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The Shrinking Man (RosettaBooks into Film) by [Matheson, Richard]
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The Shrinking Man (RosettaBooks into Film) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
 
 
First he thought it was a tidal wave. Then he saw that the sky and ocean were visible through it and it was a curtain of spray rushing at the boat.
He’d been sunbathing on top of the cabin. It was just coincidence that he pushed up on his elbow and saw it coming.
“Marty!” he yelled. There was no answer. He scuttled across the hot wood and slid down the deck. “Hey, Marty!”
The spray didn’t look menacing, but for some reason he wanted to avoid it. he ran around the cabin, wincing at the hot planks underfoot. It would be a race.
Which he lost. One moment he was in sunlight. The next he was being soaked by the warm, glittering spray.
Then it was past. He stood there watching it sweep across the water, sun-glowing drops of it covering him. Suddenly he twitched and looked down. There was a curious tingling on his skin.
He grabbed for a towel and dried himself. It wasn’t so much pain as a pleasant stinging, like that of lotion on newly shaven cheeks.
Then he was dry and the feeling was almost gone. He went below and woke up his brother and told him about the curtain of spray that had run across the boat.
It was the beginning.
 
Copyright © 1994 by RXR, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 945 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (May 15, 2011)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00514HEHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,862 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward M. Erdelac on April 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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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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