Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street
Kneece, Mark. 2008. (December 2008). Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street. Walker. 72 pages.
This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Maple Street...in the last calm and reflective moment...before the monsters came...
I enjoyed this story a great deal. It is one of the more powerful Twilight Zones that I remember because it so effective in capturing several key concepts: mob mentality, the power of words, the frailty of human nature when faced with the unknown, the folly of giving fear control. When the power goes out--when a neighborhood loses contact with the outside world--cars, lights, phones, etc.--the nightmare begins when the neighbors take to heart the words of a young science-fiction loving boy, Tommy, who's convinced that the aliens have landed and are coming for them. He further plants in everyone's mind the idea that one of their neighbors may not be what they seem. They might have had an alien living among them all along. And once that seed is planted, no one is safe.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosives and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own; for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone.
You may watch the original episode online here.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews