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The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson Paperback – February 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere in Time, I Am Legend and dozens of short stories (a number of which became Twilight Zone episodes), Richard Matheson is himself a modern legend, a writer who shaped modern terror (a term he prefers to "horror") and fantasy fiction, becoming a hero to Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Dean Koontz and others. This collection straddles the line between biography and reader's companion, but as the first fully authorized volume of its kind, it should enthrall devotees. Editors Wiater, Bradley and Stuve faithfully compile interviews with friends, family members and famous fans, as well as tributes, introductions to various Matheson editions and personal letters by the author. Boasting an exceptionally comprehensive, 150-page bibliography, this collection is clearly a labor of love. Those less enchanted by Matheson's work may find much redundant, as different introductory essays and tributes inevitably retread the same ground. For his part, Matheson speaks for himself quite eloquently, and there's more than enough insight and fan favor in the rest to satisfy serious aficionados.
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From Booklist

Richard Matheson is far from a household name, yet his influence on popular fiction and Hollywood has been immeasurable. This collection of essays tracing Matheson’s creative contributions to both those domains constitutes a long-overdue celebration of his legacy. Among the more than two-dozen entries are accolades by colleagues, ranging from Harlan Ellison to Dean Koontz; reprints of afterwords and introductions to several of Matheson’s works, including his novel The Shrinking Man, whom Hollywood decided was Incredible in a 1957 hit film; and even tributes from his wife and four children. Serving primarily as a companion to Matheson’s oeuvre, the volume is a gold mine of interesting literary details. Stephen King, for instance, credits Matheson as his chief inspiration to become a writer. Steven Spielberg also acknowledges indebtedness to Matheson for the script to the made-for-TV movie Duel, which launched his career. An exhaustive Matheson bibliography that consumes a full third of the volume caps a fascinating, indispensable guide to a major figure in speculative fiction. --Carl Hays

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel Press; Original edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806531134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806531137
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bilko on March 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book itself is a fine read, BUT it is virtually the same book as "Richard Matheson Companion" which I already have. So for me it was a ripoff. Matheson fans will enjoy it. It does say that it was renamed on one of the feps, but you can't tell that on amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Cole on January 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I cannot believe I am the first person to review this book. Has not anyone else wanted to chime in? This is the first and ONLY authorized biography devoted to Richard Matheson. Sir Author contributed for this book which makes it all the more important. Matheson's wife and children helped contribute as well. Features a never-before-published essay by Richard Matheson. Screen career, filmogaphy, book dedications, anthology contributions, everything is included in this book. Stephen King himself said the writer who influenced him most was Richard Matheson.

I purchased four books about The Twilight Zone this year. Two were script books and I discovered, sadly, that the essays were the only good part of the book. The scripts themselves were only as fascinating as watching the same TV episode for the fifteenth time. Book three was written by Martin Grams, "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic" which is also available on Amazon.com. It has to be the finest book ever written on the subject. Book four was this one, "The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson." This will remain on the top shelf (not the bottom shelf where I discard the crappy tomes until the cats shred them with their claws) as one of the best books of the year.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book for you or a Twilight Zone fan.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is basically a revised reprinting of THE RICHARD MATHESON COMPANION, which was published by GAUNTLET PRESS, a small press publisher. From what I can tell, the revisions made for this edition were as follows: this version includes a copy of Matheson's 1977 World Fantasy Convention speech, and does NOT include THE YEARS STOOD STILL, the novel he wrote when he was 14. The exhaustive bibliography has also been updated.

THE RICHARD MATHESON COMPANION is actually a more appropriate title because this isn't a biography, per se, but a collection of introductions, essays, and remembrances by people who are close to Matheson, or have worked with him closely. The list is impressive: Harlan Ellison, Dean Koontz, David Morrell, Ed Gorman, William F. Nolan, Matheson's wife and children, and many others all provide well-written, thought-provoking pieces. There are examinations of his work in novels and film, and a short, but interesting biography.

The major flaw of the book is that it DOES focus on his entire body of work, so if a person hasn't read the majority of his work, there are sections that will be of little interest, or won't make much sense at all. In a sense that's a positive, because it makes the reader want to discover those works, but it's also a bit of a letdown, because those works are (understandably) not included in the book. The section that focuses on his movie and TV writing is particularly frustrating because many of the works are hard or impossible to find.

The book makes a great case for Matheson as a criminally under-appreciated author, whose work has a depth and craft that make him the true "author's author." I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Matheson, but for those only vaguely familiar with him, I'd say read THE SHRINKING MAN, I AM LEGEND, HELL HOUSE, and then dive in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Collins Jr. on September 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson is pleasant read and gliding form page to page was cerebrally engaging and pleasantly relaxing.
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