The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday November 30, 2017

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

When you open Steven Jay Rubin's "The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia," you're fixing to enjoy a wondrous tome of meticulously compiled trivia, concise and informative bios, and a thrillingly complete compendium of all things "Twilight Zone" related -- not an easy feat to manage when there is already a shelf load of books dedicated to the subject.

Rubin -- a film producer ("Bleacher Bums," "Archie's Final Project") and the author of several other books, including "The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia" -- spares no effort in tracking down every detail about each of the original series' 156 classic episodes. From entries on every one of the actors to appear on the series (not to mention the creative people working behind the scenes) to plot synopses to listings devoted to the various places, objects, and cultural references (real and fictional) that appeared in the series, this volume is a trove of carefully curated and cross-referenced information. It's the ultimate resource for "Twilight Zone" aficionados, be they casual viewers or hard-core fans.

Ruben delves behind the scenes in the episode synopses and reveals various tidbits about the show's production, but it's in the omnibus entries where he really lets loose and lets his Zone flag fly -- entries like "Time Travel," "Aliens," "Monsters," "Powers," and the like serve as spaces where both author and reader can enjoy a cornucopia of factual tidbits and well-considered reflections. Among the more intriguing and creative entires is "Serling's Last Interview," the complete transcript of a lengthy conversation between "Twilight Zone's" brilliant and deeply humanist creator and journalist Linda Breville that was conducted in 1975, not long before Serling's untimely death.

The book is liberally illustrated throughout with photos, headshots, and production stills, many of them culled from various private collections. Its oversized paperback format makes for ease of use, and its content, despite being organized in the fashion of an encyclopedia, is far from dry. Interviews with "Twilight Zone" alums bring the show's heady spirit to life. Imagine the epic enthusiasm of "These Are The Voyages" trilogy of hardcovers devoted to another cult show, "Star Trek," crossed with the sober competence of the Encyclopaedia Britannica; that's what Rubin has accomplished.

"The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia" easily holds its own among the most authoritative books on the show, including Martin Grams Jr.'s "Unlocking the Door to A Television Classic" and the groundbreaking "The Twilight Zone Companion" by Marc Scott Zicree. Think there's nothing new to discover about your favorite show? Rubin opens up whole new precincts to the Zone.

"The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia"

Trade Paperback

448 pages

$29.99

http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/twilight-zone-encyclopedia--the-products-9781613738887.php

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.