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.
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.
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.)
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 Zone
- 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:
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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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!