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The Shrinking Man (RosettaBooks into Film) [Kindle Edition]

Richard Matheson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Matheson’s legendary tale, family man Scott Carey finds himself shrinking, slowly, day-by-day, inch-by-inch. While on vacation, he gets exposed to a radioactive cloud, the cause of this bizarre event. Scott once had an everyday existence as a husband and father, but now his shrinking shows no end in sight. He becomes a national spectacle, something worthy of newspaper headlines. As Carey shrinks smaller and smaller, his family become more and more unreachable giants, and the family cat becomes a predatory menace. In this world of disproportion, which grows more and more perilous with each passing day, Scott struggles to survive. He is pushed to the very limits of fear and existence.

As the story continues, Carey meets up with some circus performers and attempts to rebuild some semblance of a life. But since his shrinking never stops, all ideas of normal fade, and the threats never stop growing.

In 1958, The Shrinking Man won the Hugo award for that year’s best science fiction or fantasy dramatic presentation. It was also adapted into the film The Incredible Shrinking Man.


Richard Burton Matheson (born February 20th, 1926) is an American author and screenwriter working primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. Between 1950 and 1971, Matheson produced dozens of stories, frequently combining elements from different genres and making important contributions to the further development of modern horror. Matheson wrote fourteen episodes for the American television series The Twilight Zone, including the famous “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Notably, Steven Spielberg’s first full length film (made for television) was based on the story Duel, for which Matheson also wrote the screenplay.

Matheson’s first novel, Someone is Bleeding, was published in 1953. His thirty novels since then include The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, again adapted from Matheson’s own screenplay), and the novel I Am Legend (made into film as The Last Man on Earth, 1964; The Omega Man, 1971; and I Am Legend, 2007).

A new film based on Matheson’s story “Steel,” entitled Real Steel, is a major motion picture that was released in October 2011. His most recent novel, Other Kingdoms, appeared in March 2011.


From classic book to classic film, RosettaBooks has gathered some of most memorable books into film available. The selection is broad ranging and far reaching, with books from classic genre to cult classic to science fiction and horror and a blend of the two creating whole new genres like Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man. Classic works from Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, meet with E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. Whether the work is centered in the here and now, in the past, or in some distant and almost unimaginable future, each work is lasting and memorable and award-winning.

Editorial Reviews


"The author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson."--Stephen King
"One of the most important writers of the twentieth century."--Ray Bradbury
"Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Matheson inspires, it's as simple as that."—Brian Lumley


About the Author

Richard Matheson (1926-2013) Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' which appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and has been adapted to film three times. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man (published in 1956). The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays (including The Fall of the House of Usher) 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. Further SF short stories were collected in The Shores of Space (1957) and Shock! (1961). His other novels include Hell House (1971) (filmed as The Legend of Hell House in 1973), Bid Time Return (1975), Earthbound (1982) and Journal of the Gun Years (1992). A film of his novel What Dreams May Come (1978) was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. A collection of his stories from the 1950s and 1960s was released in 1989 as Richard Matheson: Collected Stories. He died in 2013.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1401 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (May 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00514HEHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,055 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reduction Of The Self April 21, 2003
Scott Carey is exposed to a one in a million chemical reaction (brought about by a mysterious sea-spray and being drenched in pesticides) and finds himself shrinking 1/7th of an inch every morning. While the Scientific explanation is a little bit of a throwaway, and left me going `huh?' (like Bruce Banner getting the gamma rays or Peter Parker getting bit by a nuked spider), the end result is certainly not.
What plays out as a relentlessly depressing view of mortality and the loneliness in which man faces that mortality (much like Matheson's I AM LEGEND), ends with a surprisingly optimistic conclusion which puts this story into the realm of a zen-line allegory.
As he shrinks, the protagonist's social struggles grow. He is often mistaken for a child (by bullying teenagers and in one scene, a drunken pedophile) and begins falling into the `little man's complex,' raging at seemingly insignifigant things and growing increasingly more neurotic as a result of his inability to be taken seriously. His manhood is challenged as he becomes too miniscule to relate physically to his wife (in the pit of his self-loathing he contemplates the rape of a sixteen year old girl), and in a final display of his ineffectiveness, his young daughter treats him like a doll. After being locked and lost in the cellar of his own house, his neuroses become manifest in the body of a black widow spider who torments him endlessly (amusingly, its the same spider he wounds with a stone while in a larger state).
Carey's biggest problem is his fear. He fears his innate impulses and desires, he fears his financial instability with his brother, he fears the way his wife and daughter see him and his own concept of masculinity.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Shrinking Man" by Richard Matheson ("incredible" was added to the title for this release so readers unfamiliar with the book but who'd seen the movie would have a better chance of catching it on the shelves.) is among the very best sci-fi adventures, if not simply the best novels, ever written. Robert Scott Carey, the unlucky main character of this story, finds himself shrinking at a rate of 1/7th of an inch a day after exposure to a cloud of radioactive mist. Sure, it sounds silly, but trust me, this is one of the most fantastic reads around. Events that were not part of the classic film add moments of psychological horror that top even a Stephen King freak-fest. Carey's rapidly changing relationship with his wife and daughter (a character not in the film) is explored as well as several incidents with strong themes that serve to highlight the personal Hell Carey's world has become as it steadily outgrows him. Like the movie, the novel ends with one of the greatest climaxes in imaginitive literature as Carey learns the ultimate truth of his existance and provides the story with it's final, underlying moral.... Read it, Experience it, if not for the first time, then again... and again...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Matheson and one of his best! May 31, 2001
This was the first novel by Matheson that I ever read, in a paperback edition, back in the mid-50s. He was already well-known for his short stories in the sci-fi/fantasy pulp magazines of the day, and even in the "slicks" like Playboy, and I had read some of them. This was the first work of his to be made into a movie in 1957, The Incredible Shrinking Man (I guess they thought the original title, The Shrinking Man, was too credible?) directed by the late, great Jack Arnold (It Came from Outer Space, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Tarantula, et al.) but it wasn't the last. Most of his novels and some of his short stories have made it to the big screen (The Omega Man) or to TV (The Night Stalker). He was the Stephen King of the `50s and `60s!
I read this novel before I saw the movie, and although the movie was great, with stand-out special effects, a very good cast, and tight direction, it of course had to leave out quite a lot. The character Scott Carey certainly had some interesting and unusual problems, and his fate is finally to enter the microscopic world, where the unknown waits. The Shrinking Man is a great read, and I recommend it to all sci-fi/horror fans, and certainly all Matheson fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch horror by a top-notch writer August 13, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Is Richard Matheson the greatest horror writer ever? I think it can be well-argued that the answer is yes. Poe can be rather staid to the modern reader and Lovecraft may be great at describing weird worlds, but his storytelling ability is rather limited. Among more recent writers, Stephen King (who counts Matheson among his influences) is a contender, and there may be a few others with worthy bodies of work in the genre. Matheson, in my opinion has them all beat, not only writing some of the most memorable horror stories ever, but also providing the material for numerous movies and TV shows (including The Twilight Zone and Roger Corman's sequence of Poe movies).

One of his most famous novels is The Incredible Shrinking Man, and despite its vaguely science fiction premise, it is clearly horror. Scott Carey is trapped in the cellar of his own house, around an inch tall and shrinking every day. His wife and child think he's dead and he has no way to let them know otherwise. His once familiar surroundings are now dangerous, and his struggle to survive will be hampered by a black widow spider that seemingly grows larger as Scott continues to shrink.

Through a series of flashbacks, we witness Scott's initial discovery of his malady, one triggered by accidental exposure to radiation and insecticide. He is shrinking one-seventh of an inch every day; while a geometric reduction might seem more logical, Matheson's use of an arithmetic one puts a clear end for Scott: after he is down to 1/7 of an inch, he is doomed to go to zero the next day.

The physical toll is only part of the problem, as Scott's shrinking also affects him psychologically, in particular with his feelings of inadequacy (both sexual and his inability to provide for his family).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected depth
I've never seen the film, and the premise never intrigued me, but I picked up the book out of mild curiosity. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Rev. Judith Kelsey-Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Should have fed him to the cat
Strong writing prevails in this tale of changing perspective on the world. I loved the writing and the strong characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Suzanne
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed listening to this book, I got the audio companion...
I listened to the audible version. It was a pretty good story.
Published 2 months ago by Diane
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good
A lot of redundancy and insignificant detail /filler. Otherwise it's pretty good.
Had to read frigid book for a class.
Published 3 months ago by Mark A. Roldan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Although it was written many years ago
Excellent book. Although it was written many years ago, the story is timeless. One man's struggle with a terrible problem that is not his fault. Highly recommended.
Published 4 months ago by Robert L. Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish he could've said goodbye to his family
I found it oddly comforting that this book could be read at almost any time-1950, 1990, 2020... and it would still seem to appear now. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars So Many Hungers
Witness as Scott battles the realities of shrinking. His daughter loses respect for him and he struggles with his sexual frustration as his wife starts to see him as less of a man... Read more
Published 6 months ago by R. Rubio
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Shrinking Man
I love Matheson, but this one gets a bit tedious after while. There are some exceptional moments though. Nice read, but he has much better works (Bid Time Return is amazing).
Published 6 months ago by Jp
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent classic science fiction
This is an example of a classic sci fi. Very entertaining and detailed account of what it could be like.
Published 6 months ago by Jay S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Matheson is one of the great dark fantasy writers of all time.
Published 7 months ago by Larry
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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.

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