Serling on the Shelf: Rescuing Rod

I have on my shelves a dog-eared paperback edition of Rod Serling’s 1967 book “The Season To Be Wary.” It sits near similarly worn copies of several other books that he either wrote or edited. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you one bit, but WHY I have them might.

Serling Promo2

It’s not because I love old books (though I do). It’s because when I first began acquiring copies of Serling’s volumes, they were out of print.

You don’t have to be an obsessive fan like me to be struck by that fact. One of the most famous writers of the 20th century, and his books were less accessible than James Patterson’s? As Serling might say, file that under “L” for “literary crime.”

Enter Rod Serling Books.

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With any other writer, its mission — “preserving the legacy of a national treasure” — might come off as overkill. Not here. The power and scope of his writing continues to reach new audiences today. Men and women who weren’t even alive when Serling died in 1975 continue to discover “The Twilight Zone” and “Night Gallery” every day.

And now, the books that I tracked down through eBay and second-hand bookstores can be yours in new, non-dog-eared editions, either in paperback or for your Kindle. (I should note that I have no connection to RSB, which was founded by Serling’s daughter Anne. I’m writing about it solely as a public service.)

seasontobewary

Rod Serling Books also vows to “provide a platform for writers to publish works of a similar genre and quality, and afford readers another dimension of thought-provoking stories.” That sounds exciting too, but what interests me primarily is the newfound availability of these books:

  • Stories from the Twilight Zone
  • More Stories from the Twilight Zone
  • New Stories from the Twilight ZoneNG2Book
  • The Season To Be Wary
  • Night Gallery
  • Night Gallery 2

You can also find two excellent books about Serling and his work: “As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling” by Anne Serling, and “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour” by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson. Both are highly readable and shed a much-needed light on some of the finest writing ever aired on television — and the unique genius behind them.

Two of his most famous teleplays, “Patterns” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight” — Emmy-winning stories that made Serling a household name years before The Twilight Zone debuted — are also slated for publication.

I have one minor complaint: the minimalist covers. They’re unforgivably dull:

RSB2

RSB1

Perhaps they thought a “black and white” look was apropos. Given the excitement of the material itself, though, this is an ironic choice worthy of the Twilight Zone itself! But in the end, this is a minor demerit. What matters is what’s inside. And these covers do have a nice, uniformly clean look when grouped together on your bookshelf.

Which, of course, is right where they belong. I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit like Henry Bemis when he stumbled across a certain bombed-out library. We finally have the books we need. Now we just need some time …

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***

Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest

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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 07/31/2014, in Rod Serling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. This is such an important post you’ve written, Boss. You’ve talked about doing it for a while now and I was very glad to see the draft in my inbox at last. As a huge book fan myself, I well know the frustration of looking for out of print books. So it really warms my heart to see that these old books are going to be available for a new generation to enjoy.

    I too am disappointed that the new covers have fallen prey to today’s drab, minimalist style, but as we talked about this morning, there is something satisfying about having a nice, uniform set of books on your shelf!

    I’m also thrilled to see that Rod Serling Books is offering both digital AND paper books! With each passing day, I worry more and more that our beloved paper books will become completely obsolete. And that is a terribly sad thought. So kudos, RSB, for keeping our bookshelves full!

    Great post, my friend! :)

    • Thanks, GF! Yes, this one has been percolating since I first read about RSB this spring. I know not everyone is quite the fanatic I am, but I also know many fans aren’t even aware these books exist. So as I said in the post, I viewed this as a public service.

      That’s especially true since some stories are different here than they were in their filmed versions, and some stories have never been filmed. For example, two of the three stories in “The Season To Be Wary” later became two-thirds of the Night Gallery pilot movie (“Eyes” and “Escape Route”), but the third one, “Color Scheme”, is available only here.

      So these books are definitely worth checking out. They aren’t simply prose versions of the stories we all know so well in celluloid form.

      And you know I’m right with you on paper books. I’m a long-time Kindle owner, and I appreciate the advantages of e-editions, but there is something about actual PAPER books that carry an undeniable appeal. So yes, I’m very glad we can get these wonderful volumes in both forms.

      Thanks again for your pics, your proofreading, and your unflagging support, my friend. It’s ALWAYS appreciated. :)

  2. Reblogged this on Sparrow Falls Mystery and commented:
    Exciting News for Twilight Zone Fans!

  3. Great news to know! Do you know if RSB will put out or republish writings by other authors associated with the Twilight Zone (eg, Richard Matheson)? That also would be a great resource.

    • Agreed! I’m not sure about whether they’ll be publishing books by other TZ authors, but because these other authors are already in print, I tend to doubt it.

  4. This post is very beautiful.

  5. This is great news. I have one TZ book – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/556476097680577822/ My wife bought it off eBay after I told her how many times I checked it out of our school library when I was a kid. I have a ton of books, but if I have to make a new shelf or two, I can do that. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    • My pleasure, Dan. I enjoy writing straight “fanning” posts, but I like it better if I can bring my readers something new. I hadn’t seen anything else written about RSB, but even if I had, I’d want to take note of it myself.

      And yes, if any author is worth building new shelves for, it’s Serling! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. Covers.

    The boon and bane of all authors!

    I love the look of the old 60s and 70s pulps…there’s something there that just grabs me in the marrow! Of course, I grew up then, so nostalgia might have something to do with it…but great to hear his work is finding book format again! And those two covers look very familiar….

    • I love old books too, and the covers add so much to their appeal. I feel like there was a real art to creating good covers, ones that would draw readers it, and I fear this art is on its way to being lost in an age of e-books.

      Look at how album covers used to be: big and beautiful. Now they’re all shrunk down on our iPods — undeniably portable and convenient, but not nearly as memorable and eye-catching.

      Speaking of books, I wish you luck as “Psychic” launches! Hope it’s a great success. :)

      • Well, from what I’m told by trad publishing editors they do still put in the all the same time and effort into e-books cover design, and from my own experience, cover artists do still put in the effort…I can’t speak to the music business, but true enough, album “covers” have shrunk, with the advent of Electronic Age!

        And thanks for your well wishes, Paul! I hope to now release Psychic no later than August 6th!

  7. Jonathan Collins

    Skelton and Benson’s book might be the best reference book I own, next to Marc Scott Zicree’s TZ companion. Both are absolutely essential reading for fans of Serling’s work.

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