Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Late to the Party Again

    Any reader of horror fiction probably checked out the work of Thomas Ligotti years ago.
    Any reader of horror fiction except me, that is.  I read Ligotti for the first time just a few nights ago.  I knew he was out there, of course, but he was just another one of the multitude of writers I hadn't read yet.
    Then I picked up his latest ebook release, DEATH POEMS.  It's just what it sounds like -- a collection of poems dealing with death and mortality.  It's a short book, and if you're one of those who looks at the ratio of page count to price, maybe you'd be inclined to pass it by, but you shouldn't skip this one.  The selections here are lean and mean and very dark.  One Amazon reviewer noted that it might be a good idea to avoid this book if you're given to depression.  Usually I write such comments off as hyperbole, but in this case maybe not.  There is some awfully grim work here -- I'm thinking in particular of "Writing Home," the piece that closes the book, but there are several others just as dark as the closer.
    If you're already a fan of Ligotti's fiction, you'll probably want this book even if you don't usually care for poetry -- a number of these poems read like short stories stripped down to the shortest possible length, among them "Memento," "The Note," "Voices," and "Writing Home."
    Finally, there are a number of poems here that are not only dark but almost laugh-out-loud funny as well ("Hospital" and "Birthday" for instance) -- though that depends on just how dark your sense of humor happens to be.
    In Barry Malzberg's THE ENGINES OF THE NIGHT, there's a short essay on the last days of the great noir writer Cornell Woolrich, with a quote from Woolrich near the end: "Life is death.  Death is in life.  To hold your own true love in your arms and see the skeleton she will be; to know that your love leads to death, that death is all there is, that is what I know and what I do not want to know and what I cannot bear."  Now, that's bleak.  Ligotti's DEATH POEMS approach that bleakness, and maybe even surpass it a bit in some of the poems -- Woolrich, nearing the end, recoils from that vision, but I don't get the impression that Ligotti recoils from it at all, at least not yet.
    And Ligotti's other books go to the Amazing Colossal To-Be-Read Pile.

    Speaking of noir...
    I suffer from what might be called New Management Aversion Syndrome.  Say you've been going to the same bakery for years, and the head guy retires, and the family keeps it running and it's still good but it's not quite the same.  Maybe the new management isn't even trying to be the same, but you can't get around the awareness that the bakery's different now.
    So Joe Hill's horror fiction doesn't do it for me the way Stephen King's does.  Peter Leonard's suspense novels don't do it for me the way Elmore Leonard's did.  Ditto a few others.
    Which brings me to Trent Zelazny.
    I started noticing his name out there a couple of years ago, and deliberately stayed clear.  I was and am an admirer of Roger Zelazny's science fiction and fantasy, and didn't want to find a favorite restaurant open under new management and not quite the same.  So for a long time I stayed clear.
    That was a major dumb on my part, because Trent Zelazny's not working the same street; he's writing noir.  His new novel, VOICELESS, moves like a bullet and so does the previous novel TOO LATE TO CALL TEXAS -- both are fast-paced dark delights; I'm a few chapters into his novel DESTINATION UNKNOWN and so far it looks like the same can be said for that book as well.  Shorter works such as "Shadowboxer," "People Person," and "Fractal Despondency" are just as strong.  For too long a time, I avoided his work -- he's now one of the writers whose books I'll pre-order the day I see them listed.
    Trent Zelazny has reviewed a couple of David Goodis's books on Amazon, and said in one of those reviews that if he hadn't found Goodis he wouldn't be writing the stories he's writing now.  There are echoes of Goodis in his work, I think; of Woolrich too.  And now and then it seems to me there's a faint flavor of the non-series titles of John D. MacDonald and Bill Pronzini.  That's not to say he's an imitator -- he isn't -- but he's from the same neighborhood, and it's a terrific neighborhood to be from.
    If you enjoy noir fiction, if you've been thinking that they just don't write 'em like that any more, if you've enjoyed Goodis and Woolrich and Lansdale, take a look at Trent Zelazny's work.  I don't think you'll be disappointed -- this guy's good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stanley Ellin Novels Coming to the US Kindle Store

     On July 8, four novels by the late great Stanley Ellin will be made available as ebooks in the US.  The four titles are: DREADFUL SUMMIT, THE KEY TO NICHOLAS STREET, HOUSE OF CARDS, and THE DARK FANTASTIC.  If we're fortunate, they'll soon be followed by the rest of Ellin's work.
     If you've not read Ellin, be advised that the man was a giant in mystery and suspense fiction, a three-time Edgar Award winner (for his short stories "The House Party" and "The Blessington Method" and his novel THE EIGHTH CIRCLE) whose work was frequently adapted for television (most often for ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and Roald Dahl's TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED) and also for films by Joseph Losey, Claude Chabrol, and others.
     His novel THE DARK FANTASTIC was a controversial piece of work, rejected by a number of publishers before being picked up by Otto Penzler's Mysterious Press.  If memory serves, Ellin had contracted with his publisher for a new suspense novel and the novel was going to deal with racial themes.  Ellin delivered, and the publisher rejected it, and so did nearly a dozen more before Otto Penzler picked it up for Mysterious Press.  It was reported, again if memory serves, that some of those houses that rejected the book might have been willing to take a chance on the book if it hadn't been written by a white writer.
     Why the rejections?  My guess is that Ellin's portrayal of his villain, retired professor Charles Witter Kirwan, is simply devastating -- a truly Dangerous Vision, to borrow the title of Harlan Ellison's anthology.
     I don't recall ever running across a character quite like Charles Witter Kirwan in fiction before, and I'll bet you don't either.  What makes the character of Kirwan a dangerous vision is the fact that Ellin doesn't portray him as a surly bigoted clod or as a figure of ridicule like ALL IN THE FAMILY's Archie Bunker.  Such characters were so obviously in the wrong that nothing they said could be considered for a nanosecond.
     Kirwan isn't presented in that manner.  He's a retired college professor, still living in the neighborhood he's lived in for decades.  He has his house, and he owns the apartment building next door, and he still does a lot of maintenance work in the apartments.  He has watched the decline of the college in which he taught, the deterioration of the neighborhood in which he lives and the building he must maintain, and for this he blames the almost-entirely black residents of the neighborhood.  Kirwan is terminally ill, but has no intention of waiting for the cancer -- he intends to blow up his apartment building at a time when nearly all the tenants are home.  Kirwan's chapters are made up largely of his taped confession and testament, and they are not the words of an Archie Bunker.  Kirwan is concise, articulate, and horrifyingly persuasive, and reading his sections you'll find yourself thinking, "Yeah, I can see that," and then smacking yourself in the head muttering, "What am I thinking?"  Ellin will put you inside the skin of someone moving calmly and deliberately toward a racist act of mass murder.  The description on the book's page in the Kindle store refers to his tapes as the ravings of a lunatic racist, but Kirwan isn't raving at all -- he's setting down coldly and meticulously the details of what he intends to do and explaining why he intends to do it.  It's rough reading, but like all Ellin's work it's wonderfully well done, and highly recommended.
     Some of Ellin's books have been available as ebooks in the UK for quite some time; among these is THE SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES: THE COMPLETE MYSTERY TALES, 1948-1978.  If you enjoy the short stories of Poe, Shirley Jackson, John Collier, and Roald Dahl, you don't want to miss this collection; in it you will find, among other gems, a lovely little blood-freezer called "The Question" which centers on a conversation between an executioner and his son and is all by itself worth the price of the book.
     When more Ellin appears in the US Kindle store, I'll note it here -- especially the short stories.  (And if you're lucky enough to be able to buy from the UK Kindle store, grab that short story collection now -- you won't be disappointed.)
    The novels are being ebooked by Otto Penzler's MysteriousPress.com and Open Road, and Penzler deserves a BIG round of applause for making Ellin's work available as ebooks here, as well as for all the other terrific work he's published over the years.

Update July 6: I've received word that three other Ellin titles will be released on the 8th by Open Road, but those three titles will NOT be made available as ebooks in the USA.  One of them is the short story collection THE SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE; the other two are his novels THE EIGHTH CIRCLE and STRONGHOLD.  A disappointment for US ebook readers, but if you're in the UK you'll want to grab these ASAP.

Update July 9: And file this one under What We Got Here Is Failure to Communicate ---
Just a few days after I received notice from Open Road that Stanley Ellin's STRONGHOLD, THE EIGHTH CIRCLE, and THE SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE would not be available as ebooks in the USA, guess what three titles were listed available in the US Kindle store this morning?  Not sure where the mixup was but I don't much care.  I ordered them immediately.
   And if you're only going to buy one short story collection this summer, THE SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE is the one to get.  Trust me.
   Now if the rest of his books will be coming as well, I'll be one happy camper.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

And a Little Something Else for National Short Story Month -- 12 Robert Sheckley Collections from Open Road

     If you enjoy good sf short stories, you want to read Robert Sheckley if you haven't already.  Don't take my word for it.  Among the comments on Sheckley at Amazon and Wikipedia, we find the following:

** "Science fiction’s premier gadfly." —Kingsley Amis
** “If the Marx Brothers had been literary rather than thespic fantasists, they would have been Robert Sheckley.” —Harlan Ellison
** "Let’s say you are a devoted fan of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, love the sardonic comeuppance stories of John Collier and Roald Dahl, own all of Edward Gorey’s little albums and enjoy watching reruns of 'The Twilight Zone.' Where else can you find similar instances of sly, macabre wit, of such black-humored, gin-and-tonic fizziness in storytelling? The answer may be unexpected: among the many masters of satirical science fiction and fantasy. Robert Sheckley...is certainly a leading example."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
** "I had no idea the competition was so terrifyingly good." - Douglas Adams
** "Probably the best short-story writer during the 50s to the mid-1960s working in any field." -- Neil Gaiman

     Those sound like pretty good recommendations, don't they?

     On May 13, Open Road will release a dozen short story collections by the late great Robert Sheckley.  A number of these titles have been fairly hard to come by for years.  E-Reads had begun reissuing Sheckley's work prior to that publisher's acquisition by Open Road; it's nice to see Open Road continue with those releases.  The collections that will be released are:

Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?
Citizen in Space
Divine Intervention
Is That What People Do?
Notions: Unlimited
The People Trap
Pilgrimage to Earth
The Robot Who Looked Like Me
Shards of Space
Store of Infinity
Uncanny Tales
Untouched by Human Hands

     And at just over three bucks each, they're a real bargain.  You'll find a lot of great sf in these collections; don't take my word for it -- listen to those other guys I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

     (I'd like to note one of my favorite Sheckley stories -- it's not science fiction or fantasy, but it's got that nice macabre feel that Michael Dirda refers to in his comment.  The story is a lovely little blood-freezer called "Fear in the Night," and you'll find it in Is That What People Do? and also in Pilgrimage to Earth.  If you liked John Collier, Roald Dahl, and the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents tv shows, you'll like this one.  Worth the price of the book all by itself.)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Few Suggestions for National Short Story Month

     So.  May.  National Short Story Month.  And that's been going on for a few years now.  And if I noticed in previous years that May was National Short Story Month, I'm bleeped if I remember...
     So.  National Short Story Month.  And is there a ton of good stuff out there to load up your Kindle?  Jeez, is there ever.  For instance...

     One of the best deals out there at the moment is Irwin Shaw's SHORT STORIES: FIVE DECADES, Shaw's own selection of his best short work; Shaw is perhaps best remembered for his best-selling novels such as THE YOUNG LIONS, VOICES OF A SUMMER DAY, and RICH MAN, POOR MAN, but if memory serves Shaw's short stories were regarded more favorably than his novels.  In long form or short, Shaw was a terrific story-teller, and SHORT STORIES: FIVE DECADES is an excellent collection.  Some of the stories, like "The Eighty Yard Run" and "Girls in Their Summer Dresses," will probably be familiar already, having been standards in literature classes for some time now, but many of them will not.  There are only a couple of things wrong with this collection -- first, it's too bad it didn't include the introductions Shaw wrote for the books in which the stories were first collected, and second, it would have been nice if Open Road Media had gathered all of Shaw's short fiction for this ebook rather than sticking to the contents of the original print edition of the title.  But those are extremely minor quibbles.  This book is $2.99 this month, and believe thee me, for the amount of good reading included, it's an absolute steal.

     If you're into classic short fiction, Delphi Classics is a name to watch for -- this publisher tries to put an author's complete works into a single ebook.  In some cases, US copyright terms keep later work out of the volume (a few of the last Kipling titles, for instance), but usually it's all there.  And their prices are delightfully low, usually under $4.00.  All of Henry James, all of Dickens, all of Hawthorne, all of Chekhov, and many more.  And Delphi includes extras: for example, the Henry James collection includes not only his short fiction (as well as his novels, criticism, autobiographical writings, a selection of his letters), but also a number of short titles about James by other writers.  Finally re: James -- if you couldn't get through his novels, try his short stories.  He's one of those writers who gets better as you get older.  Some years back I went to a library conference and the schedule left me with nearly a full day at the hotel in Wichita waiting for my bus to leave late the next morning.  I settled back with a couple of collections of James' short stories -- high point of the trip.

     They're not ebooked, but a while back the Library of America put out a nice set in three volumes of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short stories.  The New England Science Fiction Association has been doing complete-stories sets of major sf and fantasy writers for years, among them Poul Anderson, William Tenn, Roger Zelazny, and C. M. Kornbluth.

     I've already mentioned some of the collections by Robert Silverberg, Jack Finney, Ray Bradbury, and Gerald Kersh in previous posts.

     To return for a moment to Open Road Media: the company recently acquired E-Reads and is reissuing E-Reads titles under its own imprint.  Included are nearly all of Fritz Leiber's titles -- Leiber was equally adept at science fiction, heroic fantasy, and horror, and if you've missed stories like "Smoke Ghost" or "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" you should stop reading this post and grab yourself a whole bunch of Leiber (if you don't snatch up everything available from Open Road, go for the Night Shade Books SELECTED STORIES volume with the Neil Gaiman intro).

     Also formerly from E-Reads and now from Open Road is the work of Harlan Ellison.  Even if you don't know his name, chances are you've noticed his work.  The best episodes of the original OUTER LIMITS, "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand," were his.  The best episode of the original STAR TREK, "City on the Edge of Forever," was his (and Ellison's original script was much stronger than the version that aired).  The best episodes of the 1980s TWILIGHT ZONE series, "Shatterday," "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty," and "Paladin of the Lost Hour," were adapted from his stories.  Novelist, essayist, screenwriter, short story writer, editor -- he's one of the writers who can do it all.  I can remember a time when finding many of his titles required a LOT of scrounging through second-hand book stores; E-Reads and now Open Road have made most of his backlist easily available.  I've started to write a post on Ellison for this space half a dozen times and trashcanned it every time -- Ellison's work has been important to me since I was in high school nearly fifty years ago and found a copy of I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM on the drug store spinner rack, and I just don't know how to do even a little bit of justice to the subject.  The title story of that book, and the even better stories that followed in other collections through the years, blew this kid away.  If you'd like a good sample of fiction from one of the absolute powerhouse short story writers of our time, try the following: DEATHBIRD STORIES, I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM, SHATTERDAY, GENTLEMAN JUNKIE, SLIPPAGE, and LOVE AIN'T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED;  ANGRY CANDY and MIND FIELDS are also must-reads, but they're not available as ebooks.  Many of his stories are fantasies, but you'll find he's a terrific writer of mainstream fiction as well -- check out "Daniel White for the Greater Good," "No Fourth Commandment," "Neither Your Jenny Nor Mine," "All the Lies That Are My Life," and "The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie."  A writer not to be missed, and if you've not read him before, what better time to discover his work than during National Short Story Month?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ebook Releases of Work by T. S. Eliot, Russell Kirk -- and More Gerald Kersh and Shirley Jackson

Can't get enough Shirley Jackson?  Well, there's more coming next year.  Here's a link to The Guardian's Alison Flood on a new collection (stories, lectures, essays, drawings) called GARLIC IN FICTION that should be out some time in 2015 from Random House.

And coming from Valancourt in 2014-15, four more Gerald Kersh titles, among other goodies.  The Kersh titles are the novel THE GREAT WASH (aka THE SECRET MASTERS) and the short fiction collections ON AN ODD NOTE, CLOCK WITHOUT HANDS, and NEITHER MAN NOR DOG (a collection worth the price of admission just for the story "Gomez").   In addition to the Kersh titles, Valancourt's releases will include Alex Hamilton's BEAM OF MALICE, A. E. Ellis's THE RACK,  F. L. Green's ODD MAN OUT, and more.  Find the announcements at:

Valancourt is the publisher of two other Kersh titles -- the novel FOWLERS END, and a short story collection called NIGHTSHADE AND DAMNATIONS (a terrific selection of Kersh's shorter work, with an equally terrific intro by Harlan Ellison).  Other Kersh titles have recently been reissued by Faber, and I believe Faber may have more Kersh scheduled for late this year.

Russell Kirk, author of THE CONSERVATIVE MIND, THE POLITICS OF PRUDENCE, and ENEMIES OF THE PERMANENT THINGS, also wrote a long study of T. S. Eliot called THE AGE OF ELIOT; that book has just been released in a Kindle ebook edition, and the release is nicely timed.  A number of Eliot's titles have also been released as ebooks during the last couple of months, including his SELECTED ESSAYS, CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE, THE COMPLETE PLAYS, and others, with Eliot's COLLECTED POEMS due for ebook release in May.

If you're a fan of strange stories, watch for more Robert Aickman coming soon from Faber; his collection DARK ENTRIES will be released as an ebook in June and a later collection, COLD HAND IN MINE, will be reissued in July.

And speaking of strange stories, the above-mentioned Russell Kirk wrote ghost stories as well.  His ghost story collections have not been released as ebooks yet, but it's well worth checking your local library for them.  Look for ANCESTRAL SHADOWS or for the two-volume set of Kirk's ghost stories from Ash-Tree Press, OFF THE SAND ROAD and WHAT SHADOWS WE PURSUE.  If you enjoy ghost stories, you don't want to miss Russell Kirk.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Other Iron River -- Print Edition Now Available

And if I say so myself, it doesn't look bad (Thanks, CreateSpace).

Fifteen stories, trade paperback, for $7.99 list price (though Amazon discounts it a bit).  The stories included are mostly short ghost, horror, and fantasy stories, and I like to think that some of these pieces have a nice Twilight Zone/Jack Finney feel to them.  Check the book out if you get a chance, and I hope you'll enjoy it.

And here's the link to the print edition in the US Amazon store:
The Other Iron River, and Other Stories - paperback

The Kindle edition remains available (and cheaper, too).  Link for the US Kindle edition is:
The Other Iron River, and Other Stories - Kindle edition

The print edition should be available soon, if it isn't already, in other Amazon stores besides the US as well as in the CreateSpace store.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ebooks by Roger Zelazny, Dennis Etchison, and a Huge Collection of Time Travel Stories Edited by the VanderMeers

     iBooks has released an ebook edition of Roger Zelazny's short story collection THE LAST DEFENDER OF CAMELOT.  This one includes some terrific mid-career and later work from Zelazny, including the title story, award-winners like "Home Is the Hangman" and "24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai," and more.  No reader of science fiction and fantasy should miss Zelazny's work -- he was one of the finest writers ever to come out of the field.  You'll find the best of his earlier short fiction in the collection THE DOORS OF HIS FACE, THE LAMPS OF HIS MOUTH; that collection includes the classic "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" (described by Theodore Sturgeon as "one of the most beautifully written, skillfully composed and passionately expressed works of art to appear anywhere, ever"), the title story, "The Man Who Loved the Faoli," and others.  The earlier collection isn't available for the Kindle yet, unfortunately, but you can get it in trade paperback (a bit pricey, but worth every penny and more).

     Also available now for Kindle is another collection of short horror stories by Dennis Etchison, THE DEATH ARTIST.  This one includes gems like "The Dog Park" and "No One You Know."  This is the third of his short story collections to be ebooked by Crossroad Press; the others are THE DARK COUNTRY and RED DREAMS.  All three are brimful of grim dark delights.

     And finally, we have THE TIME TRAVELER'S ALMANAC, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer.  This is a big (close to a thousand pages) collection of time travel fiction, and there is a LOT of good reading gathered here.  That said, I'm of two minds about this one.
     The quibble first.  The strange thing about THE TIME TRAVELER'S ALMANAC is what it omits -- for instance, Heinlein's "All You Zombies" is absent, and there are no selections from Fritz Leiber's Change War stories, ditto Alfred Bester's "Disappearing Act" or "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed," and nothing from Jack Finney, whose "I'm Scared" and "Where the Cluetts Are" (among others) would be ideal selections.  Not only are these writers omitted, but unless I missed a long passage somewhere they go unmentioned in the preface and introduction.  Strange gaps these, in an anthology meant to demonstrate the full range of the time travel story, and I'm surprised to see no recommended reading list on the contents page to fill those gaps.
     End of quibble -- after all, no anthology includes everything and most of the omissions I mentioned will already be familiar to the sf audience.  As I said up front, there's a LOT of good reading here -- classic stories like Kuttner & Moore's "Vintage Season," Matheson's "Death Ship," Sturgeon's "Yesterday Was Monday," and Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder" are present, as well as work by writers like Connie Willis, Karen Haber, Gene Wolfe, Joe Lansdale, Norman Spinrad, Nalo Hopkinson, George R. R. Martin, Pamela Sargent, and many more.  The VanderMeers have put together just the kind of great big grab-bag anthology I described a few months ago, and if you like time travel stories you should buy this book immediately; you'll find familiar classics and chances are you'll find quite a few good stories you'd missed reading before.  A must for the sf shelf.
     And in case you missed it, the VanderMeers put together an essential collection of weird fiction a couple of years ago.  Titled, appropriately, THE WEIRD: A COMPENDIUM OF STRANGE AND DARK STORIES, the book covered a century of weird fiction with selections ranging from Lovecraft to Borges, and if you like dark fantasy this one too is a must.

Get the books mentioned here:




Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Other Iron River, and Other Stories -- Expanded Edition

Just a brief commercial announcement:

I've just added quite a bit of material to my short story collection The Other Iron River, and Other Stories.  The original ebook release contained three stories -- it now has fifteen, three of which are new to this edition.

If you're one of those who'd already bought it, Amazon should be sending out either the update or an email notice so that you can download the newer version some time in the next few weeks.  If you haven't already bought it, now's the time.  The Other Iron River will be left at its original price of 99 cents for a week; next Saturday (Mar 8) I'll be raising the price to 2.99, so grab it while it's cheap.

The pieces included are mostly short ghost, fantasy, and horror stories, and I like to think that some of these stories have a nice Jack Finney/Twilight Zone feel to them.  Check them out if you get a chance, and I hope you'll enjoy them.

And here's the link:

Don't like ebooks?  After I've played a bit more with formatting for CreateSpace, there will be a print edition of this title; once it's available, I'll announce it here.

And bests to all.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Submitted for Your Approval: Rod Serling Ebooks

   If you think of Rod Serling, you think first of The Twilight Zone.  Chances are you think of Night Gallery next.  And if you're old enough, or if you're one of those who pays more attention to the writing credits than to directors, you may think too of the film adaptations of Seven Days in May and the original Planet of the Apes, and of Serling's earlier works for television such as Patterns and Requiem for a Heavyweight.

   You don't think books; Serling wrote television (and when he was at the top of his game, there were few writers in the medium who could equal him).

   But yes, he wrote some books as well.  Not many, but there were a few, and they're available again as ebooks.  With one exception, those books were collections of short stories he based on his television work.  Three of them were adaptations of some of his Twilight Zone episodes; two were adaptations of some of his scripts for Night Gallery.  The exception was a collection of three novellas called The Season to Be Wary.

   When I started buying paperback books, his collections of short stories adapted from Twilight Zone episodes were on the racks and I grabbed them immediately.  To my mind, the TZ books suffered a little from what might be called Novelization Syndrome, in which a story written for one medium is translated to another and loses some of its energy in the translation.  (If you've read playwright William Inge's first novel, Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff, you can see something similar operating there -- Inge's narrative sometimes reads more like stage direction and director's notes than prose fiction, as if he'd originally imagined the work as a play rather than a novel.)  Serling had already conceived these stories and told them properly as short films and it seemed to me that they lost something in the move to narrative prose.  But those books included adaptations of some of Serling's finest work for the series, among them "The Shelter," "Walking Distance," and "A Stop at Willoughby," and they retained enough of their impact to make the books well worth the time.

   Serling didn't walk away from short fiction after doing the TZ adaptations.  In 1967, he published a book of three novellas, The Season to Be Wary.  The novellas were not adapted from television scripts, but they had the energy and the feel, the themes and the twists, of Serling's best work for Twilight Zone (and two of the three were adapted a couple of years later for segments in the pilot film that launched Night Gallery); these novellas show a writer becoming as comfortable working in narrative prose as he was working in screenplays, and as Mark Olshaker notes in his introduction to the recent ebook edition they offer a tantalizing glimpse of the future Serling might have had as a novelist.

   Six Serling titles are currently available as ebooks; they are: Stories from the Twilight Zone; More Stories from the Twilight Zone; New Stories from the Twilight Zone; Night Gallery; Night Gallery 2; The Season to Be Wary.  You can find all of them in Amazon's Kindle store; if you're not a fan of ebooks, you can get the three TZ titles as trade paperbacks at this time and chances are trade paperbacks of The Season to Be Wary and the Night Gallery collections will soon be available too.

   If we're lucky, these volumes will be followed by ebooks gathering some of Serling's other work for television.  In the late 50s, a collection was published that included Patterns, Old MacDonald Had a Curve, The Rack, and Requiem for a Heavyweight, and Serling's comments on each -- it would be nice to see that one available again.  Ditto some of his other scripts, such as A Storm in Summer and Slow Fade to Black.  (And I for one would pop instantly for an ebook containing both the television and the feature film scripts of Requiem for a Heavyweight with any available notes from Serling.)  Contemporary audiences know Serling mostly through Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, but there's a lot of terrific work by Rod Serling that doesn't get as much air time these days as it should; here's hoping that we'll see some of those scripts restored to print as well.