic script “The Trouble With Tribbles” in addition to other episodes. It was while I was story editor of the series that I met this young, brash and brilliantly talented writer.
In the years after
Star Trek
went off the air, David and I worked together a number of times on various television shows and developed a personal tie of friendship that has never faltered. When he called me in late 1986 and told me Gene Roddenberry was going to produce a new live-action version of
Star Trek
and he himself was already involved, I was elated. The elation went to the top of the scale when I was called upon to give input into the new show and ultimately to write the two-hour pilot script for
Star Trek
The Next Generation
Paramount and the new UPN network had guaranteed the show a full first season. Technically, the “pilot” was the premiere movie that would kick off the hour-long series episodes. Therefore, even as “Encounter at Farpoint” was being written and prepared, other scripts were already being put into work.
Some months before, Gene, David and others from the show had attended a science fiction convention in Boston. A gay fan in the audience pointedly asked if the new show would include gay characters, as
Star Trek
had been a pioneer in depicting blacks, Asians and Latinos in key roles. Gene agreed that it was time, and he hoped to do it.
David, who was working as a staff writer, went to Gene and pitched an idea. It would be a story that was a metaphor for the AIDS epidemic,
taking place on a biologically infested plague ship with several of the regular characters in jeopardy. An additional point would be blood donorship. The stakes were high; the answers were not easy; the decisions were painful. Gene could sanction a story that tackled a large issue, told through personal, emotional involvement and powerful in its message. It was what
Star Trek
did best. Gene told David to go write it.
It was only later, in the development of the script, that David realized it was a perfect place to include gay characters, and he did so in four lines of dialogue so understated that anyone not paying attention could have taken the two men as mere friends.
David turned in the first draft of “Blood and Fire” just before he was scheduled to fly out of town as a guest on a
Star Trek
Cruise. A day later, on the ship, David received a telegram from Gene that read: “Everyone loves your script, have a great cruise.”
Then Gene's personal lawyer, who had assumed an unofficial position on
Star Trek
The Next Generation
, read the script. Things changed. Radically.
The lawyer and several staff members actively campaigned against the script, though some of them earlier had championed AIDS as one of the issues the show should tackle. The complimentary telegram was forgotten. Gene had a new opinion of “Blood and Fire.” It was “aesthetically displeasing” with its slimy bloodworms and plasmacytes as a metaphor for AIDS. That would have to change. As for the gay couple, they would have to be eliminated or become heterosexual. It seemed they, too, were aesthetically displeasing, despite the fact they were drawn as professional and well-regarded members of the
When David arrived home from the weekend cruise, he found a phone message from me warning him about the bear trap he was about to walk into. In a respectful but pointed memo to Gene, David argued for his vision and for the important issues the script addressed. In front of fans and staff, Gene had declared his intention to include gay characters on the new show, even if only in one episode. Where was the courage in presenting a story with ordinary characters facing an ordinary biological threat? David's final arguments were: “If not now, when? If not here, where?”
Gene laid down his decree, not to David's face, but through one of the other producers. The script would either be rewritten as he directed, or it would be shelved. David made changes, taking out one of the gay characters and giving his lines to “Tasha Yar.” It was still “aesthetically displeasing.” David knew he would leave the show soon, as his contract
was expiring. He offered to rewrite the script one more time, but Gene told another producer not to let him do so. A staff producer-writer tried to rework the script, calling it “Blood and Ice,” changing the plasmacytes to brain-eating entities that turned infected people into zombies. Didn't work. The script was shelved, and there were no gay characters depicted on
Star Trek
The Next Generation
under Gene Roddenberry's aegis.
Later, rumors started to spread that David had been fired from the show—not true. Other rumors spread that the “Blood and Fire” script had been so bad it had to be shelved—not true. David began selling copies of it at conventions so people could read it for themselves and decide. He donated the proceeds from those sales to Aids Project Los Angeles.
With his reputation being trashed at conventions in both the United States and Britain, David responded the only way he knew how—by writing a series of fine novels. Among them were
A Rage for Revenge, A Season for Slaughter, Jumping Off the Planet, Voyage of the Star Wolf
and esteemed
The Martian Child
, for which he won the Nebula and the Hugo awards.
In the nineties, David and I developed four scripts, a full story arc and an immense bible for a potential
Star Wolf
television series or series of TV movies. The book you hold in your hand is the envisioning of the “Blood and Fire” script in a different universe and with different characters, but with even more power than it would have had as a
Star Trek
The Next Generation
episode. Read it and see for yourself how compelling and exciting a story it is—and how boldly it goes where no one has gone before.
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