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Button, Button: Uncanny Stories Paperback – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765312573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765312570
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Both longtime fans and readers who have never encountered horror and suspense author Matheson (I Am Legend), winner of Stoker and World Fantasy lifetime achievement awards among many others, should enjoy this collection of a dozen stories originally published in the 1950s and 1960s. In the standout title story, later adapted as a Twilight Zone episode, a discontented husband and wife are presented with a device and told they will get $50,000 every time they press its button. The catch is that every push will cause someone else's death. Many of the other tales pack a similar punch. The collection also includes The Creeping Terror, a vicious parody of the author's home state of California. The inventive plots and spare but convincing portraits of the ordinary men and women caught up by forces beyond their control demonstrate why Stephen King has called Matheson his most significant influence. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"His stories not only entertain, but touch the mind and heart."--Dean Koontz
 
“Perhaps no other author living is as responsible for chilling a generation with tantalizing nightmare visions."--The New York Times

“Richard Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction.”--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Matheson is the master of paranoia--pitting a single man against unknown horrors and examining his every slow twist in the wind."--San Jose Mercury News


More About the Author

Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and subsequently filmed as The Omega Man (in 1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (in 2007), starring Will Smith. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man. The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone. He continued to write short stories and novels, some of which formed the basis for film scripts, including Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. A film of his novel What Dreams May Come was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. Stephen King has cited Richard Matheson as a creative influence on his work.

Customer Reviews

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My second complaint would be that some of the stories are just lame.
Daniel J. Henk
Interestingly enough, Matheson wrote the short story Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, which was made into one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes starring William Shatner.
Naida M.
These short story's by Richard matheson (one of the writers of the hit T.V. show Twilight zone) is a very good collection of short stories.
Mr. nobody

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Edward on May 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Though not as strong a collection as either of the previous two volumes published by Tor, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Duel", "Button, Button" is a slim volume that offers quality throughout and, in some places, true greatness. Matheson experiments stylistically more in this collection than in the other two. The best stories are those that he does not attempt to experiment with, or, in other words, those keeping with Matheson's trademarked style of cinematic minimalism applied to a dark fantasy story, or suspense story, constructed in the realist manner.

The title story is certainly one of the finer offerings in the collection. It is written almost as a parable, or a fable, with the lines of distinctions marking not the characters but the action and the consequences of those actions. "Girl of My Dreams" and "Dying Room Only" are crime/suspense stories, the former containing fantasy elements, that are driven by action and dialogue to a rational conclusion. "Girl of My Dreams" concern a battle between the mental and the physical and shows how fear and uncertainty can easily usurp the power of physical strength.

"A Flourish of Strumpets" is a darkly humorous story that is pervaded by an invasive atmosphere that underlies the funny moments in the story, including the twist ending, with a vision of human frailty. "No Such Thing As a Vampire" is a story dealing not only of vampires (of the real variety) but with revenge, myth, belief, and the conductive power of these intertwined. "Pattern for Survival" is a short piece with a surprisingly unexpected cohesiveness.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Richard Matheson has certainly written some of the most classic and well known masterpieces throughout his career, many of which are short stories. Usually with a Matheson anthology the title story is superb (such as with Duel: Terror Stories By Richard Matheson) and the rest are just fillers and to be honest are very average stories. Those coming across Button, Button Uncanny Stories will be pleased to know that the majority are of not only readable but fairly high quality. The only thing though this collection lacks is a masterpiece, there's nothing of the quality of Duel, or The Shrinking Man, I Am Legend or Nightmare At 20,000 Feet in this collection.

All short stories within, with the exception of Button, Button, (this anthology's title story) were all originally published in the 1950s or early 1960s. Button, Button is no new work either it first appeared in 1970. Trying to track down a lot of these Matheson gems today would be pretty difficult and expensive so it's good to see publishers republishing old work together for the first time in new anthologies.

So what are the stories about?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
The twelve stories that make up this collection were mostly written in the 1950s and 1960s (the newest is 1970) but continue to be timely as they showcase a strong suspense horror author who remains renowned for his Twilight Zone twists affirmed by this anthology. The title story is a terrific tale of ethics vs. greed as a married couple possesses a device in which each time they press a button they receive $50,000, but a stranger dies. "Girl of My Dreams" stars a rat who abuses his naive girlfriend's psychic gift to make money; greed is one of the deadly sins in the Matheson world while the loss of innocence ("Mute") is even deadlier. "No Such Thing as a Vampire" feels very Twilight Zone like. This superb anthology is top rate as the short stories are filled with everyday people with moral choices between avarice and ethics involved in scenarios beyond their normal existence; any moment Rod Serling will inform the audience they entered a world filled with imagination and much more.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Long Island Momma on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book, once I realized the movie The Box was based on a short story by Richard Matheson. I wasn't familiar with Richard Matheson, but apparently, Stephen King was once quoted as saying that he is the author who influenced him the most as a writer, so I figured I would give him a try.

I read the first story, which the movie, The Box is based on called Button, Button and loved it. It is a tale of ethics vs. greed as a married couple possesses a device in which each time they press a button they receive $50,000, but a stranger dies. The other short stories in the book are all excellent and many have a Twilight Zone feel to them. I highly recommend this book.
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