Sad news…io9 is reporting that Richard Matheson has passed away at the age of 87.

Matheson was a giant in the field, writing such classics as I Am Legend (1954), Born of Man and Woman (1954 collection), Third from the Sun (1955 collection), The Shrinking Man (1956), A Stir of Echoes (1958), What Dreams May Come (1978), Richard Matheson’s “The Twilight Zone” Scripts (1998) and Volume Two (2002), Other Kingdoms (2011) and so many more. He has also scripted some of the genre’s most memorable scripts, like The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Raven (1963), The Last Man on Earth (1964 as “Logan Swanson”, based on I Am Legend), The Legend of Hell House (1973, based on his novel), Somewhere in Time (1980, based on his novel), Twilight Zone: The Movie (Fourth segment “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, 1983), as well as episodes of Twilight Zone (16 of ‘em!), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Star Trek: The Original Series (“The Enemy Within”, 1966), Duel (1971), The Night Stalker (1972), Night Gallery, Amazing Stories (1987), and more.

[via Gilbert Colon]

Richard Matheson’s 1956 novel The Shrinking Man is no stranger to the big screen. In 1957, Matheson adapted it for the big screen as The Incredible Shrinking Man, a film that starred Grant Williams, Randy Stuart and was directed by Jack Arnold. In was about a man who, exposed to radiation, slowly began to shrink in size — a metaphor for how man’s place in the world was diminishing. In 1981, the story was radically rewritten as an uninspiring topical pro-environment comedy called The Incredible Shrinking Woman which starred Lily Tomlin.

It may hit theaters again.
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Twenty years after the death of Charles Beaumont in 1967, the sf/f radio program Hour 25 held a memorial episode for him. Here is the audio of Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Roger Anker, and Charles’ son Chris Beaumont talking about Charles Beaumont.

Great listening…

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[Editor's Note: The following was originally published in September 2011 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction.]

The Most Famous Writer You’ve Never Heard Of:
An Interview with I Am Legend Creator Richard Matheson’s Chronicler

by Gilbert Colon

Will Smith battles blood-drinking mutants in Manhattan. William Shatner witnesses a gremlin tearing apart a plane’s wing. A truck terrorizes a hapless motorist in Steven Spielberg’s first feature-length film. Robin Williams goes looking for his wife in the afterlife.

Smith, Shatner, Spielberg, Williams: these superstars are household names, and in the scenes described above they brought to life stories that are a celebrated part of film lore. But the man whose unique imagination produced the stories remains, himself, largely unknown. I Am Legend reaped $585 million at the box office…many of the most memorable Twilight Zone episodes emerged from his pen…his work has been spoofed repeatedly on The Simpsons…a character on The X-Files was named for him…Stephen King called him an influence. Yet he has been laboring in the vineyards almost unrecognized by audiences for decades-until now.

Author Matthew R. Bradley remedies this oversight in his book Richard Matheson on Screen: A History of the Film Works. Recently I had the privilege of asking Mr. Bradley a few questions about his favorite subject.


GC: Richard Matheson is a prolific writer, and almost everybody who has ever watched television or been to a movie has seen a Richard Matheson story: The Incredible Shrinking Man, a Twilight Zone episode, Duel, Somewhere in Time, I Am Legend or, most recently, The Box, yet almost nobody knows his name. Do you see Matheson as an unsung hero?

MB: Absolutely, which is one reason why I started documenting his career, first in interviews, then in introductions to his work, and finally in books. And it was quite a thrill when I was able to write jacket copy for several of his films while working at a Manhattan home-video company! I call him “the most famous writer you’ve never heard of.”
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Carrie Cuinn is a writer, editor, book historian, small press publisher, computer geek, & raconteur. In her spare time she reads, makes things, takes other things apart, and sometimes gets a new tattoo. Learn more at carriecuinn.com.

Some of the most read, and most loved, early science fiction novels are set in places where only the hero of the tale has a chance at a enviable life. Golden Age SF especially, with its focus on adventure stories and cold-war era morality plays, often describes bleak home worlds from which the main character has to escape to survive, or dystopian worlds from which escape is impossible. Though usually presented as the highest form of man, even the heroes have lives absorbed by trying to break free from an oppressive or rigidly controlled society. If the landscape doesn’t kill you, the locals probably will.

Here are five more examples of terrible vacation spots (continued from Part 1):

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The Eagle-Eyed Fred Kiesche informs us that the Library of America wesbite includes a look at their Summer-Fall 2012 catalog. There are noteworthy titles to be found, too:

Edited by Sidney Offit (May 2012)

  • Player Piano
  • The Sirens of Titan
  • Mother Night
  • Six stories

Edited by Gary K. Wolfe (October 2012)

Volume 1: 1953–1956

  • Frederick Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
  • Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
  • Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
  • Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Volume 2: 1956–1958

  • Robert Heinlein, Double Star
  • Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
  • James Blish, A Case of Conscience
  • Algis Budrys, Who?
  • Fritz Leiber, Big Time

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering…


The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century Award.

Press release follows…
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2010 SF Hall of Fame Inductees

The Science Fiction Museum and SF Hall of Fame announced that this year’s Hall of Fame inductees:

  • Octavia E. Butler
  • Roger Zelazny
  • Douglas Trumbull
  • Richard Matheson

Winners were selected by a jury cosnisting of

Robin Wayne Bailey, Gavin Grant, Leslie Howle, Therese Littleton, George R.R. Martin, Brooks Peck, Robert Silverberg, Frank Wu. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place June 26 at Seattle’s Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum as part of the Science Fiction Awards Weekend.

[via Small Beer Press and SciFi Wire]

SF Tidbits for 9/17/09

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