Gerald Allan Sohl Sr. (December 2, 1913 – November 4, 2002) was an American scriptwriter for The Twilight Zone (as a ghostwriter for Charles Beaumont), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, Star Trek: The Original Series (once using the pseudonym "Nathan Butler"), and other shows. He also wrote novels, feature film scripts, and the nonfiction works Underhanded Chess and Underhanded Bridge in 1973.
New York Times reviewer Villiers Gerson described his 1953 novel The Transcendent Man as "contain[ing] enough twists to afford the reader a few hours' entertainment" despite being "oversimplified in motivation." P. Schuyler Miller found the plot unconvincing. Gerson later panned Sohl's The Altered Ego, saying "This wordy book lacks characterization, emotion, suspense, and interest."
His 1955 Point Ultimate is a piece of Cold War invasion literature: in 1999, a faraway future history at the time of writing, the US lies under a cruel Soviet occupation, reinforced by a deadly artificial disease which makes conquered Americans dependent on the conquerors for the injections which keep them alive. But a dashing Illinois farm boy breaks out in revolt, killing a degenerate soviet governor and his "Commie" American collaborators. Eventually, he becomes a leading member of a very formidable resistance organization which is capable of breaking at will into the occupiers' security headquarters and springing prisoners out, and which had already established a clandestine space program under the Soviets' noses and established a sizable colony on Mars.
In the far more low-key The Time Dissolver (1957), Sohl tells the story of a man and a woman who wake up one morning to find that they had inexplicably lost all memory of the past eleven years including any memory of how they ever came to meet and become married to each other, and who embark on a quest to find what happened and to trace back these eleven lost years. Aside from the science fiction aspects, the book captures the atmosphere of late 1950s America.
Ghostwriting for Charles Beaumont
As Beaumont became increasingly ill from Alzheimer's and Pick's disease, and unable to write, Sohl ghostwrote three episodes of The Twilight Zone for him. These were The New Exhibit, Queen of the Nile and Living Doll. Beaumont insisted on splitting the fees for each episode.
- "Spacemen's Realm", The New York Times, May 24, 1953.
- "The Reference Library," Astounding Science Fiction, March 1954, pp.153
- "Spaceman's Realm", The New York Times Book Review, July 18, 1954, p.20.
- "Gary Westfahl's Bio-Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Film: Jerry Sohl". sfsite.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- Official web site, JerrySohl.com
- Obituary on The Independent website
- Jerry Sohl at the Internet Movie Database
- Jerry Sohl at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Jerry Sohl at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Works by Jerry Sohl at Project Gutenberg
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