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I came to Richard Matheson having listened to Radio 4 versions of "I am legend" and "Duel"; both made into iconic movies. This anthology of short stories does not include the former but does include the latter.
What I also realised is how many of these stories are familiar from TV movies or episodes of "The Twilight Zone". The reason is very simple, they are great stories. They often include elements of horror or science fiction, but by no means always. They range in length from novellas to very short (less than 5 minute) tales. It would be wrong to say they all gripped me; there are a lot of stories, and I left them for a while and then came back, but I really enjoyed them. They are well-read, by some voices you may recognise if you listen to a lot of audiobooks.
All in all, a great collection of short stories by a master of the form.
Great stories from Richard Matheson. The complete list (I think) is below:
Born of Man and Woman
Where There's a Will
Dying Room Only
Dance of the Dead
Man with a Club
Day of Reckoning
Dress of White Silk
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Third From the Sun
The Last Day
Long Distance Call
Deus ex Machina
One for the Books
Now Die in It
The Holiday Man
No Such Thing as a Vampire
A Visit to Santa Claus
If you're unfamiliar with Matheson, think "Man on the Wing of the Airplane", "The Box", and "I am Legend". His stories are often macabre and imaginative, but not always scary. This is much more "Twilight Zone (for which he was a repeated writer) than "Tales from the Darkside". After reading a bit of Hell House, I wasn't a big fan of Matheson. After such a large sampling of his short stories, my opinion has changed. At his best (The Last Day, Duel) Matheson describes humanity at the brink...at the edge of its survival, its sanity, or its ability to endure.
If you like strange tales with a dark flavor, try this selection out.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
In spite of this book not having many reviews at the time of my download and the fact that I did not love The Shrinking Man (one of Matheson's most famous novels), I took a chance and downloaded it anyway, mostly on the strength of Stephen King's reverence for Matheson's work. I was not disappointed. This book deserves much more love than it's so far received here at Audible. It is a hidden, under-appreciated gem of wide-ranging horror, from supernatural to sci-fi influenced.
Matheson's work is seminal; you know it even if you don't know you know it. But even aside from its better known inclusions such as Duel (which would become Steven Spielberg's first directed feature), Death Ship and Third Planet from the Sun (which would become beloved Twilight Zone episodes), all of which deserve their recognition, there are scads of genuinely unsettling tales here, all superbly written with a deft, understated style. At times humorous, and often existentially unnerving, any fan of horror, well-written prose, or student of suspenseful writing should give this book a listen.
The narrator's performances are nothing to write home about, but perfectly serviceable. It's Matheson himself and his writing that shines here, or rather, flickers before leaving you in the dark with a strange, heavy breathing coming from the corner of the room behind you.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful