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The Incredible Shrinking Man Paperback – February 24, 2001
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Some people will remember The Incredible Shrinking Man as a movie with great special effects and a surprisingly good script, given the ridiculous title. Matheson's classic novella is the reason for that. As Scott Carey -- husband, father, and all-around decent guy -- mysteriously shrinks, he faces unimagined horrors at every step, up to the story's surprising resolution. It's packaged here with a number of Matheson's other classic stories, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which became a popular Twilight Zone episode, and "Duel," which was turned into a movie by a very young Steven Spielberg. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Matheson's legendary 1956 sci-fi tale of Scott Carey, a family man who is slowly shrinking into obscurity and a terrifying new world inside his own house, is beautifully realized by Yuri Rasovsky's memorable reading. Enthusiastic and compelling, Rasovsky seems predisposed to the suspense master's style of writing. Capturing the brilliant mix of everyday life and extraordinary horrors that Matheson is so revered for creating, Rasovsky reads with a dry, cool wit that breathes new life into this classic tale. He knows exactly how to relay the tension and anxiety to his audience, and never ceases to raise the stakes and bring the audience to their knees in sheer terror. This is a thrilling and unforgettable experience. A Tor paperback. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Richard Matheson's "The Incredible Shrinking Man" is an engrossing novella of the sci-fi/horror persuasion, and although published in the 1950s it still holds up well today. The story alternates between protagonist Scott Carey's deteriorating home life due to his unprecedented shrinkage—not that sort of shrinkage!—and his present-day peril, marooned in the cellar and struggling to survive, the size of an ant. Matheson's storytelling expertise is on full display, and readers are given a front-row seat to the physical dangers and inherent difficulties of being less than an inch tall. Suspense aside, the novella is far more interesting from the emotional standpoint of the main character. Scott Carey views his loss of stature as both humiliating and ultimately dehumanizing. While some readers might lose patience with the Carey's sullen and hurtful disposition, as he wallows in self-pity over his misfortune and lashes out at everyone around him; on the other hand, those electing to stick with the story will be rewarded with a denouement that is both bleak and surprisingly hopeful.
Although Matheson's writing is overloaded with superfluous adverbs (a common practice during the 1950's era), strong premise prevails in this tale that tests the boundaries of your imagination without resorting to cheap gimmicks. Captivating in its simplicity, the story posits an interesting "What-if?" and then the rest becomes logical and terrifyingly plausible.
As an added bonus, this edition is packaged with nine classic short stories penned by Matheson, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which later became a popular Twilight Zone episode starring William Shatner as a not-so-frequent flyer haunted by the sight of a monster lurking on the wing of passenger jet, mid-flight; "Duel" wherein a traveling salesman becomes involved in pulse-pounding game of cat-and-mouse with a deranged truck driver; and "Mantage", in which a burgeoning writer wishes that life could be experienced much in the same way as in a movie—all the tedium glossed over, just the highlights, please—then the rest of his life elapses in 85 minutes. Amongst this reviewer's personal favorites was "The Distributor" and "The Test", both of which you won't soon forget.
These remarkable stories are literary masterpieces by a wonderfully expressive author. Matheson is masterful at telling a story that is at once fantastic to imagine and domestic to our daily comings and goings, evoking emotion at every turn, albeit mostly dark emotions.
The climax occurs when his small size renders him smaller than the black widow spider who attacks him, and his only defense is a common sewing pin, now spear sized to him.
I whole heartedly recommend this book to any sic-fi fan. You won't be sorry.
- There are times when it's difficult to understand exactly what's going on in the physical environment of the protagonist. ie, furniture simply becomes "mountains" or "canyons". Perhaps this was a deliberate act on Matheson's part in order to emphasize the overwhelming nature of Scott Carey's predicament. Although It lost me a bit, I nevertheless remained intrigued. (Just read the book and maybe you'll see what I mean.)
- The only other disapointment for me was that the ending seemed very predictable.
In spite of these two points, I still feel that it was a neat story overall. I read most of it in one sitting. I really felt drawn in to the main character's extreme psychological challenges as well the mere struggle for physical survival every day.
This the second novel by Richard Matheson that I have read. This book makes me want to read another one!
The book starts with the main character (Scott Carey) only the size of a spider, so it’s through a series of flashbacks that we see Scott’s increasing fears and frustrations as he becomes more and more physically diminutive -- and feels less and less a husband & father & man. Of course, such a story line is quite depressing; and so the book was a depressing read, too.
Like Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”, this book is very much focused on the main character; and consequently, the book contains quite a bit of philosophizing (which was okay with me). I did feel, though, that the book spent too much time describing his attempts to climb the now gargantuan-sized chairs, tables, etc.