Posted by: Mish | January 13, 2009

New Stories From the Twilight Zone

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

I’m drawn to science-fiction because of how it’s used to put society under the microscope. It’s a way to comment on events and morals. During the era of McCarthyism, any material considered inflammatory was censored. “Harmless” fantastical science-fiction like The Twilight Zone or by writers such as Ray Bradbury were able to slip past the red markers. They were able to comment on current events (i.e. “The Shelter”) and the people involved. Since my youth, I have been a fan of The Twilight Zone. Maybe that’s where my love for science-fiction began, even before I knew of the genre.

Coming across the torn, tattered, and taped New Stories From the Twilight Zone was a gold mine. With the cover price of 75 cents and my cousin’s name in it, I can only guess that it was originally my aunt’s, which makes it more so. Not having really thought of The Twilight Zone‘s classic black and white episodes existing in paperback, I was surprised and couldn’t resist reading them by the  mastermind himself, Rod Serling. It wasn’t until after the episodes aired that the anthology was published in 1962 with these thought provoking six short stories:

#50- “The Whole Truth”: What happens when a used car dealer has to tell the truth? 5/5

#68- “The Shelter”: Panic ensues in this story about a neighborhood during a nuclear-attack warning. 5/5

#85- “Showdown with Rance McGrew”: An actor is haunted by a ghost from the old west. 4/5

#47- “The Night of the Meek”: A drunk department store Santa comes across a garbage bag that contains no ordinary trash. 5/5

#75- “The Midnight Sun”: A woman tries to survive as the earth hurtles toward the sun. 4/5

#60- “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”: A group of thieves use  suspended animation to escape into the future. 5/5

I really enjoyed reading Rod Serling’s writing and writing. Adding to the experience, was his audible narration in the back of my mind. The short stories were as entertaining as if I were watching The Twilight Zone, for which Serling wrote 92 out of 156 episodes. I definitely recommend New Stories From the Twilight Zone or any other books by him or from that dimension.

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