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Steel: And Other Stories Paperback – September 27, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Richard Matheson:

"The author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson."
--Stephen King

"His stories not only entertain but touch the mind and heart."
--Dean Koontz

About the Author

Richard Matheson was 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Original edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765329425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,381,735 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Steel and Other Stories is a collection of stories written by Richard Matheson who is probably best known for his novels I am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Most were originally published in pulp magazines in the 1950s, though two are recent and have never been collected before. Each is quite short:

* "Steel" -- (1956, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) Steel Kelly, a washed-up boxer, is now living vicariously through his broken down robot fighter. If they can win the next match, Steel hopes he'll have enough money to fix up his robot. "Steel" was the inspiration for a Twilight Zone episode and the movie Real Steel. It's exciting and demonstrates Richard Matheson's talent for writing men from a psychological perspective.
* "To Fit the Crime" -- 1952, Fantastic) A cruel and pretentious 1950s poet dies and finds out what hell is like for cruel and pretentious 1950s poets. This one is amusing.
* "The Wedding" -- (1953, Beyond Fantasy Fiction) A superstitious groom ruins his marriage before it gets started.
* "The Conqueror" -- (1954, Bluebook Magazine) A young Yankee idolizes the pistol fighters out West, so he sets out to become one. I don't normally read Westerns, but I liked this one.
* "Dear Diary" -- (1954, Born of Man and Woman) A very short and penetrating story about two pessimistic women from two different eras writing entries in their diaries.
* "Descent" -- (1954, If) A nuclear bomb is about to be dropped on California and the citizens are preparing to leave everything behind and descend into an underground city.
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Format: Paperback
After watching the movie Real Steel, I loved the premise, but hated the campy execution. So I sought out the original source and wasn't at all disappointed. Unlike the movie, the title story, Steel, is a dark tale about a down-and-out robot boxer who takes the ultimate risk to succeed. I'll leave it at that, but it is a must read. As for the other stories in the mix, most are great and are worth the read. My favorites are The Doll That Does Everything (one of the best twist endings I have ever read), The Edge, and A Visit to Santa Claus (perfect for the holidays!) The majority of the stories are 1950s sci-fi, so if that's your thing, I can't imagine a better collection. The only two modern ones are Dr. Morton's Folly (predictable, but fun) and The Window of Time (a terrific tale of nostalgia). All in all, Matheson is a master of genre short stories and it's no accident that after all these years his tales continue to resonate.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The main disappointment to me personally (which didn't affect my rating) was that there was very little of Matheson's horror side in this collection. Don't get me wrong, he's still a very good writer outside of horror, but if you're interested in reading his horror work, this book (with the exception of Dr. Morton's Folly . . . a dentist working on a vampire) isn't where you'll find it.

So, most of these stories were sci-fi. The Window of Time is a nice time-travel story about an 82-year-old man who warps into the year when he was twelve. The Traveler is another time-travel story, even better than The Window of Time imo.
Steel, the title story, was probably my favorite. I've never seen any of the adaptations, so this story was brand new to me, and I liked it quite a bit. Matheson definitely has a talent for writing about the future, as even now the story seems far in the future, let alone almost 60 years ago!
Dear Diary is a nice story with a bit of irony.
Aside from Steel, my favorite story was definitely The Conqueror. After reading Lonesome Dove, I was pleased to find an entertaining Western story, set in 1871. The story had (pun intended) all guns blazing haha.
Lastly, A Visit to Santa Clause was the last story I read. Not amazing, but a decent story to go out on.

The rest of the stories were average I thought. I didn't dislike any of them, just found ones like The Splendid Source, Descent, not too memorable. The last thing I want to mention is, although I didn't really care for When Day is Dun or The Edge, I found their endings to be quite good, the kind (especially in The Edge) that leave the reader thinking what's going to happen.
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Format: Paperback
Even though I've heard of Matheson and recognize the influence he has had upon Hollywood and modern American literature, I haven't read much of his work. In fact, other than I AM LEGEND, the only work of Matheson's I have read is a collection of short stories entitled THE BOX that was released at the same time as a movie of the same name. When I recently saw a copy of REAL STEEL selling for around $5, I couldn't pass the book up; I know enough about Matheson to know that he's one of the best short story writers ever and a collection of his short stories for that price, which includes "Steel", is almost a steal. There are a total of 15 stories in REAL STEEL.

"Steel" - this story was adapted into an episode of the original TWILIGHT ZONE and is the basis for the movie, REAL STEEL. In the future boxing between people no longer happens and boxing takes places between lifelike androids. A trainer named Kelly dreams of the big leagues and almost hit the big time when his robot named Maxo KO'd a contender. But that was three years ago and Maxo is a nobody and is an antique that's literally falling apart. Before the fight that will bring Kelly and Maxo back into the road to the big time, something unfortunate happens and Kelly makes a possible life-changing decision.

"To Fit the Crime" - a man at the end of his life loves the educated spoken word more than the people around him. He believes his mind is the only thing that separates himself from death and whatever horrors lie beyond. His whole life he verbally assaults and abuses his family with lofty spoken barbs.

"The Wedding" - a very superstitious man falls in love with an overweight woman. Despite his crazy beliefs, the woman agrees to marry him anyway and tragedy befalls them both.
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