Sunday, December 16, 2007


In this novel, time travel stimulates protagonist to have sex with himself. A lot. Sadly, it was not destined for the popularity of tribbles.

"[Mr. David Gerrold] seems destined to be forever remembered as the guy who gave the world the alien race of cute, lovable, rapidly-breeding fluff balls known as tribbles," reported the NY Times Arts section today.

In "Nobody Knows the Tribbles He's Seen," the Times reveals, "For Mr. Gerrold [that reputation has] been a mixed blessing."

Mr. Gerrold wishes sometimes people would know him for other things, reports the newspaper. "You have a billion people who know 'Tribbles' and only half a million who know my novel The Man Who Folded Himself, which is one of my better known books," said the author to the Times.

Fair enough. DD has a copy of The Man Who Folded Himself. In the early Seventies it introduced him to the high-minded sci-fi concept that time travel whet the appetites for sex with oneself and orgies. Who knew?

Sci-fi reviewer David Pringle uncharitably writes that the book was "an indulgent time-tripping doppelganger tale with a high sexual content (the f-word in the title should really be something else). Sub-Heinleinian hi-jinks ... "

The blurb on the back of the paperback edition reads: "When you begin this adventure get ready to go through a lot of weird changes..."

"We were both stretched out naked on the waterbed, just staring at the ceiling and listening to the Pastoral Symphony, that part near the beginning where it goes 'pah-rump-pah-pah, rump-pah-pah ..."" writes Mr. Gerrold in The Man Who Folded Himself. In the scene the narrator is about to get cuddly with a copy of himself from the future.

Gerrold's time-travellers smoke dope on the bed and any reader can figure out what's up next.

I remember my dad was searching for something to read one night back ca. '73 when he came into my room and grabbed the book before I could say, "Wait!" He returned it a little later with the air of someone pointing out a soiled piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

"Man was made to mate with woman," goes The Man Who Folded Himself a few pages later, exhibiting a bit of what Woody Allen would later refer to as "homosexual panic."

"Man was not made to mate with man ... But does that mean man must not mate with man?"

In fairness, at one point the hero has sex with a female version of himself (who also likes girls more than boys) and is slightly repelled when older versions of himself fondle him at an orgy.

Who would have thought that tribbles would wind up much more famous? I never saw that coming, I tell ya.


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