Review: The late-80’s revival of The Twilight Zone, in all honestly, went completely unnoticed by yours truly. In fact, I’d completely forgotten about it until it was mentioned often in connection with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski’s past television works. Lo and behold (not necessarily in that order, mind you), I stumbled across a copy of Straczynski’s short-form novelizations of several of the New Twilight Zone episodes. I figured it would be interesting to see his writing style in a new venue – not Babylon 5, and not his excellent guide to scriptwriting. Wow, was I ever in for a surprise.
As well as these stories translate to the page, the book had the immediate effect of making me very, very sorry than I missed this particular revival of The Twilight Zone. Straczynski is a natural heir to Rod Serling, with a sense of the fantastic that runs wild when appropriate and reigns itself in when necessary. And naturally, the twisted karma that was the original Twilight Zone’s signature also runs through these stories (including one story, “Our Selena Is Dying”, which was a never-produced Serling script lost until 1988). Straczynski’s signature style is present, however – there are mentions of the hour of the wolf, along with several familiar speeches, and themes that run throughout his work.
Admittedly, I’m reviewing this book just a few years after it went out of print, but if I can find it without consciously looking for it, you can too. Many of the stories have also been reprinted more recently in a volume called “Straczynski Unplugged”.
Author: J. Michael Straczynski
Publisher: Bantam Spectra