“Rod Serling” // Guest post by S. S. Hampton, Sr.

Rod Serling

25 December 1925-28 June 1975




There is no single writer that I consider a mentor, though many have influenced me to some degree. Whether a fiction or non-fiction writer, their influence may be due to their style of writing, the subject matter they wrote about, or simply the perceived intelligence and skill that fueled the quality of their writing.

Rod Sterling

Rod Sterling // Source: Wikipedia

One writer who most definitely influenced me did so not strictly through the written word, but through the medium of television. But that medium was the end result of the scripts that he wrote, as well as the program that he created. (Much of the following information is drawn from the two sources above).

Rod Serling, in my opinion, is a writer extraordinaire. His series, “The Twilight Zone,” was a show that caught and fueled my imagination. There had been “darkly imaginative” programs of the fantastic before, but none were quite like The Twilight Zone.

Who can forget the opening of each episode, with its signature music, the surreal black and white image of a ghostly door spinning against a starry background that opens onto the stars, combined with the distinctive voice announcing, “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension…”?

“The Twilight Zone” // Source: Wikipedia

The Twilight Zone was first broadcast on CBS on October 2, 1959—I was barely five years old. I can’t remember when

I first saw a Twilight Zone episode, but I was hooked.  Though the series ended in 1964, apparently I am not the only one who was hooked. It continued to go strong and for several years it was presented on cable as a special day-long New Year’s celebration. For several years I subscribed to cable for one month simply to watch The Twilight Zone Marathon.

The cost of subscribing was worthwhile. After all, where can one find episodes such as:

  • “The Eye of the Beholder” (written by Rod Serling)
  • “Deaths-Head Revisited” (written by Rod Serling)
  • “The Midnight Sun” (written by Rod Serling)
  • “To Serve Man” (written by Richard L. Bare)
  • “Little Girl Lost” (written by Richard Matheson)
  • “In Praise of Pip” (written by Rod Serling)
  • “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” (written by Richard Matheson)
  • “The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms” (written by Rod Serling)
  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (from a Story by Ambrose Bierce and adapted by Robert Enrico)

Rod Serling, in an era of specialization, may not be considered by some to be a “true writer,” but in my opinion he was a Writer. He was a writer with an imaginative vision and the desire to communicate that vision. And that vision caught the attention of a generation and succeeding generations. Who can ask for a better legacy than that?



S.S. Hampton, Sr.

S.S. Hampton, Sr.

About Guest Author S.S. Hampton, Sr.

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant. He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004; he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. He is an aspiring painter and is studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Hampton is a published author with Melange Books.
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“R.U.S.H’ (Raw, Unbridled Stories of Heroism) is available from Melange Books

 R.U.S.H. Raw Unbridled Stories of  Heroism

Melange Books, September 2011.

ISBN: 978-1-61235-239-8

 “For the Glory Forever and Ever”

BLURB: Sometimes there is a blurry division between life and… An Army platoon is holding a combat outpost near Las Vegas. None of them can remember much about their lives before the war, or even the details of the war. Their final battle only hints at a possible soul shattering truth.


EXCERPT: Sergeant First Class Dominick Brenner pinched the flesh on the back of his hand. Hard. He didn’t feel a thing. Maybe he wasn’t dreaming, though he hoped he was.

“Riders coming in from the south!” a soldier gasped as he darted into the platoon command post, the CP.

Dominick stared at the back of his pale hand as he told the radioman, “Tell 2nd Squad to give them covering fire.” The soldier spread his hands helplessly, for without batteries even the internal land line between the CP and the fighting positions was useless. Dominick swore disgustedly and pointed at Private Ernesto Gonzales, a weary looking visitor from 1st Squad. “Go tell 2nd Squad to give covering fire!”

Dominick threw on his MOLLE gear, grabbed his Kevlar helmet and M6 Assault Rifle, and hurried out the bunker exit. Once outside he heard the zip of incoming weapons fire and the short, sharp explosions of impacting mortar rounds. From the perimeter came a steady rattle of outgoing weapons fire and the sharp crack and ‘whoosh’ of mortar fire. He splashed through the muddy rain puddles as he wound his way past the sand bag protected Morale, Welfare and Recreation bunker, the Mobile Field Kitchen, and one of the many reserve ammunition bunkers.

Dominick thought that while they were short of everything else, fortunately the lack of munitions was never a problem.

The blare of an air raid siren sounded across the lonely, rainy outpost. He looked around and spotted a pair of dark aircraft coming low out of the north. The turret containing four Longclaw anti-aircraft missiles whined and swiveled like a hungry beast. With a loud WHOOSH! amid clouds of sand, mud, and oily smoke, a pair of missiles leaped into the drizzling air. Glowing fireballs dropped from the aircraft; one of the Longclaws exploded against a fireball and the other blew up one of the aircraft. The stricken aircraft did a flaming cartwheel across the desert.

The rumble of the approaching jet rolled across the outpost as did the sharper cracks of shoulder fired Shortclaws. A trio of smoky trails raced toward the lone Eurofighter Typhoon as it dropped more flares and veered to one side, then whipped back to its original course. The Shortclaws exploded against the flares…

For the Glory Forever and Ever

You can purchase “RUSH” here: