Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Richard Matheson's The Twilight Zone Scripts: Volume One
edited by Stanley Wiater
Edge Books, 392 pages

Richard Matheson's The Twilight Zone Scripts: Volume One
Stanley Wiater
Stanley Wiater sold his first article (to Fate) when 16. He's been a professional writer since 1975, following graduation from the University of Massachusetts with a BDIC degree in Writing and Cinema. Perhaps best known for his interviews, he has also edited 2 anthologies, Night Visions 7 and After the Darkness.

Stanley Wiater Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

It is impossible to discount the long-reaching effects the The Twilight Zone television series has had upon almost every aspect of our popular culture. Although employed by earlier authors, it took the impact of the Rod Serling's creation to make the ironic, twist-ending almost de rigeur for almost all fiction genres and in every form of media. The show pulled science fiction, fantasy, and horror out of the realm of the absurd and set it down in the house next door to us. Sometimes, it injected the nightmare directly into our lives.

Many of the best episodes to come out of this landmark series were written by one of the masters of dark fantasy -- the incomparable Richard Matheson. The eight scripts in this first volume are culled from the first four seasons: 1959-1963. These are some of the most famous and memorable episodes ever produced. A chance to see the original scripts is a gift no fan or writer of the genre should let pass. It is an opportunity for which every follower of the original series and/or Matheson's writing owes editor Stanley Wiater a thank-you note. For that and for the informative and entertaining introductions of each selection. These brief interludes provide an insight into the making of the show that might have been lost forever.

With stars (and future stars) such as Alexander Scourby, Howard Duff, and even William Shatner, and a producer like Buck Houghton, the episodes had every advantage available to turn out an exceptional product. But, as a reading of the The Twilight Zone Scripts makes wonderfully clear, the magic and power was in the writing long before a single frame of film was shot.

For the simple reason that I happened upon the episode this morning, I'll single out the 11 May 1962 performance of "Young Man's Fancy." The situation is seemingly as innocuous as small-town middle-class life could possibly be, but, in the Twilight Zone, nothing is ever as harmless as it appears. Newlyweds Alex and Virginia's plan to tie up a few last minute details before they put his late mother's house on the market is about to go chillingly wrong. Maybe not everyone is ready to let the past go. Virginia is about discover, to her horror, just how much energy wishes can generate.

Other scripts include the famous "The Last Flight" -- a war story with a very unusual hero and a lesson in time paradox. The question of what -- exactly -- constitutes reality is explored in "A World of Difference" and "A World of His Own"; two worlds with very little in common with our own. And the remarkable, almost speechless, "The Invaders" showcases Matheson's ability to convey fear and desperation without the handy recourse to dialogue.

Enjoy these spectacular screenplays and try to be patient until the next volume comes out in 2002.

And if you ever doubt the lasting influence The Twilight Zone, ask any stranger on the street to hum for you the theme song.

Copyright © 2001 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide