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Duel Paperback – January 4, 2003

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Matheson, whose best-known novels include the modern vampire classic I Am Legend (1954), here collects 18 short stories that debuted in various sf magazines in the 1950s. They have just the right blend of sf, chills, and humor. In "Third from the Sun," a man who is certain that Earth will be destroyed by a cataclysmic war prepares to flee to another solar system with his family and neighbors. In "Born of Man and Woman," the monstrous offspring of a normal couple lies chained in the basement, growing ever more resentful. Matheson shows his lighter side in "Srl Ad," in which a young man gets more than he bargained for when he answers an offbeat personal ad from a girl who claims to be from Venus. In "Little Girl Lost," a father must save his young daughter when she slips into another dimension. The title story, about a man menaced by a semi truck, was the source for Stephen Spielberg's film Duel. Wearing their age well, Matheson's stories are snappy and smart. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Richard Matheson is worth our time, attention, and great affection."-from the Appreciation by Ray Bradbury
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (January 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312878265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312878269
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Duel" the title story of this terrific collection of terror, horror and science fiction stories, became the basis for Steven Spielberg's marvelous TV movie of the same name (by the way just released to DVD after a long, long delay by Universal). David Mann becomes involved in an increasingly dangerous game of cat and mouse with a truck driver. Their road rage leads to more and more dangerous confrontations until it's clear that the truck driver wants to kill Mann. A marvelous suspense story, "Duel" is the blueprint for Matheson's script to the movie of the same name.

We also get "Little Girl Lost", "Death Ship", "Steel", "Third from the Sun" and "Born of Man & Woman"(all of which were adapted by Matheson and/or Rod Serling for the classic "Night Gallery" and "Twilight Zone" series) with 12 other stories of terror and science fiction. Like Matheson's novels I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man, the author likes to mix equal elements of terror, science fiction and intelligent character studies in this collection of classic stories from the 50's ("Duel" is the lone story from the 70's).

You may ask yourself what the difference is between horror and terror? Well Boris Karloff stated that terror is anticipating the monster behind the door while horror is actually seeing it in all its gruesome glory. The former creates considerably more suspense and anxiety while the latter is a shock to the system that doesn't last very long (like the murder scene in "Psycho" as compared to the scene where Cary Grant is being pursued by the crop duster in "North by Northwest"). It also can be reduced to semantics. Either way, this collection will provide interesting thrills and chills. Even if you've seen the films adapted from Matheson's work (or TV programs), you'll still enjoy Matheson's fluid writing style and pacing. There's more here than meet the eye and it's well worth investigating.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J from NY VINE VOICE on February 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
richard matheson seems to have been sadly forgotten amongst the horror writers of today. while this may be so, it is also true that he transcends a good deal, if not all, of these writers. "duel" and the collection of stories (many of which were used for twilight zone episodes) that follow are only an appetizer for this legendary author's incredible variety of inspiration. it seems that matheson's formula is as follows:take a perfectly ordinary situation, ordinary life, and throw a javelin of the irrational into it using the supernatural, extraterrestrial, et al. "Duel" is perhaps the best example of this: a simple car ride involving an ordinary man turns into a terrifying struggle for existence, revealing the calm facade of civilization for what it really is--a facade. In "Third From the Sun" Matheson tells a sad tale of a family trying to escape a planet about to self destruct. This really is horror in its purest form: it reflects the quakes and ruptures beneath everyday life without making them look absurd, costume like, or obvious. It is subtle and disturbing. Spielberg's film was great, but it is nothing compared to the story. Although he has stopped writing horror (for some philosophical reason, from what I've read (yawn) his work speaks for itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Horror Novel Reviews on August 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
I don't know the history behind the term `road rage', but I wouldn't be surprised if the term surfaced in the wake of Duel's release. This is a story that redefines road rage, while managing an eerie sense mystery. What's the motive in this tale? Why are we experiencing such savage aggression on the road? Well, because Richard Matheson had a twisted mind that obviously seemed to toy with concepts that (at that time) weren't necessarily the norm.

The story puts "Man" (that's how our protagonist is referred to) against a deranged rig driver. Man is headed for a business meeting in San Francisco. He's in a rush, and slow traffic isn't going to aid him in arriving at his destination in timely fashion. When he finds himself behind a slow big rig he opts to pass, and that's the beginning of one nightmarish commute. Whoever this mysterious man in the truck is, he's taken offense at the man's driving habits. How dare he pass me!

When things get that heated on the road, the only answer is homicide... right?


This is a case of extreme fury, and it works like an absolute charm.

The fact that Matheson is able to outline "Man" as a victim-to-be, who still has some gall is simply amazing. It also empowers him a convincingly likeable hero. No one favors the victim turned complete pushover. We need a lead with balls, and that's what Matheson gives us, which keeps us completely focused on his horrific plight. This guy may be able to turn the tides! And, yes, he may very well be capable of creating a change in the momentum.

I'm not out to spoil the finale. That's bogus business and I'm taking a detour. However, this is a gripping work from beginning to end.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Parola138 on August 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to Matheson through his famous novel, I am Legend. That novel and the short stories included with it impressed me very much. That impression has continued to grow as I've read books like Duel. Matheson writes very competently and always manages to surprise you as he displays his monsters, aliens, and human madmen. This book is well worth your time. It's one I know I will read over and over again.
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