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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Martian Child by David Gerrold 
14th-Mar-2006 07:57 pm
Quick poll: How many of you know what "tribbles" are? (Think Star Trek.) How many of you knew who David Gerrold is? That's what I thought. >_<

Gerrold, David. The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son. New York: Forge, 2002.
Summary: Single (and gay) sci-fi writer David Gerrold adopts Dennis, an abused and troubled eight-year-old who believes that he is a Martian.
Comments: Though "based on a true story," it's hard to say how much is or is not autobiographical. I don't know, for example, whether or not I believe that Gerrold was at one point actually starting to believe that Dennis (his own little menace, incidentally) was from Mars; if it was true, I guess single parenthood was driving him over the edge, and if it was just a literary conceit, well, it was in rather poor taste, I thought. Still, there were some nice literary maunderings toward the end, which, if not necessarily strengthening the deteriorating narrative thread, offered some interesting ideas about the stories we tell about ourselves and how they provide understanding or even make a situation become "reality," as it were. It spoke well for his reasons for writing the book and even wanting a child in the first place? Oh, and why did he want the kid? Well, at first he says he wants to be remembered--and, given the way everyone who knows Star Trek at all knows "The Trouble with Tribbles" but next to no one knows the name David Gerrold, I can see why he figures the way to go about leaving his mark on the world might not be through his writing. The second reason is that he lost the love of his life and he figures the only way to have love again is to give it. I just wanna know why it had to be a boy. We all know why the kid had to be Majorly Messed Up(tm), and Gerrold explains that they wouldn't do interracial adoptions in his county, but a boy? Whose major redeeming feature is his physical beauty? Shallow, man...way shallow. It's your story. Why portray yourself that way?
Notes: hardcover, 1st edition, out-of-print; trade paperback edition available
Rating: 5.5/10 - Cute and fun...but it wouldn't have ever been printed if Gerrold weren't already semi-famous. (And I may be being overly generous in that estimation.)
15th-Mar-2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
*raises hand*
I find them creepy^^
15th-Mar-2006 02:53 pm (UTC)
Is that a "yes" for Question #1 AND #2 or just Question #1? ^_~
15th-Mar-2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
Yes to #1^_^
15th-Mar-2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
Heh. You know at one point they were making electronic toy tribbles that moved and purred?

That episode gives you an idea of what Gerrold's sense of humor is like. (In the novel, his dog's name is Somewhere--as in "Somewhere a dog barked.")
15th-Mar-2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
Talk about bad ideas^_^

I'm not sure I can handle that flat out weird kind of humor. Most likely I'd find it too creepy to be funny
15th-Mar-2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Talk about bad ideas^_^

They looked REALLY real. ^^;;;;;;

I felt kinda bad for Gerrolde, though. At the end of the novel he talks about how the love of his life as a young man died suddenly--murdered, I think. Not sure if the "shot in the face" reference was to be taken literally, in fact.
15th-Mar-2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
Even more reason to avoid them^_^

Ouch. Maybe it is literal. Gay murders/bashing love to maul the body or disfigure it usually.
15th-Mar-2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Maybe it is literal. Gay murders/bashing love to maul the body or disfigure it usually.

Quite possibly. It must've occurred in the 60's--Gerrold's 62 years old this year, I believe. At least how he was portraying himself in the novel, it seems that perhaps he never quite got over it.

Actually, his most famous novels were written as he was recovering emotionally. I know it sounds callous, but I really do believe hardship makes writers better...
15th-Mar-2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Something like that would scar anyone for life.

Not callous, tragically true. One famous writer, whose name I can't remember, said that what made great artists/writers/poets was their misfortune to bleed for the sake of their readers. If you've never known pain and injustice, you can't write it.
15th-Mar-2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Not to mention that happy people are busy living their life, not dissecting it on paper. >_< Judy Blume has commented that, now that she is successful and her life is good, she really has to force herself to write at all.
15th-Mar-2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
In that case maybe it's better to be simply content^^
15th-Mar-2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
But then there would be nothing for me to enjoy when I'M miserable! ^^;;;;;;;
16th-Mar-2006 10:34 am (UTC)
*chokes and laughs*
No one will accuse you of altruism^^
16th-Mar-2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
I work hard on my selfishness. ^_~
1st-Apr-2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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