Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary

Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary edited by Carol Serling

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read Twilight Zone 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary without ever having seen an episode of any version of the book's namesake television show.

The collection seemed forced to me. An interesting assortment of authors are included, and, having worked on anthologies myself, I am impressed with the turnout here. However, the stories are uneven, as other reviewers have mentioned. Most of the anthology seems to be written as an introduction to fantasy/horror/sci-fi/thriller short fiction. Perhaps the book is intended as an introduction. As a collection for collectors, I'm not sure this book stands up and holds water. A few of the stories stand out, but most of the anthology is filled with clich├ęs and cheap thrills.

I think if the stories had been in a different order, an order that felt like a progression of short stories instead of simply a collection, I would have given the collection a higher rating (3/5 stars instead of 2/5). I understand the motivation to begin with "Genesis" and end with "El Moe", but I would have rather read the collection in the following order (original placement in parentheses):

1. "The Art of Miniature" (4) by Earl Hamner
2. "Your Last Breath, Inc." (16) by John Miller
3. "Ants" (15) by Tad Williams
4. "The Street that Time Forgot" (11) by Deborah Chester
5. "Truth or Consequences" (6) by Carole Nelson Douglas
6. "Genesis" (1) by David Hagberg
7. "Vampin' Down the Avenue" (9) by Timothy Zahn
8. "El Moe" (19) by Rod Serling
9. "Torn Away" (8) by Joe R. Lansdale
10. "A Chance of A Ghost" (10) by Lucia St. Clair Robson
11. "The Good Neighbor" (18) by Whitley Strieber
12. "Ghost Writer" (13) by Robert Serling
13. "A Haunted House of Her Own" (2) by Kelley Armstrong
14. "On the Road" (3) by William F. Wu
15. "The Wrong Room" (12) by R. L. Stine
16. "Family Man" (17) by Laura Lippman
17. "The Soldier He Needed to Be" (14) by Jim Defelice
18. "Benchwarmer" (5) by Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn
19. "Puowaina" (7) by Alan Brennert

Try this order out if you like, and let me know what you think!

This review originally published on Goodreads.com