Authors: Carol Serling
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EDITED AND WITH
AN INTRODUCTION BY
A TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOK
â¢ New York
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in these stories are either products of the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously.
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Copyright Â© 2010 by Carol Serling and Tekno Books
All rights reserved.
A Tor Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
ISBN 978-0-7653-2581-5 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-7653-2582-2 (trade paperback)
First Edition: July 2010
Printed in the United States of America
0Â Â Â 9Â Â Â 8Â Â Â 7Â Â Â 6Â Â Â 5Â Â Â 4Â Â Â 3Â Â Â 2Â Â Â 1
Introduction copyright Â© 2010 by Carol Serling
“Curve” copyright Â© 2010 by Loren D. Estleman
“Reversal of Fortune” copyright Â© 2010 by Robert J. Serling
“By the Book” copyright Â© 2010 by Nancy Holder
“Earthfall” copyright Â© 2010 by John Farris
“Dead Post Bumper” copyright Â© 2010 by Dean Wesley Smith
“Thoughtful Breaths” copyright Â© 2005 by Peter Crowther. First published in
#1. Reprinted by permission of the author.
“Obsession” copyright Â© 2010 by David Black
“Sales of a Deathman” copyright Â© 2010 by David Gerrold
“The Writing on the Washroom Wall” copyright Â© 2010 by Jane Lindskold
” copyright Â© 2010 by Jean Rabe
“The Mystery of History” copyright Â© 2010 by Emily Lawless Taffe
“I Believe I'll Have Another” copyright Â© 2010 by Loren L. Coleman
“The Ides of Texas” copyright Â© 2010 by Douglas Brode
“The Bloodthirstiness of Great Beauty” copyright Â© 2010 by M. Tara Crowl
“Eye for an Eye” copyright Â© 2010 by Susan Slater
“The Couch” copyright Â© 2010 by Peter Farris
“Where No Man Pursueth” copyright Â© 2010 by Norman Spinrad
“The Last Christmas Letter” copyright Â© 2010 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“An Odyssey, or Whatever You Call It, Concerning Baseball” copyright Â© 2010 by the Rod Serling Trust
LOREN D. ESTLEMAN
Reversal of Fortune
ROBERT J. SERLING
By the Book
Dead Post Bumper
DEAN WESLEY SMITH
Sales of a Deathman
The Writing on the Washroom Wall
The Mystery of History
I Believe I'll Have Another
LOREN L. COLEMAN
The Ides of Texas
The Bloodthirstiness of Great Beauty
M. TARA CROWL
Eye for an Eye
Where No Man Pursueth
The Last Christmas Letter
KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH
An Odyssey, or Whatever You Call It, Concerning Baseball
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and 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 we call the Twilight Zone.
Welcome to our second collection of stories celebrating the
television program, which recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its first broadcast. As with our previous collection,
Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary,
we've assembled a stellar assortment of writers, each of whom have given us their unique take on a story that, in another time, might have just come from that fertile realm of the imagination.
When Rod Serling created his visionary television series, he had done so with a goal in mind beyond simply supplying entertainment to the viewing public. He felt that television had the potential to be a real art form .Â .Â . to entertain, yes, but also to educate and illuminate the human condition, not to just rehash formulaic comedies and westerns. But he was repeatedly frustrated by the endless censoring from the networks and sponsors, who insisted on removing all controversial political and social commentary. Fed up with fighting this process, he knew that the only way to express himself and deal with these issues of the times would be to create and control his own show. But how to prevent the censors from watering down the themes of his new series?
It was here that Rod came up with his brilliant idea to circumvent network control; he would create a show that existed in a world of “what if” .Â .Â . a shadow land that existed just beyond the limits of imagination. Call it science fiction, imaginative fiction, fairy talesâwhatever it was, it worked beautifully. Powerful episodes like “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” “A World of His Own,” “Time Enough at Last,” and “Walking Distance” were among the first of many, many celebrated episodes written by Rod, garnering critical acclaim and awards for excellenceâRod's fourth of six Emmy Awards for dramatic writing, a Producers Guild Award for his creative partner, Buck Houghton, and the first of three Hugo Awards for best dramatic presentation. Most important, it was a show that told the stories Rod wanted to tell, in the style he wanted to tell them.
The Twilight Zone
has grown from that modest beginning to become a part of American culture for the past fifty years. Whether in syndication across the country, or in the two revivals of the television series, the title itself has entered our consciousness as a label for anything that is strange, weird, or inexplicable. And his original tales have inspired many writers to create their own storiesâsome of whom are showcased in this volume.
The following eighteen stories range from the unusual to the bizarreâand each would fit very nicely in that realm beyond sight and sound that is the Twilight Zone. From bestselling author John Farris comes a cautionary tale about how mankind might be its own destroyer. Kristine Kathryn Rusch gives us a moving tale of a family that still receives correspondence from a long-lost relative at the holidays. David Gerrold explores a future society where everyday men and women are given the ultimate power over the rest of humanity. From the glitter of Hollywood, M. Tara Crowl tells of a woman who wished for her heart's desireâand not only got it, but everything that came with it. We've even included a
rare gem from Rod himself, about a man who is unstoppable in his own mind.
Each of these stories epitomizes everything the Twilight Zone representedâa journey into the unknowable to confront the strange and unique, which can be found everywhere, from the world around us to the deepest recesses of the human heart. I hope you'll enjoy reading these stories as much as I did assembling them.
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Loren D. Estleman
Have you ever awakened from an afternoon nap and not known where you were? In the case of Herb Tarnower, that's the rest of his life. He fell asleep in front of the television set and woke upâin the Twilight Zone.
Herb Tarnower fell asleep watching a basketball game and woke up looking at the History Channel. Penny must have changed it while he was sleeping.
They were running old footage of JFK's funeral procession.
He recognized the horse with the empty boots reversed in its stirrups and the flag-draped coffin in the back of the hearse. Something about it seemed different, though. It must have been that he was watching it in color. When he'd seen it live as a boy, it had been on a black-and-white set.
“The kids should be watching this,” he said aloud. He got up and dialed the phone.
“Becca, turn on the History Channel. Brian and Amber might learn something.”
“There's no one here by that name. You have the wrong number.”
He realized then it was a strange woman's voice. He apologized, broke the connection, and dialed again more carefully. The same woman answered.
“I'm trying to reach my daughter,” he said. “Is this two-one-oh-six-four-four-three?”
“Yes, it is.”
His wife came in carrying a basket of laundry as he was cradling the receiver. She asked whom he'd called.
“I just tried to call Becca. Why didn't you tell me she'd changed her number?”