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text 2017-02-16 12:47
Offbeat: Uncollected Stories by Richard Matheson

Our much-anticipated collection of rare Richard Matheson short stories, OFFBEAT, newly introduced by David J. Schow, is now up for preorder worldwide for paperback and Kindle! The release date is Feb. 28. Visit our website for pre-order links.


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review 2016-09-26 22:05
The Box: Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson, narrated by Grover Gardner
The Box: Uncanny Stories by Matheson, Richard (September 29, 2009) Audio CD - Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson is a legend in my eyes, (see what I did there, bibliophiles?) so when I saw this audio available from the library I immediately checked it out.


Any collection has hit or misses for me. Here, I'll focus on the hits:


Button, Button (I believe this is the story the movie The Box was based on.) If someone came to your door, handed you a box and said: "If you press this button, someone you do not know will die, but you will receive $50,000.", would you press the button?


Dying Room Only had a very cool Twilight Zone feel to it. Picture this: A man and a woman are taking a drive through the desert and stop in a little town diner for lunch. The man goes to the men's room and...disappears. Cue the TZ music!


A Flourish of Strumpets This one might be a tad outdated, but it had me laughing my butt off!


It seemed as if the stories in the beginning were more my speed. As I got deeper into the book, the stories began to resonate with me less and less. Still, even middle of the road Matheson stories are good.


Since I think Button, Button is a CLASSIC short story that everyone should read, I recommend this collection to fans of horror shorts.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-26 04:19
"I am Legend" by Richard Matheson
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

On the back of my copy, James Lovegrove is quoted saying that I am Legend is "...ultimately uplifting". I'm not sure I'd go that far.


I thought most of this book was a very fitting trudge. It would be sort of unbelievable if the story about the sole survivor of a vampire apocalypse was a light, airy tale, sure, but there in the beginning? When he's just a drunken, lusting, lonely fool?  Even during the edge-of-your-seat stuff about Robert Neville barely making it home before the savior sun takes his last bow? I wasn't sure I was going to take it to it's final page.


I had a better understanding of Matheson's talent once his horror story morphed into a sci-fi thriller and then,  just as quickly, turned back again. Suddenly, and surprisingly compared to the start, I was riveted, not only wondering what was going to happen next but also questioning my firm belief that Robert Neville had gone quite mad.


Good stuff if you can hang on.


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review 2016-08-15 01:12
Review: I Am Legend
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

I had to crawl out from under a rock to read this book.  I actually didn’t know the first thing about it beyond that it was supposed to be some sort of classic science fiction story.  If I had known what it was about, I might have saved it for another time.  I’m now realizing that the cover I shelved makes the content really obvious, but I rarely pay attention to the covers when I shelve a book.  I just shelve the first edition I find when I search for a title; I don’t like to waste time finding the precise edition I own.  I do start from the cover when I read my e-books, but the cover in my actual e-book edition is different and doesn’t give any clues.


Even without the cover cluing me in, it was pretty obvious to me within the first page, if not the first paragraph, that this would be a vampire story.  Actually, I thought it had more of a zombie feel to it, based on how most of the vampires behaved.  I have a limited tolerance for those types of stories, and I’d already read a zombie book earlier this year.  This book is only 160 pages though, so it’s a very quick read, and it held my interest.  The middle third of the book dragged a little for me, but I enjoyed the rest of it and became particularly interested in it toward the end. 


The story centers around one man, Robert Neville, who believes he’s the last normal human alive.  I thought Robert was a rather inconsistent character, sometimes making really dumb decisions and sometimes appearing pretty intelligent.  He’s an alcoholic, and he definitely has psychological issues.  This may all be pretty realistic considering the trauma he’s been through and the horrors he’s seen, but he’s the kind of character who tends to get on my nerves.  He reacts emotionally to everything, and usually in such a way that just makes things worse.


Despite the vampires, I do think this is more science fiction than fantasy.  The author tried to create scientific explanations for the condition of vampirism and our main character spends some time researching related topics to try to understand what happened.   I don’t know if those explanations would sound the slightest bit plausible to anybody with a medical background, but my own ignorance generated a reaction that was mostly along the lines of “Ok, sure, whatever.”


The book was written in 1954, but it really didn’t feel dated to me.  Actually, there were a few times when fictional events from the early to mid-1970’s were referenced and I did a double take, because I’d forgotten that the 1970’s were the future from the perspective of the author.  Other than that, there’s nothing much about the story that makes it feel dated.


The ending was interesting, but not terribly surprising for me because it was similar to the ending of another more recently-written book that I’ve read.  I don’t want to name that book for fear of spoiling the ending of either book for somebody who has read one but not the other, but I imagine people who have read both might know what I’m talking about.


Over all I enjoyed the story and, like I said, it’s a really fast read.  The main reason I’m not rating it higher is because it got pretty tedious in the middle and because the main character got on my nerves quite a bit.

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review 2016-08-09 00:00
Hell House
Hell House - Richard Matheson Sometimes it's nice to just read a really good horror book. I think besides a couple of flow problems and the story taking a while to get going, there is a reason why this one is a classic.

Taking place in 1970, a man named William Deutsch wants to investigate the possibility of life after death. He hires four people to go and investigate the infamous Belasco house in Maine.

The four people who go to investigate are: Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist and his wife Edith. The two other people are Florence Tanner (who is a spiritualist and a mental medium) and Benjamin Fischer (a physical medium) who has an unusual connection with the Belasco house.

Lionel is merely there to de-bunk any claims by the two spiritualists. He does not believe in ghosts (Ghostbusters) and thinks that science can explain everything. He was a frustrating character to read after a while because he was quick to point out flaws in everything. I think at one point the character Florence asks why can't they both be right and I thought the way that circled back to the ending was very well done.

Lionel's wife Edith is repressed and scared to be alone. Of course once she is in the house, a lot of things about her seem to come to the surface.

I like the character of Florence the best. She really wants to do what she can to put the ghosts residing in Hell House to rest. Even though it can mean her death, she is focused on that and holds her religious beliefs close to her.

Benjamin I found was trying to redeem himself based on what happened the last time he was in Hell House.

I thought the writing was really good, but as I said in some of my updates, things got a bit too graphic after a while. The author is very focused on women's breasts too. After a while I just rolled my eyes. As Char has said, maybe it was a product of the times (1970s) but I found myself ignoring it.

The book I found to be scary at times just because of the overall mood of the house and how the house was changing them.

The flow was not great to start with. I think that the book doesn't set up a lot of things enough here and there, so you had to re-read some passages some of the time in order to understand what is going on.

The setting of the house comes alive in this book slowly. I still don't know why people didn't run screaming out of there. But hey I don't go investigating haunted houses.

The ending was a very nice reveal I found. Glad I crossed this off my 2016 horror list.
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