Twilight Zone-esque Fantasy Novels?

Guttersnipe

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I was wondering if anyone here knows of any novels that are urban/contemporary fantasy that contain only a few magical elements. I don't mean magic realism, because the magical part is the main idea and is considered strange and intrusive (whereas magical realism tends to make such things trivial and secondary to the plot). Hence, I'm seeking one that seems like a book-long Twilight Zone story. Maybe something whimsical or dreamlike. There doesn't have to be a twist, and it doesn't matter how old as long as it's anywhere from the 1900s till recent times.
 
Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday might suit you. Whether Zoney or not, it is one of the great books of my reading life!

Possibly L. Ron Hubbard's Fear, which I don't remember. I don't think it was great but it might do.
 
I've not read his work, but Charles L. Grant's Oxrun stories sound as if they'd fit into this. Stephen King is a fan.
 
Maybe Phil Dick's Time Out of Joint. It starts with a Twilight Zoney scenario, as I recall, though I don't remember the conclusion offhand.
 
What about John Crowley's Little, Big ? Too much magic? I admit I'm not 100% sure I understand the request...
I tried reading that once, but it didn't really grab me. Maybe a bit too much magic. Ig I'm looking for something more unique than faeries.
 
Go to the source: Read the short stories by Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson, some of which were the basis of TZ episodes (respectively, "The Howling Man" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", for instance). Some of TZ was closer to science fiction than to fantasy/horror so you'll find they are a mix.

Slightly off from them, some short works of Saki, John Collier and Gerald Kersh might apply, may be precursors. Some Shirley Jackson might fit, too; I don't find it hard to imagine "The Lottery" as a episode of TZ. Maybe a bit closer to the mark, the short stories of Fredric Brown, and some later Robert Bloch -- from the '50s on -- might fit.

There are repositories of Unknown magazine on-line where you can sample some fiction from that time period. I feel like Beaumont and Matheson and maybe Serling were aware of that magazine since it set a tone for American fantasy that probably held for the next two decades. And when your list of writers include works by Brown, Heinlein ("The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag"), Fritz Leiber ("Smoke Ghost"), Anthony Boucher ("they Bite") and others, you can't be all bad. Speaking of Leiber, the novels Conjure Wife and (the much later) Our Lady of Darkness, and Night's Black Agents, a story collection.

I second Jonathan Carroll, and some of his short work -- "The Sadness of Detail"; "The Panic Hand"; "My Zoondel" -- has a TZ feel, too. Some of Peter Beagle's work might also fit -- I'm thinking specifically of "Lila the Werewolf" which I remember as reading like something Woody Allen might have written after binging on TZ.

Added later:
And I just noted the word novels in the subject line. I refuse to remove the mention of short stories, though; that's where a percentage of the episodes originated.
 
I would say that some of the short story anthologies by Stephen King would suit. Many of these stories are much closer to fantasy than they are to horror.
 
Go to the source: Read the short stories by Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson, some of which were the basis of TZ episodes (respectively, "The Howling Man" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", for instance). Some of TZ was closer to science fiction than to fantasy/horror so you'll find they are a mix.

Slightly off from them, some short works of Saki, John Collier and Gerald Kersh might apply, may be precursors. Some Shirley Jackson might fit, too; I don't find it hard to imagine "The Lottery" as a episode of TZ. Maybe a bit closer to the mark, the short stories of Fredric Brown, and some later Robert Bloch -- from the '50s on -- might fit.

There are repositories of Unknown magazine on-line where you can sample some fiction from that time period. I feel like Beaumont and Matheson and maybe Serling were aware of that magazine since it set a tone for American fantasy that probably held for the next two decades. And when your list of writers include works by Brown, Heinlein ("The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag"), Fritz Leiber ("Smoke Ghost"), Anthony Boucher ("they Bite") and others, you can't be all bad. Speaking of Leiber, the novels Conjure Wife and (the much later) Our Lady of Darkness, and Night's Black Agents, a story collection.

I second Jonathan Carroll, and some of his short work -- "The Sadness of Detail"; "The Panic Hand"; "My Zoondel" -- has a TZ feel, too. Some of Peter Beagle's work might also fit -- I'm thinking specifically of "Lila the Werewolf" which I remember as reading like something Woody Allen might have written after binging on TZ.

Added later:
And I just noted the word novels in the subject line. I refuse to remove the mention of short stories, though; that's where a percentage of the episodes originated.
I am quite familiar with Beaumont and Matheson as well as Unknown magazines. I know that a lot of The Twilight Zone was sci-fi, but that's not what I'm looking for. Good on you for sharing anyway. I'll have to check out Carroll.
 
I am quite familiar with Beaumont and Matheson as well as Unknown magazines. I know that a lot of The Twilight Zone was sci-fi, but that's not what I'm looking for. Good on you for sharing anyway. I'll have to check out Carroll.
Thanks. You might find Carroll's Voice of His Shadow and The Marriage of Sticks TZ-ish, as well.

I've read that Matheson and Beaumont were especially influenced by Ray Bradbury so Something Wicked This Way Comes seems a likely candidate, as would the much later The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford and Coraline by Neil Gaiman, both of which seem to reflect the Bradbury. I haven't read it, but I suspect Jack Finney's Time and Again might also be worth looking into for TZ-ishness.
 

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