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Publisher's Summary

Among the greats of 20th-century horror and fantasy, few names stand above Richard Matheson. Though known by many for novels like I Am Legend and his 16 Twilight Zone episodes, Matheson truly shines in his chilling, masterful short stories. Since his first story appeared in 1950, virtually every major writer of science fiction and fantasy has fallen under his influence, including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, and Joe Hill, as well as filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg and J. J. Abrams.

Matheson revolutionized horror by taking it out of Gothic castles and strange cosmos and into the darkened streets and suburbs we recognize as our own. He infused tales of the fantastic and supernormal with dark explorations of human nature, delving deep into the universal dread of feeling alone and threatened in a dangerous world. The Best of Richard Matheson brings together his greatest hits as chosen by Victor LaValle, an expert on horror fiction and one of its brightest talents, marking the first major overview of Matheson's legendary career.

Narrated by Robertson Dean, Donald Corren, Peter Berkrot, Paul Michael Garcia, Hillary Huber, Traber Burns, Scott Brick, Devon Sorvari, and Kevin Kenerly.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Best of Richard Matheson

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Profile Image for Arthur
  • Arthur
  • 24-10-2017

Rich and thrilling storytelling

Great stories from Richard Matheson. The complete list (I think) is below:

Born of Man and Woman
Prey
Witch War
Shipshape Home
Blood Son
Where There's a Will
Dying Room Only
Counterfeit Bills
Death Ship
Dance of the Dead
Man with a Club
Button, Button
Duel
Day of Reckoning
The Prisoner
Dress of White Silk
Haircut
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
The Funeral
Third From the Sun
The Last Day
Long Distance Call
Deus ex Machina
One for the Books
Now Die in It
The Conqueror
The Holiday Man
No Such Thing as a Vampire
Big Surprise
A Visit to Santa Claus
Finger Prints
Mute
Shock Wave

If you're unfamiliar with Matheson, think "Man on the Wing of the Airplane", "The Box", and "I am Legend";. His stories are often macabre and imaginative, but not always scary. This is much more "Twilight Zone" (for which he was a repeated writer) than "Tales from the Darkside". After reading a bit of Hell House, I wasn't a big fan of Matheson. After such a large sampling of his short stories, my opinion has changed. At his best (The Last Day, Duel) Matheson describes humanity at the brink...at the edge of its survival, its sanity, or its ability to endure.

If you like strange tales with a dark flavor, try this selection out.

45 people found this helpful

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  • epoul
  • 30-01-2018

A seminal collection of horror

In spite of this book not having many reviews at the time of my download and the fact that I did not love The Shrinking Man (one of Matheson's most famous novels), I took a chance and downloaded it anyway, mostly on the strength of Stephen King's reverence for Matheson's work. I was not disappointed. This book deserves much more love than it's so far received here at Audible. It is a hidden, under-appreciated gem of wide-ranging horror, from supernatural to sci-fi influenced.

Matheson's work is seminal; you know it even if you don't know you know it. But even aside from its better known inclusions such as Duel (which would become Steven Spielberg's first directed feature), Death Ship and Third Planet from the Sun (which would become beloved Twilight Zone episodes), all of which deserve their recognition, there are scads of genuinely unsettling tales here, all superbly written with a deft, understated style. At times humorous, and often existentially unnerving, any fan of horror, well-written prose, or student of suspenseful writing should give this book a listen.

The narrator's performances are nothing to write home about, but perfectly serviceable. It's Matheson himself and his writing that shines here, or rather, flickers before leaving you in the dark with a strange, heavy breathing coming from the corner of the room behind you.

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  • Mark Smith
  • 27-09-2018

Richard Matheson rivals King in Horror genre..

Horror fans, this is collection of novellas and short stories you've been looking for. From just creepy to outright terror. I was familiar with most of these stories, some from Twilight Zone and Tales From the Dark side. Some I've read previously. But with the excellent narration, I enjoyed every minute and hated to finish the book. It'll be difficult to find another collection as well written as this one..

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  • Jessica
  • 30-11-2017

Victor LaValle Introduction is NOT included

I was excited for this collection, as I've only read Matheson's novels and have always enjoyed his work. Unfortunately the introduction by Victor LaValle which is part of the reason I purchased this collection is not included even though it's listed in the book information on Audible.

There are several narrators here, which is a nice way to break up the stories. They are all very traditional style audiobook narrators, which isn't always my preference, but they fit Matheson's work nicely.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Davy Sprocket
  • 10-07-2020

Great Collection, Varied Readings, Mostly Holds Up

MOST of the readers are pretty solid. The first two stories have their issues. The first reader is doing a *nearly* offensive portrayal of a developmentally disabled person but it's accurate enough that it still works. The second reader I just found off-putting. After that things pretty much smooth out. Sound is great all the way through.
Matheson's writing is a separate issue. The man was a master of his genre to the point where a lot of what is collected here will sound like retreads of plots and premises you're well familiar with but there's good reason for this. First of all his writing was featured on anthology television frequently eg he wrote maybe most of the best known and revered episodes of the original Twilight Zone (some of which are included here) although younger listeners will as likely recognize their Treehouse of Horror counterparts. Many horror nerds will recognize the stories in this collection which would eventually be adapted to film "Prey", "Duel", "Button Button" and "Dance of the Dead". Although he is probably best known for writing the book "I Am Legend" (not included) which became "The Last Man on Earth" with Vincent Price, "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston, and the eponymous film starring Will Smith. So the prolific consumer of genre fiction may have to think of this the same way modern metal fans think of Black Sabbath; the bones upon which a genre was built.
It's also worth noting that if you're coming to Matheson via The Twilight Zone that you may need a forewarning. While he's no Clive Barker in terms of graphic intensity, this is primarily a horror collection, not science fiction. While there are elements of other genres throughout, horror is by far the more accurate label here. Not the best bedtime listening unless that's specifically what you're into.
This collection spans his entire career, from the 50s into the 00s. So if the first few stories feel clunky and dated (which they largely didn't to me, although Witch War is.. o d d) hang around, because it gets more streamlined as it goes. All in all this is an amazing collection from an awesome writer that I strongly recommend to any fan of horror or aspiring writer.

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  • M. SALMAN
  • 09-11-2019

A master in his element

After listening to this audiobook I had a profound realization...
Richard Matheson is the father of modern science fiction .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 09-10-2018

Brings back memories of old Twilight Zone episodes

Many of these stories were the basis of episodes of the Twilight Zone. All of the short stories have that kind of feel. Wonderful work and great reading.

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  • Abel
  • 29-03-2018

Solid.

Like twilight zone? You'll probably dig this then. A bit sporadic in consistency but all solid.

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  • Rich Carlson
  • 01-11-2020

When Matheson is good, he's very good....

But when he's bad...he's still pretty damn good. Super-fun collection by a true, if slightly demented, storyteller.

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  • Tim
  • 06-09-2020

Ugh....

Perhaps back in the day when Columbia, McMillan and Wife and Night Gallery dominated the evening TV offerings these stories MIGHT have been mildly entertaining - yet I doubt it.

Listened to the first two stories and had to give up.

Don’t waste a credit - you’ve been warned!

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  • Derrick
  • 06-04-2018

Superb

I came to Richard Matheson having listened to Radio 4 versions of "I am legend" and "Duel"; both made into iconic movies. This anthology of short stories does not include the former but does include the latter.

What I also realised is how many of these stories are familiar from TV movies or episodes of "The Twilight Zone". The reason is very simple, they are great stories. They often include elements of horror or science fiction, but by no means always. They range in length from novellas to very short (less than 5 minute) tales. It would be wrong to say they all gripped me; there are a lot of stories, and I left them for a while and then came back, but I really enjoyed them. They are well-read, by some voices you may recognise if you listen to a lot of audiobooks.

All in all, a great collection of short stories by a master of the form.

5 people found this helpful

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