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A Matter for Men

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With the human population ravaged by a series of devastating plagues, the alien Chtorr arrive to begin the final phase of their invasion. Even as many on Earth deny their existence, the giant wormlike carnivores prepare the world for the ultimate violation--the enslavement of humanity for food!


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With the human population ravaged by a series of devastating plagues, the alien Chtorr arrive to begin the final phase of their invasion. Even as many on Earth deny their existence, the giant wormlike carnivores prepare the world for the ultimate violation--the enslavement of humanity for food!

30 review for A Matter for Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    CONCEPT: Earth has been invaded by the Chtorr culture; a mix of especially nasty and powerful beings that make up this alien ecological chain. First, 75% or more of the humans were wiped out by the plagues and now gigantic worm like creatures are further slaying people while they infest the American lands. SCORING: Superb (A), Excellent (A-), Very good (B+), Good (B) Fairly Good (B-) Above Average (C+), Mediocre (C ), Barely Passable (C-) Pretty Bad (D+), Dismal (D), Waste of Time (D-), Into the CONCEPT: Earth has been invaded by the Chtorr culture; a mix of especially nasty and powerful beings that make up this alien ecological chain. First, 75% or more of the humans were wiped out by the plagues and now gigantic worm like creatures are further slaying people while they infest the American lands. SCORING: Superb (A), Excellent (A-), Very good (B+), Good (B) Fairly Good (B-) Above Average (C+), Mediocre (C ), Barely Passable (C-) Pretty Bad (D+), Dismal (D), Waste of Time (D-), Into the Trash (F) DIALOGUE: A STRUCTURE: A HISTORY SETTING: A- CHARACTERS: A MONSTERS/ALIEN DEVELOPMENTS: A DEEP THOUGHTS: A EVIL SETUP/ANTAGONISTS: A EMOTIONAL IMPACT: A SURPRISES: A- TECHNOLOGY: A- PACING: A LITTLE THINGS: A OVERALL STYLE: A FLOW OF WORDS: A CHOICE OF FOCUS: A TRANSITIONS/FLASHBACKS/POV: A COMPLEXITY OF WORDS/SYMBOLISM/THEMES: A OVERALL GRADE: A WHY IT WORKED FOR ME: First off, I was drawn in and I usually don't go for sci fi books. That simple. The means of describing such a disastrous infestation would turn most people off who don't want to read such a gloom and doom story. I have to admit that at times things seem bleak when they think of coexisting rather than eradicating the Chtorrans. But the story kept driving forward and you're compelled to follow with it. Great characters, great dialogues and great writing style (see below for the latter point). This story works best for people who appreciate investigate stories and aren't afraid to read about the tumultuous emotions raging in this novel. A lot of these people are on the edge or still carrying anger around. For me, that was pretty fascinating. Gerrold revealed it no only from a scientific viewpoint (as most sci fi authors do), but also from an emotional viewpoint. Flashbacks, for the most part, connected with the current story in scope or belief. Thus, it was an easy flow. The class taught by Whitlaw was totally new to me. Now that's the way a class should be taught; not with the drones we have now in the education system. OVERALL STYLE: Loved the dialogue (see above). Also loved the metaphors and similes . . . " . . . her head blossomed in a sudden flower of red." Or "I turned in time to see the Chtorran falling forward through a shower of glass fragments. They glittered around it like tiny sparkling stars. In one smooth movement, it poured through the glass and flowed down off the stage and into the shrieking audience. It hit the front rows like an avalanche." His play with words are magnificent. I really could feel the story flow as I read it and it never ever ever dragged (typo intended).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Red Siegfried

    David Gerrold is a goddamn genius. Let me repeat that. I want to have a civil union with David Gerrold and have his children. Perhaps then I can convince him to finish the remaining three books for this series that he has had on tap since 1992 or so. A Matter for Men is the first book in the War Against The Chtorr series, a not-so-class story of alien invasion. This time, the story begins at the end of the world (no, it's not The Stand). After a series of plagues wipes out most of the world's pop David Gerrold is a goddamn genius. Let me repeat that. I want to have a civil union with David Gerrold and have his children. Perhaps then I can convince him to finish the remaining three books for this series that he has had on tap since 1992 or so. A Matter for Men is the first book in the War Against The Chtorr series, a not-so-class story of alien invasion. This time, the story begins at the end of the world (no, it's not The Stand). After a series of plagues wipes out most of the world's population, mankind seems to be on the rebound. However, sightings of giant pink caterpillars and other equally bizarre animals are being reported and Jim McCarthy finds himself a part of a secret government military operation tasked with fighting the "worms" after being volunteered for biological research in Colorado. Jim discovers the true extent of the worm problem - that Earth is being rapidly "terraformed" by a much more highly advanced - and hungry - ecosystem from an unknown planet, and man is no longer at the top of the food chain. What are the worms? Are they the invaders or merely a vanguard? How far will the ecological infestation go? Will man survive? And given that after the plagues most of the world is insane or given over to self indulgent nihilism, does he deserve to? The character of Jim McCarthy is what makes this story really stand out, far more than the unusual twist on the alien invasion story. Gerrold has a talent for crafting believable near-future worlds, but the character of Jim demonstrates his growth as a writer since his early days writing for Star Trek. Having seen most of his family die in his teen years, never making peace with his father or his mother, confused over his sexuality, trying to fit in with the command at his base, trying to understand the Chtorr, and most of all, doubting his own sanity, Jim is a character with MAJOR fucking issues, to say the least. But Gerrold has a brilliant way of making Jim into not only one of the biggest dysfunctional assholes on the planet, but demonstrating his reasons for being one so that you still find him more appealing than any other character in the story. You have to read it to appreciate Gerrold's talent for writing conflicted yet likeable characters. Even when Jim's fucking up the situation once again, you can't help but wish him well. And since he's messed up in so many ways, almost everyone can find something to relate to. "Everyone's crazy," or so the catchphrase goes. Jim still has a lot of growing up to do, and the Chtorran invasion is truly "A Matter For Men" in several ways, as the reader begins to realize from the state of the world, the state of humanity and its society, as Gerrold describes them. Wonderful reading, if somewhat horrifying in places. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Others have more than adequately described this book, so rather than repeat them, I want to toss in one comment that most people will probably find pedantic in the extreme. Sorry. The premise of the book is that Earth's ecosphere is being remade, presumably by extraterrestrial agents although neither the agents, the transport and delivery systems, or any other alien technology are ever found - just lots and lots of alien biology. A nice mystery to wrap a book around. But then the characters start Others have more than adequately described this book, so rather than repeat them, I want to toss in one comment that most people will probably find pedantic in the extreme. Sorry. The premise of the book is that Earth's ecosphere is being remade, presumably by extraterrestrial agents although neither the agents, the transport and delivery systems, or any other alien technology are ever found - just lots and lots of alien biology. A nice mystery to wrap a book around. But then the characters start talking about why the invasion is so successful - why the alien life overwhelms the native stuff in every environment. They decide, based on finding that the "Ch'torran" thingys seem to like their light a bit more red than yellow, that the answer is that the aliens are from an ecosystem that's older (it's got a sun that's had time to age and turn reddish, something that won't happen to our sun for a long, long time). The alien critters have had, like, a billion years more competition and are therefore way tougher and more macho and stuff. This is bogus. Evolution does not work that way. Evolutionary adaptation means adapting to local circumstances. There's no generic progress toward being more "competitive". Invasive species only succeed when they're put in an environment that's equivalent to their native habitat, minus the predators and parasites that keep them in check. I never saw any sign that Gerrold understands this. The characters doing the speculating are supposed to be biologists, and over the course of four books no one ever corrected them. There's a very easy handwave Gerrold could have made at that point in the story, which would be to say that all these critters must be specifically engineered to take over the Earth. No impact on the story, as far as I can recall. But he didn't, and that single fact just gets under my skin whenever I think about this book and its sequels.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ubiquitousbastard

    I first read this book when I was fifteen, and I was instantly in love. Unlike many other things in the last fourteen years, that hasn't changed. I can actually pinpoint the moment when my political leanings turned away from the Democratic party and towards libertarianism: it was reading this book. It seems silly to get influenced on politics by a sci-fi book, but the concepts of responsibility and rights as described here completely changed how I viewed government. Enough of that. I absolutely l I first read this book when I was fifteen, and I was instantly in love. Unlike many other things in the last fourteen years, that hasn't changed. I can actually pinpoint the moment when my political leanings turned away from the Democratic party and towards libertarianism: it was reading this book. It seems silly to get influenced on politics by a sci-fi book, but the concepts of responsibility and rights as described here completely changed how I viewed government. Enough of that. I absolutely love the way Gerrold writes. This book's subject matter could easily go into the ridiculous or cheesy, but somehow he pulls it off perfectly. His protagonist is capable, but very flawed, and the supporting characters are all very dynamic. Unlike many authors, Gerrold makes each of his characters an individual, and extremely human. Dinnie, I had forgotten about Dinnie. A minor character, but she's just fantastic. Then there's his sarcastic sense of humor that keeps the story going even when nothing is actually happening. I never found myself bored reading this (including on my tenth re-read) because there is a good balance of character development, plot development, humor, philosophy and drama. There are a few tiny issues, like repetitive word choice occasionally, but the flaws are so insignificant compared to this book's strengths that I couldn't give it anything but five stars. SIDE NOTE: There is an abridged and unabridged version of this book. I've read both. The abridged version takes out most of the homosexual content (there isn't a lot), which then makes Ted's story arc a little inconsistent, and also those parts do have bearing on future books, so I actually recommend reading the unabridged version.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bon Tom

    This is pure reading pleasure. I'm currently on the book 2, and I can only say this series deserves cult status. The writing is masterful, so many cool and fun concepts served through unobtrusive comedy-like situations and dialogues, which sound so natural and non comedic-like it's unbelievable. There's no single moment, word or line that would be a filler. For me it was fun from the first to the last word. It's like this fucking guy, David Gerrold, knows what you'll like and delivers it on a si This is pure reading pleasure. I'm currently on the book 2, and I can only say this series deserves cult status. The writing is masterful, so many cool and fun concepts served through unobtrusive comedy-like situations and dialogues, which sound so natural and non comedic-like it's unbelievable. There's no single moment, word or line that would be a filler. For me it was fun from the first to the last word. It's like this fucking guy, David Gerrold, knows what you'll like and delivers it on a silver plate. It's like he writes the book for himself and won't put anything in front of you that didn't make himself all tingly from amusement. I love you David Gerrold. EDIT: one more thing. Descriptions. I never seen anything like it. The longer they are, the better they get and the more they make you lose contact with your own surroundings. Is that even possible. I guess only in supreme pieces of literature.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I could not even finish reading this book. The author has a lot of opinions about life and he seems determined to shove them down your throat at every possibility. I love a lot of books with moral lessons or observances about life as long as they are blended into the story, but when there are entire chapters with instructors preaching about freedom and responsibility it completely ruins the story. I even happen to agree with the author about almost everything he says. It just makes for terrible I could not even finish reading this book. The author has a lot of opinions about life and he seems determined to shove them down your throat at every possibility. I love a lot of books with moral lessons or observances about life as long as they are blended into the story, but when there are entire chapters with instructors preaching about freedom and responsibility it completely ruins the story. I even happen to agree with the author about almost everything he says. It just makes for terrible fiction writing. Maybe the book eventually gets better, but I wasn't able to read past the first third of it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Yeah...no. I only made it about a quarter of the way into this book. It is far too derivative of Starship Troopers. It may get better as it goes, but life is too short to spend reading shitty novels. I do like when space aliens eat people, though. Yeah...no. I only made it about a quarter of the way into this book. It is far too derivative of Starship Troopers. It may get better as it goes, but life is too short to spend reading shitty novels. I do like when space aliens eat people, though.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian Johnson

    A Matter for Men is the uneven but often brilliant first book of David Gerrold’s notoriously unfinished War Against the Chtorr series from the 1980s, and it is a pretty spectacular read. The series was recommended (and gifted) to me by a close friend, and I’m happy he urged me to read it. The main plot focuses on the invasion of earth by elements of what appears to be an alien ecosystem belonging to the Chtorr: giant fuzzy caterpillars from outer space. The set-up seems almost like a joke (the a A Matter for Men is the uneven but often brilliant first book of David Gerrold’s notoriously unfinished War Against the Chtorr series from the 1980s, and it is a pretty spectacular read. The series was recommended (and gifted) to me by a close friend, and I’m happy he urged me to read it. The main plot focuses on the invasion of earth by elements of what appears to be an alien ecosystem belonging to the Chtorr: giant fuzzy caterpillars from outer space. The set-up seems almost like a joke (the author penned the beloved “Trouble With Tribbles” episode of the original Star Trek), but Gerrold treats this scenario with deadly seriousness. After a thrilling opening act in which the protagonist encounters the aliens in their burrow-like dwelling, the space-worm infestation becomes the basis for a much more far-reaching Heinlein-inspired meditation on how such an invasion would likely go down for shell-shocked ordinary folks dwelling largely in denial of what is happening in a geopolitical climate of American exceptionalism straight out of the mid-80s. The intelligent scientist-protagonist is bossed around and menaced by various levels of military and other government personnel as he simply tries to understand the nature of the alien threat. These sections of the novel are propelled by a Swiftian hatred of human vanity, and there is an unmistakable elitism to the novel’s glee at dispatching the short-sighted representatives of the ordinary political world. Set against the satire of bureaucracy and political vanity is the novel’s equally unmistakable worship of strong personality and “authenticity”--a dubious combination that is epitomized by the authoritarian genius/secret teddy bear Whitlaw, the protagonist’s Nietzschean professor of “Global Ethics” who genially bullies his students into abandoning their self-righteous piety so that they may arrive at a deeper understanding of “responsibility” and embrace the Will to Power. I may sound sarcastic here, but the chapters in which our hero remembers his classes with Whitlaw are pretty thrilling stuff, whatever one thinks of the philosophy--and honestly, I’m not sure. Gerrold is clearly a novelist with strong opinions, and these sections of the novel are didactic in the extreme--often with an unfortunate “tough-talking” sexism that does not age well. Nonetheless it is exciting to read, and Gerrold writes cracking good classroom dialogue. Still, it all has to be taken with a pound of salt. To be on the side of the angels in this novel is to be one of the soberly enlightened, a cadre of unsentimental conspirators whose only ethics are survivalist speciesism. Fair enough, I suppose, given the (improbable) circumstances. There is something bracing about the novel’s total impatience with emotion. The periodically hot-tempered protagonist is constantly facing off against teachers and mentors who educate him on the banality of getting upset about things and stamping his little foot when secret military tribunals summarily decide to kill him. Such outbursts are for the naive, the novel assures us--all those fools who don’t understand the true gravity of a situation that has moved well beyond caring how they feel about things. For me, the most enjoyable parts of the novel were those dealing with the exploration of the Chtorr’s ontology: just wtf are these giant space worms anyway? Gerrold has marvelous fun teasing us with questions about the native environment, qualities, and intentions of these monsters, but ultimately the question of the space worms’ ontology is more literary than scientific. Scientifically, the worms are some sort of alien megafauna that may or may not be the masterminds of the invasion. They have maws full of teeth and devour dogs and people. At least, sometimes they do. They are also “beautiful,” and sing a kind of cosmic whalesong, and seem to induce a kind of telepathic love-state in humans that catch them at the right time. Here things get literary, perhaps even “spiritual,” the novel at one point suggests. The worms are above all symbols--overdetermined sexual symbols especially. They are obviously phallic, but also roiling and polymorphous, their devouring maws suggest vagina dentata, they are often maternal, and their hypnotic “spiritual” love song evokes the Freudian oceanic state at the root of religious feeling and the yearning for sexual bliss. It’s all very suggestive in a zany sort of way, and clearly connected to the novel’s intriguing foray into post-New Wave sexuality. The bisexual protagonist and his eventually-telepathic sometimes-lover Ted foreground the importance of sexual fluidity and ego-loss to Gerrold’s vision, though at this point with considerable vagueness. It is clearly thematically related to the sexual space worms, but the “how” is a bit elusive. Normally I love this kind of thing, but the narrative lagged for me during the lengthy sections focused on human relationships and sexual intrigues. Gerrold is great on ideas, but his characters feel pretty thin. They are wonderful mouthpieces for philosophizing, but they are not very convincing psychological studies. It is telling that Gerrold devotes one chapter to the protagonist’s (extraordinarily efficient!) psychotherapy to work out his daddy-issues rather than integrating this kind of thing more coherently into the rest of the narrative. (Though, to be fair, there is an implication towards the end that Whitlaw is a kind of superego figure for the protagonist, which raises some very interesting possibilities for reading other characters and the Chtorr themselves in terms of their psychological function as projections within the main character’s psychodrama, if we are willing to grant that he is developed enough to have one.) All-in-all, this is an exciting novel that I will be thinking about for some time to come. Recommended, if not fully endorsed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Earth is being invaded -- not by Martians wielding laser guns but by an alien ecology. The Chtorrian plants and animals are rapidly replacing Earth's native habitats, and the huge Chtorrian worms are happily munching down humans. Jim McCarthy may only have two years of biology but at least he knows which way to point a flame thrower, so he gets the job of investigating these worms at close range. This is a great start to a series that has yet to live up to its potential. Still, this book is worth Earth is being invaded -- not by Martians wielding laser guns but by an alien ecology. The Chtorrian plants and animals are rapidly replacing Earth's native habitats, and the huge Chtorrian worms are happily munching down humans. Jim McCarthy may only have two years of biology but at least he knows which way to point a flame thrower, so he gets the job of investigating these worms at close range. This is a great start to a series that has yet to live up to its potential. Still, this book is worth reading in itself. It is one part about the Chtorrian invasion, one part about Jim dealing with his life and trauma, and one part homage to Heinlein writing about the individual vs society (but done a bit better than Heinlein (not that difficult, of course)).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    20 page long lecture about freedom & responsibility from character even author calls "an asshole makes me look make look up other peoples think about this book at Goodreads ...ohhhh joy ... it's a "there's more lecture than book" book. 20 page long lecture about freedom & responsibility from character even author calls "an asshole makes me look make look up other peoples think about this book at Goodreads ...ohhhh joy ... it's a "there's more lecture than book" book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Waco Glennon

    I have a long history with this book. Back in the day, I was part of the Science Fiction Book Club and I got a collected volume of the first two books in this series. I was amazed by that set. Gerrold became one of my favorite authors. Later, I learned that he wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode for the original Star Trek series. I wanted to read everything he had written. But the Chtorr books disappeared. I didn't know why, but I kept trying to find the next novel or anything like them. Se I have a long history with this book. Back in the day, I was part of the Science Fiction Book Club and I got a collected volume of the first two books in this series. I was amazed by that set. Gerrold became one of my favorite authors. Later, I learned that he wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode for the original Star Trek series. I wanted to read everything he had written. But the Chtorr books disappeared. I didn't know why, but I kept trying to find the next novel or anything like them. Several years later, I was at my favorite book store and I started to question the clerk. He had never heard of these books, but he was interested. A month later, I walked in the store and there was a display with books 1 and 2 with previously unreleased material and a notification that the third book would be out in a few months. I grabbed the books, I ran to the clerk and explained these were the books I had mentioned. I started the books over and got even more story. Book 3 came out as promised. Gerrold announced that his "trilogy" was growing to 5 books or more. Book 4 was released. And that was it. For all these years, I have been waiting for the conclusion. So, you GRR Martin fans, I have been through this before with Gerrold. I hope that things will continue, but for now, it was great to visit the invasion once again. I love this book because it is so tightly woven. It has a very plausible "history." The science feels spot on. The politics are great. The action is intense. And it has what I love in my science fiction books: philosophy. What is freedom? What is responsibility? What is insanity? What is love? It is all here. I love this book. It holds up. For me, it holds up very well indeed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wil Howitt

    David Gerrold's epic is based on one of the more original concepts that I've seen in recent years. But it's really two parallel stories that happen together. One story is about an alien invasion of Earth. But the invaders aren't in huge spaceships. It's more like an ecological infestation. First there are devastating plagues -- dozens of them, all at once -- that wipe out three-quarters of the human race. Then strange plants appear. Then come the animals. The worst are like car-size worms, voraci David Gerrold's epic is based on one of the more original concepts that I've seen in recent years. But it's really two parallel stories that happen together. One story is about an alien invasion of Earth. But the invaders aren't in huge spaceships. It's more like an ecological infestation. First there are devastating plagues -- dozens of them, all at once -- that wipe out three-quarters of the human race. Then strange plants appear. Then come the animals. The worst are like car-size worms, voracious predators that can eat a grown man easily (and they eat their prey alive), incredibly fast, always ravenous, and almost indestructible. "Chtorr" is the sound they make as they attack. There are lots of other animals too. All of the Chtorran species are so much more virulent than Earth species that they're spreading rapidly and will surely take over if we can't figure out how to stop them. This story has loads of action -- fierce battles, horrific slaughters, desperate strategies -- and also lots of interesting biological and ecological speculation. All the while, we're trying to figure out where these things came from, what others might still be coming, and is there an intelligence that is bringing them here. One thing is for sure: this highly developed ecology cannot have appeared on Earth by accident. And then, just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, things get even stranger and creepier. No spoilers, but it gets really bizarre. The other story is about how the human race deals with the invasion. For starters, all of the survivors of the plagues are deeply traumatized, so our entire race has severe PTSD. So we have to figure out how to deal with this inner problem at the same time as dealing with the outside enemy. There is a great deal of discussion and demonstration of various self-actualization modalities ("human being" versus "human doing," that sort of thing) up to and including worshipping the Chtorr or trying to build alliances with them. Here, Gerrold is very clearly imitating Heinlein, in tone and themes. He even includes frequent epigrams from "Solomon Short," an obvious reference to Lazarus Long. There are interesting and worthwhile thoughts here. But the discussions are very lengthy and dry and frequently repetitive. Often the central idea is one that "cannot be put into words" so I have to wonder, why use so many words about it? There is also a theme of telepathy -- the Chtorr appear to have something like telepathic communication, and the humans have cybernetic brain implants that can separate the mind from the body. I don't know how or if this fits into anything else, not yet anyway. I might compare the whole to "Starship Troopers" which also combines combat against alien animals with political philosophy and morality. There's also a fair amount of the sardonic humor you might expect from the writer of ST:TOS "The Trouble with Tribbles" and in fact tribbles do appear in the story under a different name. So, I really like the action story, and I'm rather bored with the didactic story. But they happen together, so I have to read them together. I've finished the first four books. Fifth isn't out yet -- apparently Gerrold plans seven volumes in all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tripp

    I finally got my hands on a Matter for Men, the out of print, but much loved start to David Gerrold's unfinished War Against the Chtorr epic. I am quite mixed on this book. On the one hand, the sci-fi ideas in the book are great. It is an alien invasion book, but the tack Gerrold takes is novel. Rather than land in ships with tanks ablazing like World War 2 from space, this war is approached more in a guerilla fashion. The aliens impose their ecosystem on earth, slowly taking over niches so that I finally got my hands on a Matter for Men, the out of print, but much loved start to David Gerrold's unfinished War Against the Chtorr epic. I am quite mixed on this book. On the one hand, the sci-fi ideas in the book are great. It is an alien invasion book, but the tack Gerrold takes is novel. Rather than land in ships with tanks ablazing like World War 2 from space, this war is approached more in a guerilla fashion. The aliens impose their ecosystem on earth, slowly taking over niches so that become integrated into the ecology and that much harder to uproot. Its a neat metaphor for insurgency warfare and it isn't surprising that the initial forces sent to deal with them are Special Forces. The political world he creates is equally fresh. In his world, the US is the 21st century Weimar, held down by the other nation's who fear its use of military power. The other nations have come, as was the case in the 1930s, to resist any call to use military power, which causes conflict in how to deal with the Chtorran invasion. The story itself makes for great scifi reading, but the characters and the dialogue made me grit my teeth. Gerrold dedicates the book to the Heinleins and he is clearly emulating Heinlein in the book. He shows the growth of a young man into a key leadership position, but I didn't find this character development terribly convincing or interesting. Gerrold devotes long chapters to Socratic dialogues where, for example, the main character receives his political education at the canny hands of a grizzled vet teacher. Later his gains knowledge from a series of military and political figures where he goes through the cycle of FNG rejection, to grudging respect, to eventual team membership. More than once the "I don't know whether to shoot you or promote you" cliche is rolled out. Our hero doesn't want to listen to the Man's rules or orders you see, yet he is in the military. Then there is the depiction of women, rarely a point of strength in science fiction, but pretty bad here. We have the ice-cold leader types and the screaming hysterical types who can only speak in stream of consciousness self loathing emotionalism. The latter are particularly annoying. To be fair, the main character is given to emotional outbursts himself, but he also has a bit more nuance. So this is a tough one. For those who can look past the warts, there is some great stuff here. Just beware.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gerard Costello

    I wasted my Audible credit on this piece of trash. I had just finished my third leviathanesque book in several months and decided that I would cool off the heavy shit with some trashy sci-fi. It didn't have to be great, just an enjoyable fictional piece that I could lose myself in for a bit before reverting my attention to more important literary works. As an audiobook this is 15h25m long. I gave up after almost 5 hours of listening; and I do mean 'gave up' not 'stopped listening'. I wanted to l I wasted my Audible credit on this piece of trash. I had just finished my third leviathanesque book in several months and decided that I would cool off the heavy shit with some trashy sci-fi. It didn't have to be great, just an enjoyable fictional piece that I could lose myself in for a bit before reverting my attention to more important literary works. As an audiobook this is 15h25m long. I gave up after almost 5 hours of listening; and I do mean 'gave up' not 'stopped listening'. I wanted to like this book. I had spent my audible credit on it. Thus, as the obvious defects of the book shoved their hideous, deformed faces into my critical awareness, I chose to look away, and focus on whatever other aspects of the book I could. I had afterall agreed with myself that a trashy sci-fi was just what the book doctor ordered, but in the end the defects are too many and too repulsive too ignore, and what little there is too be admired in the book is overwhelmed with the stenching presence of two dimensional characters, no narrative, repetitive scenes, boring sixth form arguments and debates between write by numbers characters, cheesy dialogue filled with disgustingly American cliches, an embarrassingly obvious attempt to emulate aspects of 'Frank Herbert's Dune', a lack of drama, no reason to turn the page to satisfy curiosity, lack of realistic interaction between characters, unconvincing setting, small but nagging plotholes and clumsy writing that tries to be vivid through analogy and thorough description but which serves only to make the book more boring and annoying. I pulled the earphones out, finally freeing myself from the burden of listening to this tripe after hearing the line: "Rule number one: don't talk. Rule number two: see rule number one." This book is a masterclass in bad writing. I recommend 'A Matter for Men (War Against the Chtorr #1)' to anyone aspiring to be a writer so they can learn what not to do.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hilmi Isa

    The cover of this novel attracted me to purchase it. As a result,after finish reading it,I'm glad and not disappointed of doing so. The setting or background story of the novel took place in an alternated history of our world. United States of America (USA) is no longer a superpower. Due to Moscow Treaties,US is obliged to pay compensation to all countries affected by a devastating war which started first in the Middle East. US received a hard blow by signing the treaties,especially her military The cover of this novel attracted me to purchase it. As a result,after finish reading it,I'm glad and not disappointed of doing so. The setting or background story of the novel took place in an alternated history of our world. United States of America (USA) is no longer a superpower. Due to Moscow Treaties,US is obliged to pay compensation to all countries affected by a devastating war which started first in the Middle East. US received a hard blow by signing the treaties,especially her military power. US armed forces has to be re-organized accordingly,which turned it into nothing more than a defense force,as the treaties dictated. Even worse,US is also struck by a deadly plagues which toll large number of its population,more than half of its population counted dead. The plague is actually an initial strike,not only to the US,to the Earth. It's a preparation for a more dangerous invasion of extraterrestrial alien called the Chtorr! The main antagonist is James McCarthy,a.k.a.,Jim. And,from his perspective,readers take a look of humans' reactions and countermeasures toward the Chtorr's threat,and also efforts to continue their survival after plague disaster. Interestingly,the author also add a political perspective on the story plot. It shows through other countries suspicion toward the rearmament of US against Chtorr. They viewed it as an excuse for US to re-establish her status as s superpower. As a whole,this novel is an interesting read. I'm looking forward to buy sequels of the series in the future.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kai Charles(Fiction State Of Mind)

    This is volume One in a series 20+ years in the making! The future of an Earth recovering from the ravages of war is further imperiled by an alien invasion! Giant worm like creatures named the Ctorr (ktor) have invaded earth. This invasion not only includes attacks on the human population, but also a bizarre form of terrraforming. Every day Officers in the Special forces fight to protect the human race on a planet that is becoming more alien every day. Biology Student James Edward Mccarthy is com This is volume One in a series 20+ years in the making! The future of an Earth recovering from the ravages of war is further imperiled by an alien invasion! Giant worm like creatures named the Ctorr (ktor) have invaded earth. This invasion not only includes attacks on the human population, but also a bizarre form of terrraforming. Every day Officers in the Special forces fight to protect the human race on a planet that is becoming more alien every day. Biology Student James Edward Mccarthy is commandeered from his classroom to the front lines of the Chtorr invasion. David Gerrold has created a wonderful SCi-Fi epic in this series. James McCarthy is our eyes in ears in this ever changing world. The Chtorr are monstorous and alien, but there is an element to them that is fascinating. As the humans learn the invasion may not be solved with guns alone they begin to investigate the living patters of the Aliens with shocking results. The great writing and character devolpement in this book make it a timeless read. Twenty plus years later this book still has the power to move and etertain me. For more information about this author and my 20 year journey with this series check out : www.fictionstateofmind.blogspot.com under the title: Series Interrupted.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    WORMS!! Enormous freakin worms from space invade Earth!!! Sounds stupid? Yeah, but boy, was I hooked on this beginning to the War Against the Chtorr! This has it all, suspense, humour, terror. I can't recommend it highly enough. Read it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tamson

    It seemed like the first 350 pages are more or less the intro for the rest of the story. Kind of a slog to read, especially when it doesn't start getting interesting until 75 or 80 pages before the end of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Pretty good, needed a better edit.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Good concept, horribly executed. Boring characters and story goes no where..ugh.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gunther Rogahn

    I refuse to read anything by this jackass until he finishes this series. He's been lying about it for 20 years or so.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    The rating might be a little high, the book has flaws, and some might consider this a bit too retro. Regardless, I'm going to stick up for the opening volume in the series as good solid science fiction/military science fiction. Let's get a few things out of the way. Gerrold is best known for writing the Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles which began his writing career. After several novels he began, what might be among the top ten unfinished genre series The War Against The Chtorr (and t The rating might be a little high, the book has flaws, and some might consider this a bit too retro. Regardless, I'm going to stick up for the opening volume in the series as good solid science fiction/military science fiction. Let's get a few things out of the way. Gerrold is best known for writing the Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles which began his writing career. After several novels he began, what might be among the top ten unfinished genre series The War Against The Chtorr (and this series will likely remain incomplete for reasons unknown). Yep, I'll throw this up there with George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice and Robert Jordan's magnum opus that was finished by Brandon Sanderson. The retro part comes in Gerrold's creation of a highly competent through, luck, grit and intelligence, main character in Jim McCarthy. Keep in mind Gerrold's influences probably included Heinlein and Campbell and that's enough for many to want to toss Gerrold into the trash (forgetting that Campbell and Heinelin did some good work in addition to their flaws). Gerrold does a fair bit of sociological commentary on humans and the United States. I may not agree with everything he says, but that doesn't mean what he writes isn't interesting (same goes for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Starship Troopers). What should make some 2020 readers happy is when Gerrold touches on the issue of polyamory, non-binary sexual preferences and the like. The sex scenes aren't graphic, but are used to point out, without a hammer hitting you on the head, that in the 1980s Gerrold provided readers with one of the genre's first bisexual main characters. There is a war going on, both the typical fire fight type of confrontations and more subtle ones. Such as the Earth's ecology is being invaded, and Earth is losing. Wars between political powers, and this is interesting and I'm afraid I'll spoil too much if I write more tonight. So yes, this is work is going on 40 years old, but I feel that I can recommend it. The frustration about continuation further is the fact that I know this series is in completion limbo.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim N

    I just listened to the audio version of A Matter for Men, a novel I've previously read 3 times. This book and the rest of the still unfinished War Against the Chtorr series owe a debt to the work of Robert Heinlein (and Starship Troopers in particular) but Gerrold's take on alien invasion is fresh and original (even though this novel first appeared decades ago). The great twist of these novels is that the very nature of the invasion itself is a mystery. There are no massive spaceships hovering o I just listened to the audio version of A Matter for Men, a novel I've previously read 3 times. This book and the rest of the still unfinished War Against the Chtorr series owe a debt to the work of Robert Heinlein (and Starship Troopers in particular) but Gerrold's take on alien invasion is fresh and original (even though this novel first appeared decades ago). The great twist of these novels is that the very nature of the invasion itself is a mystery. There are no massive spaceships hovering over cities. There's no advanced weaponry wielded by a hi-tech alien civilization, no contact or negotiation with an intelligent, technologically advanced alien race. Instead, Earth is being invaded by an alien ecology that slowly reveals itself and grows more complex. It's source is unknown but it is voracious and dangerous. Much of the groundwork for subsequent entries in the series is laid in this first novel but A Matter for Men tells a satisfying story on it's own too. The main character, Jim, goes through an emotional and psychological grinder almost from the very beginning and is well-developed. Some of the more philosophical and political aspects of the book may put a few readers off but they're an important part of the character development and they help explain the form humanity's response to the invasion takes. There's even a nod to a memorable scene in King Kong! The audio version is well-narrated by John Pruden. I can't recommend this series enough. It remains unfinished to this day but Mr. Gerrold is still working on the rest of the series. Hopefully, those books will see print soon but even if they don't, The War Against the Chtorr is worth your time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Heinlein style soapboxing help mar this otherwise interesting novel about an alien invasion through xenoforming the Earth. When I read the synopsis of the this book years-ago, I was intrigued by the idea of aliens trying to change the Earth by introducing invasive species. I never tackled it though because of the length. I was surprised to see the xenoforming concept in H.G. Wells book, The War of the Worlds written in the late 19th century. This did not make it into the famous George Pal film, Heinlein style soapboxing help mar this otherwise interesting novel about an alien invasion through xenoforming the Earth. When I read the synopsis of the this book years-ago, I was intrigued by the idea of aliens trying to change the Earth by introducing invasive species. I never tackled it though because of the length. I was surprised to see the xenoforming concept in H.G. Wells book, The War of the Worlds written in the late 19th century. This did not make it into the famous George Pal film, but it was in the more recent Spielberg/Tom Cruise movie. The alien invasion part of the story is very good, but the novel could be about 100 pages shorter. I was also surprised by some soapboxing about intimacy that can possibly exist between two men, and while there's nothing offensive about it to me, I have to admit it caught me off guard because the other soapboxing the novel was very Heinlein-esque, but I couldn't imagine Heinlein writing about this, although he did usually promote other types of alternate lifestyles in his work. And again, I felt this would have been better worked into the story without the soapboxing. Also, I felt there were too many minor characters introduced throughout which just hampered getting through the novel's narrative.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Devi

    This is a reread for me. I must admit I don't remember the libertarian views I saw in this read. Still fun, quick paced read and a good story. Looking forward to rereading the rest of the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Gault

    Decent characters with interesting flaws but the alien beasties were not working all that well for me. Also, a rather lengthy and pedantic classroom flashback on personal responsibility that I don’t remember signing up for.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dale Rosso

    Interesting alien invasion storyline from the author of Star Trek's Trouble With Tribbles. Aliens terraforming our world from a unknown location.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    The book was quite epic. From my point of view, better than Starship Troopers!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A wonderful book. More: https://theherculesnotes.blogspot.com... A wonderful book. More: https://theherculesnotes.blogspot.com...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ymiracle

    FINISH IIIIIT!

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