Can you live your life by what The Twilight Zone has to teach you? Yes, and maybe you should. The proof is in this lighthearted collection of life lessons, ground rules, inspirational thoughts, and stirring reminders found in Rod Serling’s timeless fantasy series. Written by veteran TV critic, Mark Dawidziak, this unauthorized tribute is a celebration of the classic anthology show, but also, on another level, a kind of fifth-dimension self-help book, with each lesson supported by the morality tales told by Serling and his writers.
The notion that “it’s never too late to reinvent yourself” soars through “The Last Flight,’’ in which a World War I flier who goes forward in time and gets the chance to trade cowardice for heroism. A visit from an angel blares out the wisdom of “follow your passion” in “A Passage for Trumpet.” The meaning of “divided we fall” is driven home with dramatic results when neighbors suspect neighbors of being invading aliens in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” The old maxim about never judging a book by its cover is given a tasty twist when an alien tome is translated in “To Serve Man.”
Dawidziak (The Bedside, Bathtub, and Armchair Companion to Dracula) combs through one of television s most beloved series in this tongue-in-cheek self-help book. The loving tribute encompasses nearly two-thirds of the original Twilight Zone episodes in the course of its 50 short essays, lightly analyzing a vast swath of moralist in disguise Rod Serling s work (as well as that of his writing team). Making references to the online gaming site Pogo, It s a Wonderful Life, and his own personal life, Dawidziak draws readers in with a friendly tone that s inviting even to the uninitiated. His survey is by no means comprehensive, but it doesn t need to be. The point is proved easily enough: The Twilight Zone deserves its immortal status not only for its artistry but for its timeless life lessons. The book includes a touching foreword by Anne Serling, Rod Serling s daughter, and guest lessons by legends such as Harlan Ellison, Mel Brooks, and Dick Van Dyke. B&w photos.