Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson
Beth Gwinn

Richard Matheson is The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.
 


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"The Box" Movie Trailer

A movie trailer for The Box, based on the short story Button, Button, by Richard Matheson.

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The Box by Richard Matheson--Audiobox Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Richard Matheson's book The Box: Uncanny Stories. What if you were told that you could make a fortune just by pushing a button on a box? But pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world . . . someone you don't know. Would you still push the button? "Button, Button," Richard Matheson's chilling tale of greed and temptation, is now the basis of The Box, the new film from the director of Donnie Darko. In addition

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Beth Gwinn
Richard Matheson

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Q & A

A Conversation with Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend
 
“Maybe now that I’m in my eighties, people will discover me…”
 
How did you get the idea for I Am Legend?
As a teen, I saw Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. It occurred to me that if one vampire was scary, then if the whole world was filled with vampires and there was only one normal person left, than that would be even scarier.
 
Do you like Will Smith playing Richard Neville?
I like him very much. I’ve always enjoyed his performances. They sent me a book of art from the movie and I’ve seen photographs of [Will Smith] as Neville and he looks like he really immersed himself into the part. 
 
How do you feel about the previous film versions of I Am Legend: The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price and The Omega Man with Charlton Heston?
The Vincent Price [movie] came closer to the book but I didn’t care for it too much. I wrote quite a few pictures for Vincent and he was marvelous in all of them but I think he was miscast in I Am Legend. And it was done in Italy…it’s not as bad as I thought, I saw it recently again. But it certainly didn’t capture the book all that well. I didn’t care for the Heston movie [The Omega Man]. It was so far removed from the book, though, it didn’t bother me.
 
Why do you think I Am Legend  has remained so popular after more than fifty years?
Apparently, it’s the most popular book I ever wrote. I wrote it over fifty years ago and it’s still selling. I thought I only had a small legion of fans…I guess I have quite a few.
 
Indeed – Stephen King has said you were one of his main influences in writing…
Yes, Stephen King has said that I Am Legend was one of his main influences – it got him thinking the way he does: for instance, my idea of the vampires using freezer boxes in supermarkets instead of down at the graveyard – it could happen in your own neighborhood.
 
Do you see yourself as a horror writer?
I hate that word [horror].  I prefer to think of myself as an off-beat writer. I’ve written 5-6 western novels, a war novel, and a love story (Somewhere In Time).  I guess you could call me an off-beat fantasy writer. I do write scary stories, but I think of terror, not horror. I’m a neighborhood terrorizer.  I’m incapable – or don’t want to even try – to write a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or something set in a complete other world. I just can’t get interested if it’s not someplace that seems real.
 
How did you research the science in the book?  Was that in your background?
No, I have no background in science. [I did] research, and then I had a doctor check it and it all adds up scientifically—from a biological standpoint. It is a vampire novel, it’s just my “scientific explanation of vampires”. To me, I Am Legend is the only science fiction I ever wrote.
 
Have you seen the movie?
No, I haven’t seen it yet – but I think they’re going to do a great job. The writer-producer and director are all very talented, and Will Smith is very talented.  From what I have seen, they have done an outstanding job.
 
Will you attend the premiere? Are you doing any events?
I may attend the premiere in California. I’m also hopefully going to be signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank [scheduled for Dec 2 at 2:30pm]. People often come in with a truckload of my books to sign, but I’ll be signing the movie edition of I Am Legend, and then one other book for each person. If they want more, they have to go to the end of the line and start all over again.
 
Many of your books and stories have been made into movies. Which are some of your favorites?
Somewhere in Time -- I think that’s the best written of all my books. What Dreams May Come is not bad either.
 
Do you have any new projects in the works?
There’s a new movie version of my story Button, Button coming out. That should be exciting. Somewhere in Time is about to be a musical on Broadway. Ken Davenport is producing it – he had written telling me that he was thinking of using some of my major ideas for the show. I wrote him a song for it. I took [music] courses in college, but though I never really understood harmony, I can work out an arrangement on the piano by ear. I wrote many songs (years ago). I don’t know if it’s always true, but it seems like the author gets more power/influence over their stories on the stage than with movies/cinema—though the motion picture people have been very nice to me and I’m happy to be identified with I Am Legend.
 
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books
by the author

Shadow on the Sun

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Southwest Arizona, a century ago. An uneasy true exists between the remote frontier community of Picture City and the neighboring Apaches. That delicate peace...


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Other Kingdoms

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

In this all-new novel by Richard Matheson, a young American soldier becomes entangled in a web of magic and seduction woven by a witch living in the...


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Steel

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

A new collection featuring the story that inspired Real Steel, a major motion picture starring Hugh Jackman.


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Legends of the Gun Years

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

Together in one volume, the epic stories of two legendary gunfighters! Journal of the Gun Years Winner of the Spur Award for Best Western Novel Back...


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Hunted Past Reason

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

It was supposed to be just an ordinary camping trip, two old friends hiking through the woods of northern California. But this self-enforced isolation exposes...


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The Gun Fight

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

John Benton was one of the toughest men ever to wear a Texas Ranger badge. But eight years ago, in August 1871, he hung up his guns for good. Or so he...


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The Box

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

What if you were told that you could make a fortune just by pushing a button on a box? But pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another...


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The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

Wild Bill Hickok was a celebrity before there ever was a Hollywood. And he was dead before he was forty. Now Richard Matheson, Spur Award-winning author of...


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Journal of the Gun Years

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

Back East, they told tall tales about Marshall Clay Halser, the fearless Civil War veteran who became known as the “Hero of the Plains” for his daring exploits...


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Somewhere In Time

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Like What Dreams May Come, which inspired the movie starring Robin Williams, Somewhere in Time is the powerful story of a love that transcends time and space,...


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Earthbound

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

An Erotic Ghost Story by the author of Hell House and A Stir of Echoes David and Ellen Cooper came to the lonely beachside cottage in hopes of rekindling...


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Button, Button

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

What if every time you pushed a button you received $50,000...but someone you didn’t know died? Would you still push the button? How many times? "Button,...


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I Am Legend

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone. An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into...


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Noir

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

Noir contains three long-lost thrillers by Richard Matheson, the grand master of suspense. Originally published in the 1950s, at the very beginning of...


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A Stir of Echoes

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he's hearing the private thoughts of the...


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What Dreams May Come

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

The New York Times bestseller A LOVE THAT TRANSCENDS HEAVEN AND HELL What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected...


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Now You See It . . .

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Maximillian Delacorte was once the world’s greatest stage magician. Now a recluse, suffering from a mysterious disease, he lures his family and...


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7 Steps to Midnight

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

New York Times Bestselling Author of I Am Legend When a mysterious imposter steals his identity and life, mathematician Chris Barton is suddenly thrust into...


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Duel

Richard Matheson; With an Appreciation by Ray Bradbury
Tor Books

Remember that murderous semi chasing Dennis Weaver down a lonely stretch of desert highway? Duel, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed first film, was adapted by...


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Nightmare At 20,000 Feet

Richard Matheson; With an Introduction by Stephen King
Tor Books

Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it....


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The Beardless Warriors

Richard Matheson
Forge Books

In 1944, long before he wrote such classic novels as I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come, author Richard Matheson served as an eighteen-year-old replacement...


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The Incredible Shrinking Man

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Inch by inch, day by day, Scott Carey is getting smaller. Once an unremarkable husband and father, Scott finds himself shrinking with no end in sight. His wife...


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Hell House

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers...


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The Path

Richard Matheson
Tor Books

Richard Matheson's bestselling novel, What Dreams May Come, the basis for the hit movie starring Robin Williams, touched numerous readers with its convincing...


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