Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Rod Serling's the Twilight Zone Magazine

US large-format semi-slick Magazine, 60 issues April 1981-June 1989, monthly until December 1982, then bimonthly, published by Montcalm Publications, New York; ed T E D Klein, April 1981-August 1985, Michael Blaine October 1985-October 1986, Tappan King December 1986-June 1989.

RSTTZM endeavoured to capture the essence of Rod Serling's tv series The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) by exploring the intrusion of the supernatural into everyday life (> Wrongness) and lifting the lid off Reality. There was an inevitable slant towards visual media, with movie and tv news and reviews, plus a programme-by-programme guide to The Twilight Zone (and later to The Outer Limits [1963-1965] and Rod Serling's Night Gallery [1971-1973]). However, fiction remained the core of the magazine, and under Klein's guidance RSTTZM developed into the premier supernatural-Horror magazine of the early 1980s. Appearing at the height of Stephen King's popularity, RSTTZM was able to attract a hungry readership. In addition to fiction by King, Klein presented similar fare by Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Gregory Frost, Charles L Grant and Richard Christian Matheson. There was plenty that was also in keeping with the Serling approach, particularly by Parke Godwin, George R R Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Sheckley (1928-2005), Lucius Shepard and Connie Willis. Then there were the slightly more offbeat stories, including material from Phyllis Eisenstein, Harlan Ellison, Janet Fox (1940-    ) and Tanith Lee. RSTTZM acquired the first fiction by Dan Simmons as a result of a story contest, and published first or early stories by Joe R Lansdale (1951-    ), David J Schow (1955-    ), Lewis Shiner (1950-    ) and John Skipp (1957-    ). Some of this fiction, which began to cohere during Blaine's editorship, was too strong for many readers, leading to a drop in circulation. King endeavoured to restore some of the original ambience, but overcompensated, putting in too much sf; also, the subtler fantasies he introduced jarred with the remaining shock-horror, and the original formula of RSTTZM had been shattered. The King issues do contain some of the best fantasies published by the magazine, especially those by James P Blaylock, Susan Casper (1947-    ), Elizabeth Hand – another RSTTZM discovery – Barbara Owens, Tim Powers and William F Wu (1951-    ). Overall, however, the mixture failed to gel with the readership, and circulation fell below viable levels.

RSTTZM was a key publication of the 1980s in the transformation of supernatural horror towards paranoid fantasy, though the magazine destroyed itself in the process. A retrospective large-format anthology selected from the magazine's first year was Great Stories from Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine (anth 1982) ed Klein. RSTTZM began a spin-off digest magazine, Night Cry, which reprinted from RSTTZM's later issues, but it soon developed into a separate publication. [MA]


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.