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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:30 am 
Director of the National Post
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I stumbled across this earlier -
Not sure if I should have posted it here, but it is of interest to all of us, especially his importance in sci-fi and TZ, Hitchcock, Amazing Stories and his many stories adapted for movies and the like.

This is a description of a new book on Richard Matheson.
http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/a ... ADLEY.html

After the hundreds of pages I have written and edited about Richard Matheson, it’s tough to sum up his significance to film and television in a few sentences, but here goes. Start with the movies that would never have been made if he hadn’t written the novels or stories—and in many cases the scripts—first: the Hugo Award-winning The Incredible Shrinking Man, the Emmy Award-winning Duel (Steven Spielberg’s feature-length debut), The Legend of Hell House, Trilogy of Terror (with Karen Black’s Zuni-doll smackdown), the Oscar-nominated Somewhere in Time, the Oscar-winning What Dreams May Come, Stir of Echoes, and a little half-billion-dollar hit called I Am Legend (plus its two previous incarnations, The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man).

Now add his adaptations of works by Edgar Allan Poe (House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Raven), Jules Verne (Master of the World), Fritz Leiber (Burn, Witch, Burn), Dennis Wheatley (The Devil Rides Out), Bram Stoker (the TV version of Dracula with Jack Palance), and Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles). Then throw in his other television work, such as the Edgar Award-winning original Night Stalker (the highest-rated TV-movie of its day), The Morning After (with an Emmy-nominated Dick Van Dyke as an alcoholic), the Christopher Award-winning Dreamer of Oz (a biopic of L. Frank Baum), and many of the best-known Twilight Zone entries (including the Shatner-vs.-gremlin “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”). Not to mention episodes of shows as diverse as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Amazing Stories (including John Lithgow’s Emmy-winning role in “The Doll”), Cheyenne, Combat!, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Have Gun—Will Travel, Night Gallery, Star Trek, Thriller, and Wanted: Dead or Alive. And then…well, you get the picture. Clearly, this is a Cinema Retro kinda guy.

By now, I probably have you salivating for a book that will tell you everything about this incredible body of work, right? Well, you’re going to have to wait a little longer for that one; I’m still adding the finishing touches to Richard Matheson on Screen before sending it to the publisher, McFarland. But to tide you over in the meantime there’s The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson (Citadel, 2009), which I edited with Stanley Wiater and Paul Stuve. It was originally published by (and is still available from) Gauntlet Press as a handsome limited edition entitled The Richard Matheson Companion. This new version not only is more affordable, for those counting their pennies in these economic times, but also has been completely revised and updated, making it more comprehensive than ever.

So, what is this book, you ask? Well, it’s several things at once. It’s an appreciation of Matheson’s astounding career as an author and screenwriter, with essays examining his work and wide-ranging influence by Harlan Ellison, Dennis Etchison, Ed Gorman, George Clayton Johnson, Jack Ketchum, Dean Koontz, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Lumley, David Morrell, William F. Nolan, F. Paul Wilson, and Gahan Wilson (many of them published for the first time). While not a biography per se, it offers an intimate look at his life through Matheson interviews and correspondence; more than a dozen candid photos; and contributions from artists, book editors, publishers, and producers he has worked with, plus his wife and four children, three of whom are also writers.

Last but far from least, it contains the most comprehensive documentation of Matheson’s oeuvre ever compiled: published works (fiction and nonfiction), scripts (produced, unproduced, and published), adaptations (including novelizations, audiobooks, and graphic novels), profiles, websites, stage plays, musical compositions, on-camera appearances, audio recordings, soundtracks, collectibles, awards, and even a section debunking some common Matheson myths. A special bonus—unique to this edition—is the previously unpublished guest-of-honor speech he delivered at the World Fantasy Convention in 1977.

If you have the slightest interest in Matheson, then you’re probably too busy ordering The Twilight and Other Zones to read the rest of this (which is fine), but a common theme should be noted among the two dozen contributors, who include all three of the book’s editors: that his great spirit is every bit the equal of his prodigious talent. Having known him for almost twenty years, and worked with him on various literary projects over more than half of that time, I have found him to be gracious, generous, and loyal at every turn—qualities often in short supply in Hollywood. We hope this book will be an adequate tribute to the man as well as to his work.

TZ DZ fan


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