One Step Beyond (or, more properly, Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond) was an anthology television show that ran for three seasons (from 1959 to 1961) during the same period that The Twilight Zone was running. One Step Beyond, introduced by John Newland, was a much lower key show; it purported to show true stories of the paranormal, most often presented without any explanation. This book contains five episodes from the show adapted from the original scripts, much in the same way the James Blish adapted the original Star Trek episodes and Alan Dean Foster adapted the animated Star Trek episodes.
- "Make Me Not a Witch," from an episode written by Gail Ingrim, concerns a young girl who suddenly has the power to read minds. Her parents are convinced that this is witchcraft and that she has been possessed, but the local priest senses that another purpose is being served.
- "Bride Possessed," from an episode written by Merwin Gerard and Larry Marcus, is just what the title suggests: a young bride is suddenly possessed by the spirit of a murdered woman who had been presumed to have committed suicide.
- In "The Aerialist," from the script by Larry Marcus (who also wrote the final two episodes adapted for the book), we meet the Flying Patruzzios, a circus family of trapeze artists led by the proud father Gino. The act is being torn apart by the elder son Gino, who married an unsuitable woman. In a moment of anger, Gino utters a curse on his father and the father plunges eighty feet during their next performance. Then things get strange.
- "The Hand," takes it's cue from Macbeth, a jealous piano player kills a woman and finds it impossible to clean her blood from his hand.
- Five French soldiers see "The Vision" in the sky above a World War I battlefield. Each drops his weapon and begins to walk off the battlefield, each having seen a different vision. The five are court-martialed and it is up to an inexperienced lawyer to try to defend them.
In Donald Tuck's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, he lists Lenore Bredeson as the editor of this book and of its follow-up, More from One Step Beyond, with each individual story credited to the original screenwriter. As I stated above, however, all stories were adapted by Bredeson. Curiously enough, Bredeson's adaptation of "The Hand" was reprinted by Peter Haining in both his 1993 anthology The Television Late Night Horror Omnibus and his 1994 anthology The Armchair Horror Collection as by Larry Marcus.
One Step Beyond is a slim (122 pages) trade paperback published by Citadel Press, which was noted in the mid to late 1950s for publishing books on UFOs, Satanism, and the paranormal. In a way, I guess this book fit into its niche.
A readable book, of no importance.
For the curious, and because they are more interesting than the adaptations in the book, the episodes adapted are available on Youtube:
"Make Me Not a Witch" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI1N0VXsbhI
"Bride Possessed" (the first episode in the series) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ryO458Dbu4
"The Aerialist" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8trdL806fTQ
"The Hand" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQBuGxs6sk0
"The Vision" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIqf8A8QjLE