cover image Journeys to the Twilight Zone

Journeys to the Twilight Zone

. Daw Books, $4.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-525-4

Although this anthology of 16 short stories edited by Rod Serling's widow promises new excursions into what he called ``a place between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge,'' the reader is instead transported into ennui. Unlike the best of the original Twilight Zone television episodes, the majority of these tales lack dramatic impact. Alan Dean Foster writes of a construction project in the Australian Outback that just can't be finished--a national highway that crumbles to dust only hours after it is laid. The futility of the crew's labor is matched only by that of the reader's attempt to find coherence in this aimless tale. W. Warren Wagar's story about a future in which a healthy diet is legally enforced by food police tickles a bit but contains no real laughs. Even the story by Rod Serling himself--about a cocktail-party game of hypnotism gone awry--seems out of date and sexist: the hostess is described as being ``on the broad-hipped side of thirty,'' with ``legs by Steinway.'' Serling's witty dialogue remains potent, but the obvious plot overshadows any possible sense of irony. This is one journey best left untraveled. (Jan.)