Genre Dark Fantasy Publisher Gauntlet Press Date Published 2005 Review Posted on 11/8/2006 Reviewer Rating
As Timeless As Infinity: Vol 2 edited by Tony Albarella
Reviewed by Jeff Edwards
If you've read this book, why not
Gauntlet Press continues its ambitious undertaking to present the complete Twilight Zone scripts
of Rod Serling in As Timeless As Infinity: Volume Two. In addition to teleplays from all
five seasons, the book contains tributes, photographs, music cue sheets, and insightful
commentaries from editor Tony Albarella.
Rod Serling once said, "My major hang-up is nostalgia," and that yearning to return to a simpler
world is evident within the collection. Exhausted by the demands of producing a weekly television
show, and plagued by disagreements with sponsors and the network, Serling must have identified
completely with Martin Sloan, the tense advertising executive who retreats to his hometown in
"Walking Distance." Sloan is delighted to find that everything is exactly the way he left it a
quarter-century before - until he realizes that you truly "can't go home again." A heartless
industrialist named William Feathersmith takes a far darker trip in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville."
Feathersmith - a "predatory, grasping, covetous, acquisitive animal of a man" - has reached a
career pinnacle, and he's bored. But when he strikes a Faustian bargain to go back fifty years
and start all over again, things don't turn out the way he had planned.
Not all of Serling's characters want to relive the past: some want to prolong their future. In "The
Trade-Ins," an elderly couple visits a corporation that promises a second chance at life via new,
artificial bodies. But the husband and wife - both in their seventies - face a difficult decision after
discovering that they can only afford one new body. In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain," a
man in a troubled May-December marriage injects himself with an experimental youth serum to
please his younger wife - and the results are unexpected.
The "unexpected" quickly became stock-in-trade for The Twilight Zone, and Serling rightfully
earned a reputation for his twist endings. In "The Silence," an exasperated member of a
gentlemen's club wagers that a fast-talking boor can't keep quiet for an entire year, and each man
takes drastic steps to win the bet. In "Judgment Night," a ship inches through a "phantom-like" fog
while one of its passengers is lost in a fog of his own: Struggling with partial amnesia, the man is
gripped with an impending sense of doom and the fear that he has done all of this before. Here,
Serling remakes the myth of the Flying Dutchman into a wartime story pitting a German
submarine against a British freighter, just as H.P. Lovecraft did decades earlier in "The Temple."
A character in "Walking Distance" offers this piece of advice: "You've been looking behind
you...Try looking ahead." But Gauntlet Press understands the importance of preserving and
celebrating past achievements in speculative fiction: Each script in the book has been
painstakingly reproduced, complete with handwritten notes, from Serling's personal collection.
As Timeless As Infinity: Volume Two is like a time capsule for Twilight Zone fans,
transporting them back to the halcyon days of Rod Serling's remarkable television series.
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