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Available only in e-book format, Backteria and Other Improbable Tales is a brand new collection of short tales of terror and the unknown from master storyteller Richard Matheson. In the title story, published here for the first time, a researcher encounters an exotic new strain of virus that causes the infected person to disappear. Curiosity leads the doctor on a path of discovery which takes him deep into his own personal history and suggests the age-old warning: Be careful what you wish for. In "Getting Together", a case of mistaken identity leads to a darkly farcical story of marriage, murder, and a love that knows no bounds. The quietly threatening "Haircut" shows how a routine trim becomes a dark and terrifying experience when a barber is confronted with a sick customer who seems to him otherworldly. In this collection of stories Matheson clearly demonstrates once again why Ray Bradbury called him "one of the most important writers of the twentieth century" and Stephen King named him as "the author who influenced me most as a writer."
What if every time you pushed a button you received $50,000... but someone you didn't know died? Would you still push the button? How many times? "Button, Button", which inspired a memorable Twilight Zone episode, is just one of a dozen tales in this collection by Richard Matheson.
This short novel that is told with almost fable-like simplicity: Matt Harper is a first-time counselor at a boy's summer camp when he witnesses a casual brutality that leads to murder. The bullying, gluttonous headman Ed Nolan (who has "reduced Camp Pleasant to a microcosm of the Third Reich") is portrayed as one stereotype that the reader is not sorry to see killed off. Instead, all of our sympathy is reserved for the possible suspects: Merv Loomis, the homosexual counselor Nolan humiliates into quitting; the troubled ten-year-old Tony Rocca; Nolan's meek wife, Ellen; and several others. The setting and tone have the distinct feel of the early 1950s, but a casual reference to actress Catherine Deneuve places the action in the mid-60s or later. In other hands, perhaps this minimalist plot would be inadequate, but Matheson, author of Somewhere in Time and Hell House as well as classic Twilight Zone teleplays, has such a command of his craft that reading this book is pure pleasure. The simple writing style brings to mind Hemingway. "It was a Wednesday night and there were movies down in the lodge so I sent my boys there and stayed in the cabin, packing my trunk." Occasionally, Matheson waxes poetic: "I lay there staring at the wall, feeling my heart thud slowly in my chest like the fist of a dying man on the wall of his prison." Readers will find in Matheson's book a deeply engaging story with a clear writing style that is a pleasure to read.
From a startling voice in fiction comes a savagely written thriller of greed, ambition . . . and terror. Alan White is a hot young writer-producer looking for the one megahit every Hollywood writer dreams about. He thinks he's found it with a new TV show called The Mercenary. The network has never seen anything like it. Sex. Violence. Nudity. This time they're taking it to the max and the Nielsen ratings are shooting through the roof. Alan couldn't be happier. Until the morning's headlines start to read like a rerun of last night's episode. Until The Mercenary begins to take on a terrifying life of its own. Until it becomes chillingly clear that Alan must cancel his creation--before it cancels him.
From David Weber to David Feintuch to David Drake, military writers have exploded into the science fiction scene and continue to leave their marks. Now, bestselling Hammer's Slammers creator David Drake pays homage to his own sub-genre by gathering 10 classic takes of men at arms by SF Greats, including Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, Richard C. Matheson, Gene Wolfe, Keith Laumer and David Drake himself.
In 1982, before Matheson had fully achieved the cult-and-grandmaster status that he enjoys today, Playboy Press published a version of his erotic ghost story that was so severely edited that Matheson took his name off the book and instead published it under the name Logan Swanson. In this restored version of the original manuscript, David and Ellen Cooper's 21-year-old marriage is nearing the rocks, so they decide to leave Los Angeles for a honeymoon and go to Long Island. Soon after they arrive at their beach cottage, a strange woman, Marianna, appears to David, and he is immediately entranced. Matheson adeptly explores David's growing fear and guilt, which becomes intensified after he and Marianna make love in a secret room in the house. Although Marianna is portrayed as an "earthbound spirit" (a ghost who rejects the afterlife, appears real to all senses, believes she is alive, and through psychic attack, sucks life from the living) she's really more or less a succubus, gussied up in Casper the friendly ghost clothing. With each graphically detailed sexual rendezvous, Marianna pushes David to deeper levels of obsession, loss of will and irrationality. The story reaches an even higher pitch as the evil ghost begins to threaten Ellen, injecting some excellent suspense into unabashed pathos and outright titillation.
Hunger and Thirst is Richard Matheson's first and until now previously unpublished novel, written fifty-plus years ago when Matheson was only twenty-three-years old. Matheson's agent told him it was unpublishable due to its length and so to that end, Matheson put the manuscript in a drawer and left for California where his writing career changed dramatically. The action in Hunger and Thirst centers around Erick, who lies paralyzed on his bed after being shot during a botched bank robbery. As he lies there, Erick contemplates the mess that his life has become and holds out hope to be saved.
He's the last man on Earth. Every night vampires surround his house, screaming obscenities, trying to get in...
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH IS NOT ALONE. Robert Neville may well be the only survivor of an incurable plague that has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him. By day, he scavenges for food and supplies, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But all the while the infected lurk in the shadows, watching his every move, waiting for him to make a mistake. . . . Along with 10 short stories of horor both psychological and comic, including Buried Talents, The Near Departed, Prey, The Witch War, Dance of the Dead, Dress of White Silk, Mad House, The Funeral, From Shadowed Places, and Person to Person.
The work The Link began as a 557-page outline that Richard Matheson wrote for a proposed twenty-hour ABC mini-series in the late 1970s. The ABC executives asked Matheson to shorten the series into seven hours but after Matheson had written three hours of the series, the two parted company. Matheson's original vision could not be condensed without destroying the essence of the plot and characters. Here in The Link is the original outline, in narrative form, in publication for the first time. The story follows Robert Allright as he explores his own demons as well as those of psychics past as he also struggles to decipher his father's dying wish to explore an archeological dig in Arizona. Allright's only clue is the mystifying crystal that his father believes is the key to a great discovery.
Few of Richard Matheson's readers know that he had hopes for writing popular music. At a very early age, Matheson taught himself how to write sheet music, but his family could not afford art supplies and so he had to give up composition. But music never left his mind and when Matheson found a creative new outlet through his writing (cheaper than music, requiring only a pencil and paper), he quickly began composing both prose stories as well as poetry. He picked up music composition again at the age of seventeen, adding music to his poems. Here in Lyrics are the compositions that Matheson created, in publication for the very first time.
Prolific screenwriter and genre novelist Richard Matheson has long maintained an interest in all matters relating to parapsychology, telepathy, ESP and other paranormal activity. His brief and elegantly printed new volume amounts to a lightly fictionalized history as well as quick, evocative episodes of paranormal activity from Greek antiquity all the way through renowned American psychic Edgar Cayce. Most of the episodes in this book depict the famous seers, mediums and performers of the nineteenth-century, whose feats Matheson clearly admires. Margaret and Kate Fox, aged ten and seven, in 1848 convinced their parents and many other Americans that they were in touch with ghosts in a haunted house. (Matheson notes that the adult Margaret recanted, explaining how she herself produced the ghosts' mysterious rapping noises: he believes the recantation fake, arranged by the sisters' enemies.) Civil War-era medium Nettie Colburn instructed President Lincoln to visit his troops; Matheson thinks she channeled the deceased statesman Daniel Webster. New England mediums "Mrs. Leonard and Mrs. Piper" underwent elaborate tests in an effort to prove that their psychic connections were in fact genuine; William James, for one, was impressed. Harry Houdini used his great stage-magic to unmask a bevy of psychic frauds; Matheson describes some, then discusses what he believes are genuine paranormal experiences that are linked to Houdini. Matheson's afterword repeats his confident claims that the powers he describes are very real and he pleads for a serious study of them. Fans of parapsychology or of Matheson's other works should enjoy this lively exploration of great topics that inform the genre and have become legendary.
In Now You See It, the prolific master of suspense and screenwriting (I Am Legend; The Incredible Shrinking Man) delivers a knock-out tale the likes of which have not been seen since Henry Clouzot's devlilish thriller Diabolique. Some years ago, the Great Delacorte, a famed stage magician, came down with a stroke that left him in a vegetative state, able to move only his eyes. The entire action of the novel is witnessed through these eyes as Delacorte sits in the Magic Room of his country estate, a room custom-tailored to display stage illusions. Delacorte's son, Max, has taken his name and place as an illusionist in every effort to replace his father. Max is supported by his wife Cassandra and her amazingly identical lookalike younger brother Brian. But for the past year, Cassandra has been poisoning Max's food with arsenic and a sleeping pill. She wants the act all for herself--but Max has his own ideas, and his revenge is the big dish that Matheson sets before us in this dazzler that offers top-flight fun!
Billjohn Finley, a young, honest Indian agent, forged an uneasy truce between the US. Government and a band of Apache in southwest Arizona. But when two white men turn up dead, the angry townsfolk of Picture City think the Apache have broken the treaty. Yet Finley knows the Apache chief to be a man of his word. Someone else must be responsible for the deaths, and Finley's got a good idea where to look... There's a tall, dark stranger in town, and he rode in wearing the dead men's clothes.
An ordinary suburban man is able to read the minds of his neighbors and is haunted by the apparition of a mysterious woman.
What happens after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an accident cut his life short. In the afterlife, Chris learns that his wife is in danger herself, and he risks his soul to save her.
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