With Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone reboot arriving, read the stories that inspired some of the show's greatest episodes, including "The Howling Man"!
The profoundly original and wildly entertaining short stories of a legendary Twilight Zone writer, with a foreword by Ray Bradbury and an afterword by William Shatner
It is only natural that Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts for The Twilight Zone—for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension. Perchance to Dream contains a selection of Beaumont’s finest stories, including seven that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.
Beaumont dreamed up fantasies so vast and varied they burst through the walls of whatever box might contain them. Supernatural, horror, noir, science fiction, fantasy, pulp, and more: all were equally at home in his wondrous mind. These are stories where lions stalk the plains, classic cars rove the streets, and spacecraft hover just overhead. Here roam musicians, magicians, vampires, monsters, toreros, extraterrestrials, androids, and perhaps even the Devil himself. With dizzying feats of master storytelling and joyously eccentric humor, Beaumont transformed his nightmares and reveries into impeccably crafted stories that leave themselves indelibly stamped upon the walls of the mind. In Beaumont’s hands, nothing is impossible: it all seems plausible, even likely.
"[Beaumont’s] imagination, as Perchance to Dream amply shows, was more than most writers enjoy in the longest of lifetimes." -NPR
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The legacy of prolific author Beaumont (1929 1967) might be better preserved with a less exhaustive collection. The repeated use of unlikable protagonists getting their comeuppance as a core story concept, and the preponderance of nagging, unpleasant women, bury much of the better, more thoughtful work in the collection. The most interesting and touching stories include "The Magic Man," in which a traveling magician who makes his living selling patent medicine survives on the adoration and love of his audience, and "In His Image," a story about what a man will do for love when he comes to understand his own true nature. Readers are advised to flip past "The Jungle," which uncomfortably exoticizes tribal Africans and punishes an unpleasant protagonist by killing his wife, and "Father, Dear Father," the concluding joke of which has not aged well. Better curation would have saved readers the trouble of skipping around to find the gems.