Rod SerlingHe was a god among men, yet he recognized his limitations. Rod Serling, who created The Twilight Zone and helped bring science fiction to the masses, described himself to an interviewer as a "Johnny-come-lately. ... I am perhaps the least scientifically knowledgeable man in the whole writing group, and I bow with great deference and respect to the real masters." (All quotes from the interview transcribed by Blastr.)

The interview, recorded in 1970 and conducted by James E. Gunn, a science fiction author (The Listeners) and professor at the University of Kansas, was intended for Gunn's film series, Science Fiction in Literature, but the footage went unreleased due to legal rights issues, according to SF Signal. Gunn, not to be confused with filmmaker James Gunn (Slither), wrote 'hard' science fiction, or "pure" science fiction, as Serling termed it, and he confessed to not being able to "create it on an original level."

Serling cited Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Theodore Sturgeon and "all the rest of them" as the real masters. Though Serling denies any humility, it really is remarkable to hear such a talented man admit to his own perceived shortcomings. Whatever he felt about his own work, Serling deftly used science fiction concepts to weave his tales of imperfect humanity. And no matter what he may have felt, Serling was an original; just witness all those who have tried -- and failed -- to capture his spirit in their own work. Serling died far too young, just 50 years of age, in 1975.
categories Movies, Sci-Fi