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Matter for Men (War Against the Chtorr) [Mass Market Paperback]

David Gerrold
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam USA; Reissue edition (Feb 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553277820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553277821
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,342,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Forget Independence Day! This is how an alien invasion of our world would most likely happen. Not with a bang, but with a slow, insidious replacement of our ecology with that of another world.

The book (and its sequels) are sometimes difficult to read. The hero is fallible and prone to doing what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. As a result, his mental state goes up and down over the course of the books, which always leave you thinking about the alien ecology and what is going on.

If I have any criticism of the series it is that it is not finished and Mr Gerrold seems in no hurry to finish it. I am left wondering if this series will end up like The Wheel of Time, namely being finished by another author. I hope not, since I doubt anyone could get the tone right. But four books in 25 years is slow writing. I know he's done a ton of other stuff, but still... Here's hoping it will be finished eventually.

All in all though, a fine piece of work, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate SCI FI 27 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David Gerrold is one of the greatest SCI-FI writers of the present day. The War against the Chtorr series was a well thought out and extremely detailed account of a biological alien invasion of earth. There is enough thought and just the right amount of cheesyness that you need in good sci-fi. Gerrolds insight into future events (remember these books were written in the early 80's) is uncanny.
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By JC47
Format:Paperback
Mr. Gerrold seems to have dropped the ball completely about finishing up the novels he promised readers years and years back. If you read this series, don't get your hopes up for a new novel coming out (at all?) anytime soon. It seems that after all the years he has promised to finish the fifth of a promised seven novels nothing has happened. NOTHING.

So just read the novels. Enjoy the characters and then just drop the whole thing. Sorely disappointed in Mr. Gerrold's neglect of the final novels in this series.

Some really great characters, situations, science fiction horror, nightmare scenarios and just good story telling. Again just no conclusion to the story coming anytime soon it seems. Readers, me, got attached to the characters and they are memorable types. Good, not so good, downright creepy but they all fit well together for the most part.

On a more negative note, his psychological EST chapters are to long. To emotionally intense to be SciFI. Shorten those and the novels would flow more easily. These chapters seem to occur through out the series so be aware of that.

He left me wanting more but instead I got left hanging.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, thought provoking, horror entwined with hope 29 Mar 2001
By MISTER SJEM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is hard sci-fi 21 Jan 2006
By Michael Lynn Mcguire - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is very hard sci-fi. Do not pick up ths book without having many hours available to you to finish it. Once started, the book sucks you in gradually so that you say, "just one more chapter". When you finish the book at 5:50 am the next morning, you will be exhausted as if you had just run a 10K.

The above also applies to the three follow-on books.

I have read this book at least 5 times. Maybe 8. I lost count many years ago.

Gerrold's site, [...] , claims that there will be a fifth book and a sixth book and a seventh book. I will believe it when I see it. I suspect that these books are so strenuous to write that the man might not have the strength to finish them anymore. There is a taunting preview of book 5 at [...] .
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tough one to review 10 Mar 2005
By Brian A. Schar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a novel standing on its own, A Matter for Men succeeds. The setup of the alien infestation of Earth is quite skilled, and is written in great depth in a realistic manner. Gerrold's future Earth, decimated by plague and beseiged by alien ecology, is believable and interesting; in other hands, it could easily come across as silly or boring. Although our protagonist McCarthy is flawed, so what? The perfect hero gets boring after a while. Having said that, his whining and drama get a little tedious after a while.

The reason this is a tough review to write is the steady decline in quality of the next three books in the series. As is common in (endemic to?) SF novel series, each successive novel tends to become more turgid, slow and self-indulgent. The War Against the Chtorr is no exception. In fact, the remaining novels in this series (particularly Book 3) set new standards in tedium.

Were this novel standing on its own, I wouldn't hesitate to give it 4 stars. However, after you read it, you'll want to read the others, and you will likely be disappointed. I have to knock off one star for the annoyance you will endure if you do so. Be forewarned!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When will this be back in print? 25 Jun 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
~A Matter for Men~ hits the ground running, and doesn't look back; I can't imagine anyone not being shocked by the end of the first chapter. Gerrold does an excellent job of depicting a world just barely surviving a series of plagues, only to be beset by attacks from the Chtorrans (think large pink worms that think *you're* lunch).
Jim McCarthy is an excellent protagonist, and he clearly develops over the course of the novel--while surviving numerous life-threatening encounters with the Chtorrans--becoming, to quote Coleridge, "a sadder and a wiser man" by the end.
The book did remind me of Heinlein's ~Starship Troopers~, although I think this book is an order of magnitude better: almost everything that happens in Gerrold's book is, if not likely, at least plausible. [The one notable exception would be the fate of Jim's friend Ted; I didn't quite understand the motivation for his actions late in the book.] In particular, the flashbacks and sidebars seem particularly well-placed and don't disrupt the narrative. [There are questions raised that aren't answered, but as there are six more books in the series (three of those not yet published), I suspect many of those questions will be answered later.]
Gerrold wrote this as the first book in a series of seven (so far, four have come out; fans have been waiting a decade for the fifth), and they're all out of print. Gerrold has said there are plans to bring the first four books back when the fifth comes out; I, and many others, eagerly await their re-release.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favorite book, bar none 2 Mar 2000
By Lisa L. Linderman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read a lot, and so don't have a lot of time to repeat books (too much new to read!) However, I've read this one at least a dozen times, and it is always just as good.
I force this book (and the others in the series...FINISH THE NEXT ONE, DAVID!) on all my friends at some point in their lives. Almost all of them have agreed with me about how good it is. I have four or five copies of these books around, just to be sure I never lose them when loaning them out.
One thing I will have to sheepishly admit is that I read this book long before I touched any Heinlein...and when I picked up my first Heinlein novel, Starship Troopers, I was floored to realize that Gerrold's style is very similar, and, well, Solomon Short has been around for a long time. Doesn't make it any less great, and it suddenly makes the dedication to Robert and Ginny Heinlein make a *lot* of sense!
The characters are complex, the hero isn't perfect, the science is very strong, the plot is interesting (it's a page-turner in several spots), and the overall sense of story from the four books together makes for some interesting speculations. I am sure David knows where it's all heading, but I hope he hurries up and lets the rest of us in on it...I waited years for the fourth book, and it was worth it. I'm sure that the wait for the fifth will be as worth it, but dang it, I'm getting impatient!
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