Monday, June 18, 2018

Reading Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine, Part 9

In which we take a closer look at each issue of the magazine. For our capsule history of the magazine, go here.

Volume 1, number 9 (December, 1981)

Cover Art: Peter Frommig

TZ Publications, Inc.

President & Publisher: S. Edward Orenstein
Secretary/Treasurer: Sidney Z. Gellman
Executive Vice-Presidents: Leon Garry, Eric Protter
Executive Publisher: S. Edward Orenstein
Publisher: Leon Garry
Associate Publisher and Consulting Editor: Carol Serling
Editorial Director: Eric Protter
Editor: T.E.D. Klein
Managing Editor: Jane Bayer
Contributing Editors: Gahan Wilson, Theodore Sturgeon
Design Director: Derek Burton
Art and Studio Production: Georg the Design Group
Production Director: Edward Ernest
Controller: Thomas Schiff
Director, Marketing and Creative Services: Rose-Marie Brooks
Public Relations Manager: Jeffrey Nickora
Accounting Mgr.: Chris Grossman
Circulation Director: William D. Smith
Circulation Assistant: Karen Wiss
Circ. Marketing Mgr.: Jerry Alexander
Western Newsstand Consultant: Harry Sommer
Advertising Manager: Rachel Britapaja
Adv. Production Manager: Marina Despotakis
Advertising Representatives: Barney O’Hara & Associates, Inc.


--A Note from the Publisher by Carol Serling
--In the Twilight Zone: “Required reading . . .” by T.E.D. Klein
--Other Dimensions: Books by Theodore Sturgeon
--Other Dimensions: Screen by Gahan Wilson
--TZ Interview: Harlan Ellison by Tom Staicar
--“Age of Reason” by David St. Marie
--“Forest God” by Jaspar Witco
--“Handyman” by Kenneth Goodman
--“The Pasture” by Joe R. Lansdale
--“All a Clone by the Telephone” by Haskell Barkin
--TZ Screen Preview: The Quest for Fire by Ed Naha
--The Essential Writers: M.R. James by Mike Ashley
--“The Ash Tree” by M.R. James
--“On 202” by Jeff Hecht
--“The Emerson Effect” by Jack McDevitt
--Show-by-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone: Part Nine by Marc Scott Zicree
--TZ Classic Teleplay: “The Midnight Sun” by Rod Serling
--Looking Ahead: In January’s TZ

--A Note from the Publisher by Carol Serling
-Serling uses her customary place in the magazine to examine a plethora of society’s shortcomings and the ways in which imaginative literature serves to provide an escape from these problems as well as combat such issues as ignorance and intolerance. Rod Serling’s work possessed a clear humanistic streak and here his widow advocates that those who enjoy imaginative literature demand that such literature remain a pathway to a better tomorrow. It is a small, inspiring piece which serves to remind readers that Rod Serling’s legacy is as much about moving viewers/readers to positive action as it is about providing escape from life.

--In The Twilight Zone: “Required reading . . .” by T.E.D. Klein
-Klein spends the majority of his editorial lamenting the fact that many so-called horror fiction fans remain ignorant of the classic writers of the form. From this springs a new feature which begins in this issue: The Essential Writers. This feature provides an informative essay on a classic horror writer along with a quality example of their fiction. The editorial is rounded out by Klein’s capsule biographies of the issue’s contributors along with thumbnail images.

--Other Dimensions: Books by Theodore Sturgeon

-Sturgeon is back with another round of brief book reviews. In this issue he takes a look at:

-Millennium, Glimpses into the 21st Century, edited by Alberto Villoldo and Ken Dychtwald.
“. . . it consists of a series of essays on aspects of ourselves, our species, our culture and our thought, in terms of our potential.”

-The Prince of Morning Bells by Nancy Kress
“Smile a lot, yes, and then weep a little, and hold your breath, and wonder at the wisdom, and the whimsy of it, and you’re reading The Prince of Morning Bells.”

-At the Eye of the Ocean by Hilbert Schenk
“. . . a slam-bang narrative that filled me with the same deep excitement I felt when, as a fourteen-year-old, I discovered Robert Louis Stevenson.”

-The Gladiator by Bill Earls
“He tells us of the frighteningly swift evolution of violence in professional sports.”

-Radix by A.A. Attanasio
“. . . a very large paperback, to make what is, to me, a very important point: namely, that the most successful fiction is that which compels the reader to identify with its people, and to be remembered as something experienced rather than merely observed.”

-Distant Stars by Samuel R. Delany
“. . . beautifully produced and illustrated by no fewer than seven fine artists, it contains some of his most compelling writing, including an original story.”

-Whispers III edited by Stuart David Schiff
“. . . for those of you who delight in shudders and grue.”

-New Voices 4, the John W. Campbell Award Nominees edited by George R.R. Martin
“. . . contains an intro by van Vogt, a most penetrating appreciation of Tom Reamy by A.J. Budrys, and one of the finest stories I have ever read: ‘Blue Champagne’ by John Varley.”

-Nebula Winners Thirteen edited by Samuel R. Delany
“. . . despite high-level competition by Ellison, Varley, Sheldon, and Spider Robinson, two runners-up captured me: ‘Particle Theory,’ by Edward Bryant, and Vonda McIntyre’s ‘Aztecs.’”

-Galaxy, Thirty Years of Innovative Science Fiction edited by Frederick Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander
“. . . surely the best buy of the month – possibly of the year.”

-Skyclimber by Raymond Z. Gallum
“. . . the saga of the settlement of Mars during a period of wars on Earth.”

-Horrors edited by Charles L. Grant
“. . . especially J. Michael Reaves’ country-flavored nightmare ‘Shadetree,’ Jack Dann’s ‘The Drum Lollipop’ and Stephen King’s ‘The Monkey.’”

-Virgil Finlay Remembered edited by Gerry de la Ree
“It’s hard to imagine Golden Age pulps without the Finlay touch.”

--Other Dimensions: Screen by Gahan Wilson

-Wilson examines two werewolf films: Wolfen, directed by Michael Wadleigh, and An American Werewolf in London, directed by John Landis. Much of this article felt repetitive for the fact that the magazine presented a feature on werewolf films in the August issue with a color section entitled TZ Screen Preview: Hollywood Cries Wolf! However, Wilson gives each film the once-over and finds things to like and dislike about each. For The Wolfen Wilson praises the performance of Albert Finney as well as the novel use of the werewolf’s perspective in a series of subjective shots. Wilson found the attempt to shoehorn a social message into the film unsuccessful. For An American Werewolf in London Wilson found the special effects to be highly accomplished (the film won an Academy Award for makeup artist Rick Baker) but found the film’s second half to be considerably weaker than the first half, due to the fact that director John Landis all but abandons the comedy of the first half in the concluding portion of the film. Although An American Werewolf in London certainly has moments of comedy, Wilson's review indicates that he expected the film to be a full-out comedy in the manner of Landis's previous films Animal House and The Blues Brothers, perhaps spoiling the ability for him to enjoy the film for the bleak horror story that it is.

-The films have had divergent paths since their initial releases. An American Werewolf in London is generally considered a modern classic by horror film fans and one of the finest of all werewolf films. It has seen multiple home video releases, spawned a sequel: An American Werewolf in Paris, been the subject of a feature-length documentary, Beware the Moon, and there is currently a remake planned by John Landis' son Max Landis. The Wolfen, while admired by many horror film fans, has seen nowhere near the same level of exposure and acclaim. It has recently seen a Blu-ray release as part of the Warner Archive collection.

--TZ Interview: Harlan Ellison on the Art of Making Waves

Subtitled: The candid self-portrait of ‘a very tough little bird.’

-For readers who do not know Harlan Ellison I am not going to use this space in any real attempt to provide a history of Ellison’s career. Those interested in such are advised to consult a recently published biography: A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff (NESFA Press). Briefly, Harlan Ellison is the most honored writer of speculative fiction since Fritz Leiber and his work has been honored by a diverse body of awards, including the Nebula, Hugo, Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe, Writers Guild, and International PEN Awards, among others. He has been recognized as a Grand Master by both the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. Some of Ellison’s more enduringly popular works include the short story collections I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (1967), Deathbird Stories (1975), Strange Wine (1978), and Shatterday (1980), two volumes of television criticism titled The Glass Teat (1970) and The Other Glass Teat (1975), and two hugely influential SF anthologies which he edited, Dangerous Visions (1967) and Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Ellison wrote for many television series as well including The Outer Limits, Star Trek, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and the 1980s Twilight Zone, for which he also served as Creative Consultant.

-A working knowledge of Ellison’s career will certainly assist the reader when encountering this interview as the interview covers an enormous amount of ground in a relatively short space. That being said, it is certainly worth your time to read this interview even if you have not read much (or any) of Ellison’s work. Ellison is erudite, humanistic, controversial, and deeply committed to quality, intelligence, tolerance, and integrity. Ellison has developed a reputation for being contentious due to his unwavering dedication to the integrity of the writer's work. Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of Ellison’s work, both fiction and nonfiction, is its ability to elicit a strong reaction in the reader.

-The interview begins with Ellison listing a number of works in progress, only one of which has subsequently seen publication. Ellison also states that the third and concluding volume in the Dangerous Visions series, The Last Dangerous Visions, will be released in three volumes in 1982. For those who do not know, The Last Dangerous Visions is the most famous unpublished work of SF. It was initially announced for publication in 1973 but suffered a series of setbacks which prevented its publication. The work will likely never see publication in its originally intended form. The interview continues by exploring the varying aspects of Ellison’s career, including his work for television and film, his practice of marketing his books by publicly writing stories in the widows of bookstores, his views on fame and posterity, his college lecture tours, his combative nature, his marriages, and his intention to have all of his unpublished material destroyed upon his death. Overall, this is a long and rewarding interview for Ellison’s readers and is sure to stimulate the curiosity of those who have not yet encountered his work. 

--"Age of Reason" by David St. Marie

Illustrated by E.T. Steadman
"For the lucky few, the law of gravity might bend a little - but only till they reached the . . ."

-A government official is sent to an elementary school to examine a young boy who appears able to transcend gravity. 

-This was a short, enjoyable tale which took on an additional layer of thematic material when the protagonist examines the differences between a child's ability to levitate due to an emotional connection or through genetic makeup. I enjoyed the vague glimpses of a near-future society and the intimate setting and small cast of characters. My only complaint with the tale, as the father of a young boy, is that the child in the tale, a kindergarten student, speaks far too much like an adult. David St. Marie's tale has not seen republication. His work in speculative fiction appears to have started and ended with this tale, though he did contribute a review of Wayland Drew's novelization of the film Dragonslayer to the July, 1981 issue of Ares magazine. 

--"Forest God" by Jaspar Witco

Illustrated by Robert Morello
"Maybe the real danger wasn't out there in the woods. Maybe it was inside himself."

-A racist white man finds himself lost on Native American land while on a hunting trip and discovers the truth of his animalistic nature. 

-Perhaps time has diminished my ability to enjoy this tale. Although it is competently written, it hits just about every Native American revenge cliché that proliferated in the horror genre in the 1980s. The characters are woefully stereotypical and the attempt to create an outré atmosphere is mostly unsuccessful. Worse than that, the tale hints at a disturbing transformation scene which is never delivered. Witco does not appear to have written any additional speculative fiction which again displays T.E.D. Klein's dedication to publishing new writers. "Forest God" has not been reprinted. 

--"Handyman" by Kenneth Goodman

Illustrated by Gregory Cannone
". . . Which asks the vital question: just how far are you willing to go in search of realism - and how much are you willing to pay for it?"

-A dim-witted janitor is coerced into chopping off his own hand for a film director who desires ultimate realism.

-This issue's seemingly obligatory tale of comedic relief is rather insensitively related from the perspective of mentally challenged man who mutilates himself for money to feed his family, only to later discover that the joke's on him. My initial problem with the story is that it doesn't really belong in the magazine. It possesses no speculative or even criminal element. Instead, it is a simple character study which lacks the complexity of character to bring such a story off. "Handyman" has not been reprinted.

--"The Pasture" by Joe R. Lansdale

Illustrated by Ahmet Gorgun
"That craziness beyond the barbed-wire fence - was it a dream, another dimension, or just a load of bull?"

-A fireman discovers a passage to a strange alternate world when he is called out to a small pasture fire.

-"The Pasture" is something of a Joe R. Lansdale rarity. Written early in Lansdale's career, the story has only been reprinted in his 1996 collection A Fist Full of Stories (And Articles), a miscellany of uncollected works. The story contains Lansdale's trademark regional humor but runs a bit long and doesn't seem to come full circle. It is as though Lansdale conjured up the image of naked humans grazing in a field of grass watched over by their bovine owners but couldn't quite wrap a proper narrative around the image. It is a testament to Lansdale's storytelling talent that it is still an enjoyable and, in places, genuinely funny story.

-This is Lansdale's second appearance in the magazine, after his enjoyable tale "The Dump" appeared in the July, 1981 issue. Lansdale is a prolific writer across a range of genres, including crime, suspense, horror, science fiction, western, historical, and mainstream works. His celebrated career has garnered multiple Bram Stoker Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Lansdale began his career writing regional crime and horror stories of a bleak and violent nature, resulting in such powerful works as the novels Act of Love (1981) and The Nightrunners (1987). He is well-known for his Hap and Leonard mystery series and has lately concentrated his efforts on works of historical fiction which still possess his creatively dark signature. Lansdale is particularly well-regarded for his short fiction, collected across such volumes as By Bizarre Hands (1989), Bestsellers Guaranteed (1993), and Writer of the Purple Rage (1994). The best of his short fiction can be found in High Cotton: Selected Stories (2000). Lansdale's works have been translated to other mediums as well, including film, television, and comic books. If you are not familiar with Lansdale's work I can highly recommend becoming acquainted with this unique and very talented writer. My first discovery of Lansdale some fifteen years ago was one of the most refreshing literary discoveries in quite some time. 

--"All a Clone by the Telephone" by Haskell Barkin

Illustrated by Marty Blake
"As is generally agreed, those telephone machines are revolting!"

-A television writer buys a new answering machine only to find that the machine is sentient and ruining his life. 

-More comedic fiction for this issue, this time from television writer Haskell Barkin, who wrote a handful of 1980s Twilight Zone episodes. Barkin's tale naturally concerns a television writer who wages an unsuccessful war with his answering machine when it begins to alter his life in unpleasant ways. The tale is not quite funny enough to be a successful comedy nor quite scary enough to be a successful tale of horror. Nevertheless, Barkin adapted the tale for the first season of Tales from the Darkside, directed by Frank De Palma and starring Harry Anderson and Marcie Barkin, whose possible relation to Haskell Barkin I was unable to determine. Barkin was a relatively prolific writer for television, primarily for animated programs such as The Smurfs, Darkwing Duck, and various Scooby-Doo series, and genre anthology series such as Tales from the Darkside, The Twilight Zone revival series, and Monsters, including an adaptation of Stephen King's "The Moving Finger," starring Tom Noonan. Barkin wrote a handful of additional short stories for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. "All a Clone by the Telephone" joins Donald Olson's "The Tear Collector," from the October, 1981 issue, as a story published in TZ Magazine to later be adapted for Tales from the Darkside. Barkin died in 2013. 

--TZ Screen Preview: The Quest for Fire by Ed Naha

Illustrated with stills from the film
"Those who loved the first twenty minutes of '2001' can return to the past in this thinking man's stone age adventure."

-Writer Ed Naha steps in to deliver this enjoyable full-color preview of Quest for Fire (1981). The article presents the title as The Quest for Fire but "The" was dropped from the title in release. This film was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and written by Gérard Brach and concerns the time in man's ancient past when fire was a previous commodity and warring tribes battled for supremacy. The film stars Everett McGill, Rae Dawn Chong, and Ron Perlman. Two interesting aspects of the production are the technical advisers on the film. Desmond Morris, the zoologist, was engaged to direct the actors in the ways in which early humans might move and behave. Author Anthony Burgess, best known for A Clockwork Orange, was hired to create the film's fictional language. The film was a critical and financial success, currently holding an 83% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing more than $55 million dollars on a $12 million dollar budget. The film is also well-regarded for its makeup achievements, having won the 1982 Academy Award for Makeup for its technicians Sarah Monzani and Michèle Burke. 

Ed Naha is likely a familiar name to readers of such genre publications as Starlog and Fangoria, for which Naha provided dozens of feature articles. Naha wrote one of the earliest, perhaps the earliest, series retrospective for The Twilight Zone, which appeared in Starlog #15 (August, 1978). The article featured an essay, “Rod Serling’s Dream,” and an episode guide to the series. Naha also wrote a film review series, Ed Naha’s Nahalywood, for Science Fiction Chronicle magazine from 1986-1990. Naha is also known for his relatively small fiction output, which includes original novels such as Breakdown (1988) and Orphans (1989) as well as movie novelizations including Ghostbusters II (1989), Robocop (1987), and Robocop 2 (1990). Naha’s nonfiction works include Horrors: From Screen to Scream (1975), The Science Fictionary (1980), and The Films of Roger Corman (1982). 

--The Essential Writers: M.R. James by Mike Ashley

Illustrated with a photo the author, a still from the film Night of the Demon (1957), and illustrations by Lynd Ward, Lee Brown Coye, and Elinore Blaisdell

"With this issue, TZ begins a new series profiling great names of fantasy's past. Our first subject is the genial English antiquarian whose ghost stories, though merely intended to amuse his friends at Christmas, remain the supreme examples of the form."

-Mike Ashley, noted anthologist and compiler of numerous genre reference works, here presents an engaging and informative profile of probably the finest author of ghostly fiction ever to set pen to paper. M.R. James was an English author and lifelong academic and college administrator who occasionally produced a ghost story to read to his friends and students at Christmastime. These occasional tales have since come to be regarded as among the finest bodies of ghostly fiction produced in the English language. James' tales were published in four volumes: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), A Thin Ghost and Others (1919), and A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories (1925). His Collected Ghost Stories appeared in 1931. His stories have never been out of print.

-Although James' tales do not range widely and can be diminished through repetition, the best of his works contain moments of ghostly or demonic creation which can still unnerve a reader today. His tales are also filled with esoteric details which lend the supernatural proceedings an almost unrivaled degree of verisimilitude. This issue presents James' 1904 tale "The Ash-Tree," an excellent and oft-reprinted tale of witchcraft and spectral vengeance. Though I can recommend reading all of James' fiction, if you desire to read only a handful of his best, go with these selections: "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook," "Lost Hearts," "'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad'," "Count Magus," "The Treasure of Abbott Thomas," "Casting the Runes," and "A Warning to the Curious." James' influence upon the field of horror and fantasy is profound and his style of ghost story has been frequently imitated. Multiple anthologies have been compiled from ghost stories inspired by M.R. James and no collection of ghostly fiction is complete without a selection from James. His acolytes are numerous and range from James’ contemporary fellow academics to such titans of horror fiction as Fritz Leiber and Ramsey Campbell. His influence on the field is nearly that of H.P. Lovecraft, who considered James one of the supreme masters of the form.

-James' works have inspired numerous adaptations, including the 1957 film Night of the Demon, starring Twilight Zone veteran Dana Andrews and directed by Twilight Zone director Jacques Tourneur. Several of James' tales were famously filmed over many years for the unofficially titled Ghost Stories for Christmas on the BBC. Most of these adaptations were directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark. James’ work has inspired a long-running and highly regarded newsletter, Ghosts and Scholars, as well as a podcast, A Podcast to the Curious. 

--“The Ash-Tree” by M.R. James

Illustrated by George Chastain
“A classic tale of undying evil.”

-A horrible death awaits any who sleep in a certain room of a manor house which is overlooked by an ancient ash-tree.

-“The Ash-Tree” is the perfect selection to introduce readers to the fiction of M.R. James as it contains many of the overriding characteristics of James’ work, from a preoccupation with historic architecture to a fascination with the ancient sin of witchcraft, and the sin of persecuting the innocent falsely accused of witchcraft, to a horrible fear of spiders and a wonderful gift for dark invention. In Mrs. Mothersole, James creates a truly frightening antagonist who lives beyond the grave to bring a death curse upon the family of the man who sentenced her to hang for witchcraft. The story contains some of James’ most grisly effects, including a body turned black with poison and the horrible arachnid progeny of Mothersole. This one comes with the highest recommendation.

-“The Ash-Tree” was originally collected in James’ first volume of ghost stories, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), and has subsequently been reprinted numerous times, including in Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night (1961, anonymously edited by Robert Arthur), The Dark Descent (1987, edited by David G. Hartwell), and The Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories (1995, edited by Richard Dalby). “The Ash-Tree” was filmed in 1975 by Lawrence Gordon Clark as part of A Ghost Story for Christmas on the BBC. It was presented as a partially-dramatized reading by actor Robert Powell as part of his Classic Ghost Stories series in 1986. In 2000, Sir Christopher Lee provided a dramatic reading of “The Ash-Tree” for the BBC program Ghost Stories for Christmas. English actor Robert Lloyd Parry provides perhaps the finest rendition of the tale as part of his one-man live show in which he plays M.R. James and presents spirited readings of James’ stories. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary is in the public domain in the United States and can be read freely through any number of e-book outlets. 

--“On 202” by Jeff Hecht

Illustrated by Frances Jetter
“The past lay before them, the dead lived again, and memories ended at the end of the road . . .”

-A young couple begin to lose their grips on reality while traveling down a desolate stretch of New England highway. 

-The main aspect of this story which prevents it from receiving a higher grade is its ambiguity, as it comes off more as a mood piece than a proper narrative. I found Hecht able to create a truly unnerving atmosphere fueled by the tension between the couple as well as the overarching theme of the story, which is that the past is never dead and can eeriely intrude upon the present. Hecht’s story is also about the danger of holding too strongly to the past, particularly an idealized version of the past. Hecht successfully creates an atmosphere of Lovecraftian horror which occurs when the male half of the couple juxtaposes his California existence, which he views as bright and hopeful, with the New England landscape through which they travel, which he views as bleak and despairing.

-“On 202” was reprinted in The Year’s Best Horror Stories X, edited by Karl Edward Wagner (DAW Books, 1982). Here's what Hecht related to Wagner on the origin of the story: "I lived in the back of a barn in Haydenville, Massachusetts, a little town marked by a gas station, a post office, and a flashing yellow light and 'Thickly Settled' sign on the highway. I discovered the emptiness of Route 202 while on the way from Haydenville to substitute teach in a somewhat larger western Massachusetts town." "On 202" was also reprinted in New England Ghosts, edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg (1990). Hecht has written several tales of science fiction and horror. His first short story, “Lifeboat,” was published in New Dimensions 8, edited by Robert Silverberg (1978). His most recent story, “A Slice of Time,” was published in the April 28, 2016 issue of Nature magazine. The longtime editor of a trade magazine on lasers, Hecht also wrote a series of science essays for Omni magazine in the 1980s. He performed a similar function for the digital Lightspeed magazine in 2010 and 2011. 

--“The Emerson Effect” by Jack McDevitt

Illustrated by Jeff Gherman
“The old book bore no address – as if its message had been intended, all along, for him.”

-A postal worker intercepts a strange package that appears to be a personally inscribed book from the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). The postal worker, who leads a lonely, dull life, finds himself able to transcend the spatial dimension once he begins reading the book.

-I greatly enjoyed this strange and uplifting novella which presents a fresh spin on the age-old trope of an ordinary man pushed to change his drab existence through an encounter with the supernormal. The story is also of interest as it is the first professionally published fiction from prolific, Nebula Award-winning author Jack McDevitt, who has gone on to produce a stellar body of work in the SF field. The aspect of the tale I found particularly enjoyable was that although McDevitt is primarily interested in the philosophical and scientific aspects of the tale he doesn’t neglect the human element and thus presents distinct and engaging characters who look, act, and feel like real people. This is an element missing from a great deal of SF and it is refreshing to find it in the genre on occasion.

-“The Emerson Effect” was reprinted in Wondrous Beginnings, edited by Steven H. Silver and Martin H. Greenberg (2003), a volume designed to display the first published stories from notable SF authors. McDevitt is best known for his Academy series and his Alex Benedict series of novels. A career retrospective of his short fiction was published by Subterranean Press in 2009 as Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt.

--Show-by-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone: Part Nine by Marc Scott Zicree
“Continuing Marc Scott Zicree’s show-by-show guide to the entire Twilight Zone television series, complete with Rod Serling’s opening and closing narrations.”

-Marc Scott Zicree returns with his Twilight Zone episodes guide, this time providing the cast and crew, summaries, and opening and closing narrations for the following third season episodes, all of which we’ve covered here in the Vortex: “A Quality of Mercy,” “Nothing in the Dark,” “One More Pallbearer,” “Dead Man’s Shoes,” “The Hunt,” “Showdown with Rance McGrew,” and “Kick the Can.” 

-TZ Classic Teleplay: “The Midnight Sun” by Rod Serling

“The original television script first aired on CBS-TV November 17, 1961”

-Presented in full is Rod Serling’s teleplay for the very good (and somewhat underrated) episode “The Midnight Sun,” which I reviewed back on July 20, 2016 and awarded a grade of B. I still feel this is one of the stronger episodes of the series with one of my favorite performances from Lois Nettleton.

--Looking Ahead: In January’s TZ
-Next month’s issue includes another essay by Mike Ashley on the essential writers. This time it is a profile of the Irish writer Joseph Sheridan LeFanu along with LeFanu’s tale “An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street.” Also included are stories by Parke Godwin (with a tale later adapted for the Twilight Zone revival series), Robert Sheckley, Reginald Bretnor, Connie Willis, Vic Johnson, Frank Belknap Long (who is also interviewed in the issue), and John Morressy. A special treat is a work from Rod Serling, “My Most Memorable Christmas.” Robert Martin returns for a film preview of the Peter Straub adaptation Ghost Story, and Theodore Sturgeon and Gahan Wilson return to provide their thoughts on current books and films, respectively. 

See you next time!



  1. My first job after college was working as an Editorial Assistant at HFD, a trade magazine with an office in Greenwich Village. I sat next to the copy desk. One of the copy editors was David St. Marie, who wrote a story in this issue. He was a nice guy with a bushy black beard. He lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but I don't know what ever became of him. As an aspiring, 22 year old writer myself in 1985, I was in awe of him for having had a story published in TZ.

    1. Small world! That is a very cool story, Jack, thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed St. Marie's story in this issue. I'd like to know what became of some of these writers as well, especially if I can't find evidence of any other stories or novels. T.E.D. Klein was clearly dedicated to publishing new writers in the magazine as each issue featured at least one "unknown," many of whom never published another word of fiction.