It's ironic how this genre keeps one so firmly entrenched in a time and place! We always imagine a linear trajectory: Sci-fi ultimately functions as commentary on the here and now, which makes vintage sci-fi deligh By the standards of early television, these stories are fantastic. Sci-fi ultimately functions as commentary on the here and now, which makes vintage sci-fi delightfully But, there's a bit more to it But, a rather astute description of a panic attack.
If anyone knows where to find The Depository by Marvin Petal, please let me know! It was the basis of Five Characters in Search of an Exit , the best episode of anything, ever. What more do you need? This is one of the ones I have seen. A sidewalk pitchman, Lew Bookman, is finishing up his day. He gets home to find a man waiting for him in his lounger. The man explains that he is an agent of God The Twilight Zone: The man explains that he is an agent of God and that it is time for the Lew to move on to the afterlife. The pitchman asks to keep living and the angel gives him the few reasons he would take.
One of them would be a lifelong unfulfilled dream. Lew says he always wanted to make that one pitch, that big one, the one for the angels. The angel informs him that this meets the criteria and asks when he thinks it can be delivered. Lew replies soon but plans on never selling again. Later one of the kids he was talking to gets hit by a car and a doctor is rushed to her side. She is taken up to her apartment and the doctor says it will be hours but by midnight they should know if she is going to survive.
He states he will be by later to come collect her. That night the angel is approaching the apartment and Lew is outside with his table set up. Then he is off going over all the different things he has for sale each one better than the last and the angel is buying them all. Soon the clock has struck 12 and the angel has missed his appointment. The angel is disturbed but then it becomes apparent that the Lew has done his one big pitch.
Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont https: I have seen this one. Jackson is a psychologist that has an appointment with one Mr. When Hall arrives he is in an agitated state and refuses to lay down. Hall states that he is afraid to fall asleep as he will die the next time he goes to sleep. As a young man, he has poor health and a heart condition.
His doctors have warned him that a bad scare will finish him. As a child, he believed he had the ability to make his dreams come true. Lately, he has been having a reoccurring dream that gets further along each time he has it. He is at a carnival and a woman has grabbed his hand and plans to take him on a roller coaster. He knows that the next time he dreams she is going to get him on the roller coaster and he will have a heart attack.
At this point, the psychiatrist calls in his receptionist. Upon seeing her Hall freaks out and says she is the girl from his dream and that his dreams have become real again. In a panic, he jumps out of the office window and falls to his death. However, it is then revealed that this is a dream and that Hall walked into the office, sat on the couch and fell asleep, and a minute after died. Disappearing Act by Richard Matheson https: This is one that I have not seen. An unnamed author is writing about the last few weeks of his life. A couple of weeks ago he had an argument with his wife over money, in particular, his inability to provide with a writing career he is pursuing.
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The fight escalates and he leaves the house and looks up a friend of his. A few drinks later they look up some girls they know and one thing leads to another and he ends up having an affair. The next morning he is sorry and starts to try to make things up to his wife, without telling her. However, any peace he builds up gets thrown out the window when he receives another rejection slip from a publisher.
The author starts to think about how nice the girl was to him and about cheating. He goes to give a call to her apartment, this is when some of the apartment houses shared a phone and asks for her. No one at the apartment house knows of her. The next day while at work he tries to call her work and ask for her, they say they have never had an employee by that name.
Confused he calls his friend who was with him that night. Being circumspect he tries to ask about the girl but his friend acts like he has no idea what happened. After some time to think it over the author decides that he must have not asked directly and tries to call his friend. As the days go on more and more people he knows no longer exist and no one he talks to knows who they were. Eventually, he goes into his part-time job only to find it not there. Then he gets home and finds his wife is gone. The story ends with him speculating that he will soon disappear, the last sentence ending mid-word.
Time Enough at Last by Lynne A. This is a favorite of a friend of mine and I like it as well. Henry Bemis is a mild-mannered man who just wants to read but is never able to find the time to do so. One day while in the vault of his bank there is a large explosion and part of the bank collapses. By the time he is able to get out the rubble he finds that it looks like there has been some type of attack that has killed all the humans on earth but him.
Most of the city is damaged but quite a bit of it is still standing.
Pete's Twilight Zone
He makes his way through town till he gets to the library and it occurs to him that he finally has time to read. However, as he is rejoicing his glasses fall off and break revealing that he has terrible sight and will be unable to read without them. The story and the show do differ some. In the show, the man is always trying to read but keeps getting pulled away by his wife, his boss, and others.
In the show it makes the man looks bad and his wife a shrew, I feel the characters come out more likable in this version. Another big difference is that after the bomb goes off there are a few descriptions in the story of what he sees, including bodies in various states of damage. The show did not have any of this, just sets full of bricks and broken windows. The last difference is in the show when he leans over to pick up a book he drops his glasses. Something he would not have done considering how careful he is with them.
In the story a piece of the rock he is sitting on snaps off dumping him, making the glass breaking more believable. What You Need by Lewis Padgett https: A man who is a reporter, I guess he is what we would now call an expose reporter, is looking for his next story when he notices a sign for a store. He tries to interview the store owner only to be turned down. Not taking a no he starts to watch the customers and the delivery boy and eventually thinks he has enough information to force a story.
Claiming that the store is a scam he says he will write a report about a store that sells ordinary items such as eggs for thousands of dollars. The owner says that if he is quiet he will take the reporter on as a client and that his first and only order will be free, after that he does not want to see the reporter again. He goes in the back and then returns and hands the reporter a package. Outside the reporter finds that the package contains a pair of tailor shears. Miffed that he has no story and thinking the shears are a joke he puts the item into his pocket and heads to the office to catch his boss.
The boss is next to a printing press and when the reporter goes to talk to the boss, the reporter's tie gets caught in the press and starts to pull him to what would be a grisly death. He remembers the shears and cuts the tie. The next day the reporter breaks his promise and returns to the store saying that he has to know what he needs the next day. The owner hands him a pair of dress shoes that have no traction on the bottom. The reporter puts them on and leaves.
In the back of the office, the reporter turns on a machine and watches the reporter walk out of the store and into the subway. During a bit of crowding the reporter is pushed and because his shoes are slick, he loses balance and falls onto the track, then he is run over by a train. It is revealed that the machine is showing the future. The man then tunes into the future where he instead gave the reporter a good pair of shoes and sees that the reporter will keep extorting him until one day he becomes greedy and decides to kill the shop owner for his machine.
An astronaut is supposed to take his spaceship up for a test flight. He has different plans. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and a devastating war is about to break out so he has gotten his family and a few friends together. They plan on leaving the world and finding another planet to live on. The astronaut has squirreled away food and other resources on the spaceship. He uses the excuse that his family wants to say goodbye to get them on the base. They sneak into the ship and he takes off. Once in space, the Astronaut reveals their destination as being a small yellow sun, in particular, the third planet from the sun.
Damaged a spaceship makes a landing on an asteroid that seems to have a biosphere on it. After landing the crew walk around and find the biosphere is set up like earth and that there are different scenes set upon them. In each of the scenes, lifelike mannequins are set in various poses. Eventually, they discover an old man named Mr. Greypool, who introduces himself as the caretaker. He serves all the men wine and starts to tell about the place. It is a cemetery for the rich. When someone rich dies they have their body sent to space and get placed into a set that is decorated like the place they loved the most.
This means that some of the mannequins are actually bodies. Creeped out the Captain orders his men to the ship. As they board they all start to get tired and one by one die. Grepool enters and tells the captain that he will make sure that the ship and his crew are well taken care of and starts to finish the embalming process he started with chemicals in the wine. After everything is set and still the caretaker goes back to a rocking chair and stops moving. It is revealed he is more robot than human and goes into suspended animation unless there is work.
Brothers Beyond the Void by Paul Fairman https: I feel like I have seen this one but not sure. An astronaut lands on a planet and discovers it is inhabited. He works on learning their language and being peaceful with them. Eventually one day he wakes up and finds they have built him a house, based on drawings he made for them.
He gets in and the front windows open. He sees a sign and realizes that sentient life is the same everywhere and that he is now an exhibit at a zoo. I thought the whole backpack through the European countryside was a newer thing, however here is a story from the fifties where the protagonist does just that. It starts off as a good trip but somewhere along the way he picks up a virus and wakes up in a monastery.
Everything seems normal and he has a monk introduce himself explaining that he got close to dying. During the middle of the conversation, the young man hears a howling. However, the monk acts like he heard nothing. This goes on for a few days as he recovers. Finally, one day as the monk is sleeping the man slips out and finds a cell where the screaming is coming from. Inside there is a man who claims that he was kidnapped from his family by the monks. Before he can do anything the monk finds him and brings him to the director of the monastery.
The director explains that the man is not a man, but instead the devil in human form. The monks keep him in a cell and ever since there has been peace in the world.
Feigning interest, the young man acts like he believes it and returns to his room. That night he slips the man out of his cell. Immediately he knows it was a mistake as the man changes in appearance and runs off. The young man finally returns home and watches the news as he sees a familiar face start to show up and a terrible war brews. Years later the war has ended the man receives a postcard telling him that he can rest, the monastery has their captive back. This one was so good that they made two versions of it.
One for the tv show and one for the movie. The TV show one had Billy Mummy as the child. Anthony is a young boy who lives in a town in the middle of nothing. Generally this means a town surrounded by a desert or forest but in this case, it is literally surrounded by a great mass of nothingness. The reason is that Anthony has the ability to make whatever he wants to happen, happen.
And if the idea of a grown man with unlimited power makes you nervous, think of a small child without any of the moral or social control having the same power.
Rod Serling The Twilight Zone
It goes about as well as you can expect. Anthony generally spends his days making people do what he wants, and if they disappoint him he punishes them by killing them, transforming them, or even mentally castrating them. The title of the story comes from the phrase that all the villagers have to say to each other to remember not to screw up and complain. I have not seen this one. Joe Paradise is a Confederate scout.
He is sent to explore a small town that is a bottleneck on the part of the country his army is going to go through. The leadership expects that the Union might have put up an army in the town to delay the Confederates. Joe watches the town for a while but can see no signs of Union activity, in fact, he can find no signs of activity at all. He rides down into the town and finds that there is a full deployment of Union soldiers right on the main street, but all them, including the horses, are laying flat on the ground.
In addition so is every other person and animal in the town. He investigates and finds that they are not dead but seem to be in a very deep sleep. Before he can report back to his group a man approaches him. He claims to be a wizard and says that he cast a hex on these people so that the south can advance.
In addition, he tells Joe that if he signs a pact with him he will make sure that Joe and he will together win the war for the Confederacy. However, Joe notices that the book he is reading from has words scratched out of it with words like God replaced with vile names he can not utter. He pretends to accept and when the man leans in so that Joe can sign a contract, in the blood, of course, Joe brings his sword up and decapitates the man. He then reads the spell the man read, but with the real words.
The Union army starts to wake up and soon they are in battle with the Confederates. Joe has to spend the rest of his life knowing that he had the power to win the failed war. This is not one that I have seen. A man has built a magnificent city in the middle of Africa. It is intended to fix the overpopulation issue that earth is having with there not being enough space for everyone. The disease is a result of a curse put on the city by the local medicine man as retribution for taking their land and relocating them. The engineer is certain that Science will be the answer to the disease and meets one last time with the head of the African village to convince them to be happy with what they have been given.
The man returns to his city and sees part of it is being overtaken by the jungle. Inside his apartment he finds his wife being eaten by a lion. To Serve Man by Damon Knight https: Chances are you know the Simpson parody of this, which was based on the Twilight zone episode, which was based on this story.
Aliens come to Earth bringing peace. They offer technology to cure world needs of food, energy and medical care. The protagonist is a translator for the UN who soon finds himself out of a job as world peace no longer necessitates a reason for the UN. In the meantime, the aliens are giving humans a chance to visit the world. At the very end, the protagonist and his friend are selected to go on the ship.
Somehow a hole to the fourth dimension opens up inside the apartment of a family. During the night their daughter falls into it and can not be found. Soon the dog joins them and eventually, the dad does, however, he only goes in with the top half of his body. Once he has the girl his friend and wife drag him out. I think it might have been more of a better story in its time in the thought process that there might be more than the three dimensions that we are used to and that they would be beyond our ability to comprehend.
Crangle believes that he has some kind of power that randomly appears and then disappears. During this time he has the ability to make changes to all of anything he has power over. Currently, the power is telling him he can change all evil people. He thinks long and hard about it and decides that he will make it so that all evil people will be half their current size. As the time approaches he wills it to happen. The story notes at the end that he now has to stretch to give his bird a nut, something he was tall enough to do before.
Jun 14, Roy Buttons added it. I don't think that these stories are real. But they are good. Dec 17, Adam Wiebe rated it really liked it. The Twilight Zone contained many interesting concepts and twists which made it a delight to read. However, some stories were too long and dragged on, taking away from the others compiled in the book. If you enjoy old science fiction, impossible feats, legendary creatures and magic, this book might be for you. Apr 24, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing. I can never get enough of these stories, The Twilight Zone wasn't just horror; it's stories that have deep moral values, that question the times, that consider issues of humanity and that really make you think about yourself and others.
Feb 13, Katie rated it really liked it. My dad got this book for me for Christmas last year. Many of the Twilight Zone episodes were original stories adapted for screenplay. This book contains 30 of the original stories, and they're even better than the show. Some were a bit predictable, some I already knew the ending because I'd seen the episode, and others completely threw me off with the plot.
It's a great read when you don't have a lot of time because you're a mom of a very rambunctious 1-yr-old. I could sit down fo My dad got this book for me for Christmas last year. I could sit down for a few minutes, read a quick story and get back to the day without putting the book down mid-plot. And it's been fun to go through the episodes on InstantPlay and watch the stories I read. A very thrilling read. Sep 05, Shay rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Think of it like this: Lord of the Rings is not a popularly published set of novels in this country.
In fact, you didn't know if it was properly written down as a story anywhere. And out of the blue someone hands you a bound anthology of all three books. That is my excitement level at finding this book. While I agree with some of the reviewers that a few of these stories are weak, they are nonetheless parts of my childhood. I lived to watch Twilight Zone Think of it like this: I lived to watch Twilight Zone and having a written examination of the story, seeing what Rod Serling had to work with when he began to adapt these stories for television, is just an amazing journey for me.
Sep 25, Katie rated it really liked it. Sure, all the old Twilight Zone reruns are amazing mini-adventures but to read the original stories, most all written by the same three or four guys and then changed slightly for tv, is amazing. These authors had so much imgination and morals: Some of the stories are very good. It's interesting to see how they were changed in the transformation to episodes of the show.
For example, the main character in "Nightmare at 20, Feet" is traveling alone in the story; adding his wife, someone for him to talk to, is what makes the story possible as a drama. And, as is probably the case with any collection of this many stories, some of them are just so-so.
Sep 07, Kathy rated it really liked it. Great stories from the original series. I read this in high school as an assignment from an English teacher who thought I might like the stories, and he was right! I'd love to track this down and read it again. Oct 31, Justin Hill rated it it was amazing Shelves: So many great, unsettling, memorable short stories! I read this in my teens and introduced my teen kids to it as bedtime stories leading up to Halloween.
The Eye Of The Beholder. First to the bass in to the jam Then let the music take command Back to back to another dimension Stop the force and pay some attention Music to party, music to dance The new follow-up of public demand Slick as five da la megaphone Take you down to the Twilight Zone. Enter the clock and turn the body upside down Grab the microphone it's upon the sound You want more more you get We're 2 Unlimited in effect Check up the sound and stop this distortion When we get the fittess, here's another portion Just lay back as we take control Take you down into the Twilight Zone.
Come on baby I'm gonna take you to the Twilight Zone. When I hear this melody This strange illusion takes over me Through a tunnel of the mind Perhaps a present or future time oh, oh Out of nowhere comes this sound This melody that keeps spinning around and around Pyramidal locomotion From a mystic unknown zone. Hearing the twilight Twilight swept away, feeling the rhythm Hearing the twilight Twilight swept away Hearing the twilight Twilight tone. Submitted for your approval One Mr. Miller, who's about to take a trip into oddness and obsolescene Through a zone whose boundaries are that of imagination.
Accompanying him on this journey is the mesmerizing sound of the twilight tone. On a cold and rainy night One Mister Miller had a rare flight Glen was up there boppin' a rhythm Then the engine stopped to listen with him Play that beat Suddenly he heard this sound This melody that keeps spinning around and around Now he resides and plays trombone In the mystic unknown zone.
Hearing the twilight, twilight Hearing the twilight Hearing the twilight. It isn't - it's the beginning! Throw a seven in the clouds and out go yer lights City to city! Roasting coast to coast in a megaton freight crate Hurtle down the runway On a one way trip to heaven Is it hell on wheels in a ?
I get a little freaky when there's only air and steel beneath me "Fasten your seatbelt, we hope you enjoy the ride. It's a total nightmare at 20, feet! Junk metal in the air! Are you ready for a rough ride? This could be suicide Turbulence ahead I think my lunch is on the uprise! This dread ain't funky My hair's on end, there's no blood left in me! It's not the car or the bus or the train! It's the plane When we hit top speed It's always the same Sweating red hot But chilled to the bone Side to side Bouncing round the ozone Tranquilise me!