You are traveling through another dimension…the signpost up ahead your next stop: the Twilight Zone. Those words hold significance for countless people as The Twilight Zone has influenced popular culture in a way most things never do. Thanks to the genius of creator Rod Serling and its unique blend of science fiction, horror and social commentary, The Twilight Zone has become much more than a source of entertainment. The show and the stories that comprise it have inspired imagination and influenced people worldwide.
That influence holds true in More Stories from the Twilight Zone. In this most recent collection of Twilight Zone tales - edited by Carol Serling, wife of the show’s late creator - modern-day authors (most of them sci-fi/fantasy writers) each bring their own unique writing styles and ideas to that legendary fifth dimension.
As in any anthology, the reader can at times be thrown off by the blending of unique writing styles. The stories are based around the same theme, but they are each of them different from the other in style. At times this can be somewhat frustrating, but it keeps the reader guessing as to what will come next and it keeps the collection fresh. The unexpected is the paradigm of what The Twilight Zone is all about, and it’s done well in this collection of stories.
While the tales differ in style and setting, there are certain themes one would expect to find in a book of this subject matter. Time travel is one of the biggest themes; so is alternate history. What if president Kennedy had live to be an old man, or Davy Crockett hadn’t died at the Alamo as he was meant to? These questions will be answered in “Curve” and “The Ides of Texas,” respectively. While alternate history and time travel are somewhat commonplace in The Twilight Zone, they are still entertaining and fun – a perfect example being the story “Reversal of Fortune” by Robert Serling, an accomplished writer and older brother of the late Rod Serling.
Another popular theme to be expected in both The Twilight Zone and this book of stories is the notion of an afterlife. Throughout the ages, death has been a blend of curiosity and fear for mankind. The reader will examine this issue closer in the story “Thoughtful Breaths,” a charming tale of everlasting love by Peter Crowther, and then be downright terrified as they read “Eye for an Eye” by Susan Slater – possibly the creepiest story in the anthology.
There is no shortage of social commentary in these tales. In most of the stories, it tends to be in between the lines and a little less obvious, but the allusions to it are blatant in the story “Sales of a Deathman” by David Gerrold. This bizarre and somewhat disconcerting tale examines the possible ramifications of a world where killing is socially acceptable when a life is no longer deemed worth living.
One of the most wonderful pieces of writing is a previously unpublished story by Rod Serling himself.
“An Odyssey, or Whatever You Call It, Concerning Baseball” is a simple tale about a man who aspires to be more than what he is – and he achieves it through use of his imagination. This tale is a real gem from a man who built his legacy through the use of his own vivid imagination.
All of these stories are worth reading. Some are surreal while others are poignant, but all of them embody the true meaning of The Twilight Zone; they express the good and bad of mankind, the light and the dark, defining humanity’s role in the quintessential nature of the reality we call existence, even during the oddest of circumstances. All of them deserve a place in this collection, a collection that readers will enjoy no matter where they are, here… or in The Twilight Zone.