The War Against the Chtorr is a series of novels written by David Gerrold. Although critically acclaimed as a superior example of science fiction literature, the Chtorr story is currently incomplete and is intended to be continued beyond its present cliffhanger ending.
In 2004, Gerrold announced the titles of the remaining three books:
Set primarily in a devastated early 21st Century America with logical expected advances in current technology such as a fledgling Moonbase, this series of science-fiction novels describe the invasion of Earth by an alien ecology. The story is unusual in that the tactics used by the aliens eschew the usual direct attack by advanced and powerful pyrotechnics in favor of applying terraforming techniques to the Earth's ecosystem.
One of the early sections of the first book features a series of devastating plagues which sweep around the world, resulting in the death of some 80% of humanity. As the survivors struggle to rebuild civilization, they discover that a large variety of new plant and animal lifeforms are establishing themselves on Earth — hundreds of species in all. These species are extraterrestrial and almost universally far superior to the Earth organisms which occupy the same ecological niches. As a result, Earth's entire ecology is being rapidly supplanted.
Throughout the storyline thus far, there is no sign of sentient aliens. However, humans presume the invasion to be deliberate and that undetected spacecraft must have brought the plant and animal invaders to Earth. The presumed goal of these off-stage aliens is nothing less than the complete replacement of Earth's entire ecology and the resultant extinction of all native life, at which time they will arrive and claim the planet without a single shot needing to be fired.
The books largely follow the adventures of Jim McCarthy, a scientist and soldier in the U.S. Army, who attempts to understand the Chtorran ecology even as he engages in combat to destroy it. His early efforts primarily focus on the "Worms", a particularly large and dangerous Chtorran carnivorous species whose prey includes humans. Much of the text is akin to a detective story in which McCarthy and others investigate the rapidly expanding Chtorran ecosystem and attempt to unravel the ecological relationships between the various species. Gerrold has created very detailed and extensive notes on how the Chtorran ecology functions as a background to the books.
In addition to descriptions of alien ecology, the Chtorr series is also noteworthy for its contrasting lengthy discussions and deep emphasis on various aspects of human psychology, particularly under wartime and survival conditions.
If there are two things that all Chtorran life forms have in common, it is that they are hungry, and are normally a bright shade of red. Some of the most notable plants/animals that are encountered are:
There are two distinctly different editions of the first two books in this series. The first edition was released in 1983 by Timescape Books. This edition was edited by the publisher and removed several items which they objected to. All of the chapter introductions (the "Solomon Short" quotations) and several pages of homosexual content were removed. The same thing was done to the 1984 release of A Day for Damnation.
In 1989, David Gerrold made a new publishing contract with Bantam Books. This time, both A Matter for Men and A Day for Damnation were released with all redacted content restored.
The feel of the novels is very "Heinleinesque", and one perception of the books is to look at them as an entire life-cycle of a Heinlein Character, a unique sort of character usually central in all of Heinlein's novels, with a recognizable set of key personality characteristics (common sense, intelligence, fiercely independent, and highly competent), albeit at differing ages, sexes, and experience levels. Sometimes the character plays different parts, as both central character and older, wiser mentor. One possible reason that Gerrold is holding off on the later books is that he intends to write them from McCarthy's central perspective of the oldest Heinlein character, older than Gerrold has been prior to around 2005.
Another Heinleinesque characteristic of the series is that, in the first book, the main characters' Jewish heritage is relegated to one throwaway sentence, similar to Heinlein's tendency to throw in a similar comment about the race or national origin of his central character. This heritage is more openly discussed in the later books of the series.
The series also shares a number of stylistic similarities to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, with substantial didactic portions akin to Starship Troopers' "History and Moral Philosophy" coursework discussions between the central character and a school mentor. The various aphorisms which open the chapters of the second editions also resemble the aphorisms in some of Heinlein's later books, such as Time Enough for Love.
The reverse is also true - there are references to the series in other Gerrold novels. In Bouncing Off the Moon, there is a mention of a woman in Oregon claiming that a giant worm ate her horse, along with numerous passages about plagues spreading across the Earth, also suggesting that the two stories take place in the same story universe. A Covenant of Justice is an unrelated story, in which the Chtorran Gastropede makes a cameo. References to the series also appear in the Star Wolf novels, such as Chtorrans proper and a self-help guru named Daniel Jeffrey Foreman, suggesting the two series exist in the same universe. In Gerrold's 1977 novel, Moonstar Odyssey, there is a reference to "Chtorr-plants" "...named for the legendary place of child-eating demons from which they were supposed to have come" and having an alternate form of photosynthesis.
Patent No. 7,708,887 Issued on May 4, Assigned to Siemens Water Technologies for Combination Membrane, Biolytic Filtration (Australian Inventors)
May 05, 2010; ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 7 -- Warren Thomas Johnson and Bruce Gregory Biltoft, both of New South Wales, Australia, and Dean Osman...