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Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories By Richard Matheson Paperback – January 5, 2002
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This classic horror collection showcases the early career of one of the field's most influential and innovative writers. Much of Richard Matheson's work has found its way into pop culture: the title story became a memorable episode of television's The Twilight Zone, and horror aficionados reading "Prey" will immediately visualize Trilogy of Terror's Karen Black hunkered down with a butcher knife. But this collection's power lies in its wide-ranging exploration of style and subject and the literary skill that Matheson demonstrated right from the start of his career. Many of his stories were decidedly unconventional when published (most in the 1950s and early 1960s), and still have the power to shock or to satisfy with their graceful inevitability. Matheson is not primarily a monster writer: rather, he examines how we create monsters from our own fears and frailties, and sometimes become the monsters ourselves. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is a must-have collection for Matheson fans and readers who like their horror spare, precise, and chilling. --Roz Genessee
“Be warned: you are in the hands of a writer who asks no quarter and gives none. He will wring you dry . . . and when you close this volume he will leave you with greatest gift a writer can give: he will leave you wanting more.” ―Stephen King, from his Introduction
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I am usually not a huge fan of short stories but I tend to like those that are of the horror genre. In this book of short stories and novellas some stories are good and some are great. I liked them all, some more than others.
1. First of all, the introduction by Stephen King. Matheson is a favorite of King's and he considers him to be a father figure. High praise indeed from another master of the horror genre.
2. NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET - I think of this story each and every time I fly (first published in 1962).
3. SLAUGHTER HOUSE - haunted house, anyone? (first published in 1953)
4. DANCE OF THE DEAD - probably my favorite story in the book - come along and dance the loopy dance (first published in 1954)
5. THE CHILDREN OF NOAH - watch out for small towns (first published in 1957)
6. THE DISTRIBUTOR - evil, nasty man (first published in 1958)
7. And, of course, PREY - a gift that takes on a life of its own (first published in 1969)
Matheson was truly a master at the horror genre of writing. His works will still be read for as long as there are books - and horror fans.
Even though there's one or two short stories that feel as if they were written by somebody else, this was a delightful read. I read it in a couple of days and I'm not a fast reader at all. Matheson just has a way with characters and their emotions. He takes you on a ride and actually makes you feel with the characters in even the wildest setups.
About the Kindle Edition, I found it well formatted and it's one of the few books with close-to-no-typos or other content errors. I still feel the Kindle edition of every book should be considerably cheaper than the printed ones. Just sayin'