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

3.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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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.)
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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

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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: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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?
Read more ›
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By A Customer 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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By Danielle on December 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some of the stories didn't really make sense to me lol. I bought this book because of the button, button story. Some of the stories were pretty funny. The only bad thing about this book is that some of the stories didn't keep my attention so I kept putting it down. It took me longer than usual to read but I'm glad that I didn't give up on this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Matheson's stories in this collection vary from the powerful punch of the opening story to some fairly mundane tales of suspense. Often he relies on the good old twist in the tale to give his stories impact and these seem to be the least impressive. Where Matheson shines is where the stories are deceptively simple and where meaning resides in the nooks and crannies of a character's words or the description of a simple action. These are the stories that give a reader pause, and chill with their darker layers of meaning beneath the superficial events of the tale.

Even the lesser stories are enjoyable and there are enough of his more memorable pieces here to justify the purchase.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would recommend any novel or short story collection by this author. He wrote some of the better stories on the original "Twilight Zone" television show and his stories almost always hit the mark for a good read.
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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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Although Richard Matheson has an impressive body of work that includes novels, short stories and teleplays, many of his great short stories are absent from this compilation.

I bought this after I saw the movie "The Box" with Frank Langella, James Marsden and Cameron Diaz. Incidentally, unlike quite a few people, I actually enjoyed the movie. The story "The Box" is actually quite short and reminiscent of many Kurt Vonnegut stories: short, well-written and clever.

There are maybe four or five other good stories in the mix, but there are several more that aren't up to Matheson's usual snuff, particularly "The Creeping Terror." A great title for a not-so-great story that involves the spread of California-type culture, architecture and plant-life across America and the world. The story attempts to be funny, but is overlong.

All in all, you'll get some good Matheson out of this, but the selection of stories could have been better.
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