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Somewhere In Time Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2008
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“The author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson.” ―Stephen King
“Stylish and gripping, [Richard Mathsons's] stories not only entertain but touch the mind and heart.” ―Dean Koontz
“Richard Matheson is one of the most respected living American fantasy/science fiction/horror writers. . . . Matheson could not write a bad book if he tried.” ―Hartford Courant
About the Author
Richard Matheson (1926-2013) was The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including several Twilight Zone episodes.
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If you like the movie, check out this book. Otherwise, you might find it a bit dull without the gorgeous soundtrack playing along in your head.
It shouldn't be a big surprise that the book is different than the movie. For instance, the book takes place in California where the movie takes place in Michigan. Digressing, the premise of the story is a playwright named Richard Collier decides to go on final endeavor. I say final because Richard has a brain tumor and only several months to live. His outlook of recovery is rather slim, so he figures he will pull out his savings and have one last adventure.
This brings Richard to the Hotel del Coronado; he made the choice to attain this location by flipping a penny. It isn't too long before Richard discovers that this hotel has a rich history and a famous stage actress named Elise McKenna once performed there in 1896. It should be noted that the (present) time in this novel is 1971.
Richard becomes consumed and obsessed with Elise. He does a great deal of research and even does some sleuth work at the hotel itself to find out every detail he can about her. Richard then decides that he is going to attempt to travel back in time, since he has fallen madly in love with Elisa McKenna. Richard is able to travel back in time via hypnosis and/or the power of suggestion. This sounds a bit absurd, but the book is written so well it is almost believable. It is also an interesting twist on time travel.
There is more to the book, but I won't give any details away. Richard Matheson does an amazing job weaving a tapestry of science fiction, romance, history and fantasy. Since the novel is written in the first person (Richard Collier's), I strongly believe a man would have no problem at all identifying with the story. In other words, since this is a "tale of romance" it isn't only exclusive to the female gender. As a matter of fact, Elisa McKenna doesn't actually appear until page 150 (or so).
I also found the vocabulary that Matheson used to depict his tale to be amazing. I like to think I have a pretty good vocabulary and there were words I was never aware of that were found in this book. I read that Matheson did a good deal of research when writing this book and stayed at Hotel del Coronado in order to muse the character of Richard Collier. It is also my understanding that Elise McKenna was based on the stage actress Maude Adams. This technique on Matheson's part only adds to the novel.
While there are still differences from the book and the movie, I feel that they both complement one and other. As a matter of fact, I think this book is one of the best I've read. It gives it an edge the movie didn't have. Not that my fondness or devotion to the movie has faded, if anything it has billowed. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something that is a little different. Then after reading the book, definitely watch the movie. This story has such an arcane and haunting quality that would be a crime not to let oneself be captivated by it.