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The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard…

The Incredible Shrinking Man

by Richard Matheson

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The titular novella is quite memorable, and a bit of a shock for the time it was written in. I've read about the story a fair bit prior to actually reading it, though in truth the analyses that I read were a bit unnecessary. Themes of emasculation and what makes a man a man run high, though the sheer sexuality of the story was a bit shocking given the time it was written. Parts of it were genuinely unnerving (i.e. the car ride, the way his wife reacted to him making a move on her, the climb to the top of the fridge, the daughter), the black widow fight is naturally wonderful and the descriptions that followed. A lot of the dialogue felt a bit forced (notably the circus scene) but I was willing to forgive that for the mere fact the story was interesting. What happens when you reach 0 inches, right?

The rest of the stories in the collection were decent to forgettable. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is naturally a classic. Mantage has stuck with me to a certain degree, and felt a bit like an early attempt at slipstream. Shoofly was all right, though it lost its momentum a bit quickly. For the most part I think I was a bit bored just because so many of these themes have been explored better by other authors.

It's easy to see the influence that [a: Richard Matheson|8726|Richard Matheson|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1200467797p2/8726.jpg] had on [a: Stephen King|3389|Stephen King|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1362814142p2/3389.jpg]. Again, though, I feel that [a: Stephen King|3389|Stephen King|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1362814142p2/3389.jpg] has explored similar themes within his work in a much more memorable way.
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  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Through exposure to a chance confluence of insecticide and radiation, Scott Carey is shrinking, inch by inch, day by day, with no end in sight. A huge disappointment, this science fiction novella by Richard Matheson exhibits many flaws. The story is poorly constructed, continuously jumping forward and back during Scott’s ordeal. A linear sequencing clearly would have been the much more effective technique to convey the impact of the advancing physical and psychological challenges he faces. In addition, none of Scott’s backstory is presented; the book begins with the radiation exposure, without giving any sense of his life or personality before that fateful day. We therefore see him only in the context of his bizarre circumstance, and not a fully developed character; in fact, all of the characters are flat and underdeveloped. Matheson’s writing is highly melodramatic, and the dialogue is stilted and reminiscent of grating soap opera. There are numerous long-winded and oddly tedious episodes in which Scott battles a spider, and others wherein he fends off a cat, a child predator, and neighborhood bullies. Far more compelling, however, are the occasional snippets of introspection when Scott considers his emotions (fear, anger, despair, frustration), as well as his fading masculinity. ( )
  ghr4 | Jul 16, 2016 |
The Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson **

I am partial to the odd bit of sci-fi, especially from the golden era of the 50’s to 70’s. So when I came across this book I thought I would give it try. The storyline is simple; a man (Scott Carey) gets sprayed with some sort of radioactive material and slowly but surely begins to shrink. The book explores his changing relationship with his friends and family, and also the difficulties he encounters being a tiny man in a very grown up world.

Written in mostly alternate chapters that change from his modern day struggle with a spider that wants to turn him into lunch, and a timeline to the present day from when he first makes the shocking discovery. Shrinking Man is as much a novel of how a man copes when his masculinity becomes threatened as it is sci-fi. We see how his perception of other people’s actions cause him to second guess every little detail of his life, what could be the simplest gesture of goodwill from his wife becomes misconstrued by his tortured mind into something sinister or an action of pity. Couple this with the continual life or death hunt with the spider and you have the premise of what could be a really gripping novel.

I don’t know why, but for me it just fell kind of flat. There are many reviews that cannot wait to tell you how brilliant this book was, yet I found myself bored at regular intervals. The main character is very hard to empathise with, and more than once I just wished the spider would gobble him up and end both his torment and my own. The action scenes were tepid and after reading through a few dozen pages of Scott Carey’s philosophising the book would really have benefitted from some sort of jump start to provide a contrast. I suppose that at 60 years old it is some testament that it is still being read and reviewed on a regular basis and it is worth a try, I just didn’t enjoy it. ( )
  Bridgey | Jul 1, 2016 |
The Incredible Shrinking Man: A beautiful psychological study of masculinity

Every day Scott Carey is getting shorter by 1/7 of an inch. The doctors have figured out why — he was exposed to a combination of insecticide and radioactivity — but so far they have not been able to make him stop shrinking. Now Scott is only one inch tall and he is trapped in the cellar of his family’s rented home with a stale piece of bread, an out-of-reach box of crackers, a sponge, a garden hose, a water heater, and a black widow spider. And in seven more days, he’ll be gone.

Well, that’s enough to make many readers want to hear Scott’s story. How did he get in the cellar? Why didn’t he prepare for this since he had plenty of time? Where is his wife and daughter? Will the therapies reverse the shrinkage? Will the spider get him?

Readers who are expecting a horror-adventure story will be pleased with Richard Matheson’s ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-incredible-shrinking-man/ ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Mathesonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is a collection of the following stories: The Incredible Shrinking Man; Nightmare at 20,000 Feet; The Test; The Holiday Man; Mantage; The Distributor; By Appointment Only; Button, Button; Duel; Shoofly.

Please do not combine with different collections or with the stand-alone novel.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312856644, Paperback)

Some people will remember The Incredible Shrinking Man as a movie with great special effects and a surprisingly good script, given the ridiculous title. Matheson's classic novella is the reason for that. As Scott Carey -- husband, father, and all-around decent guy -- mysteriously shrinks, he faces unimagined horrors at every step, up to the story's surprising resolution. It's packaged here with a number of Matheson's other classic stories, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which became a popular Twilight Zone episode, and "Duel," which was turned into a movie by a very young Steven Spielberg.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)

Inch by inch, day by day, Scott Carey is getting smaller. Once an unremarkable husband and father, Scott finds himself shrinking with no end in sight. His wife and family turn into unreachable giants, the family cat becomes a predatory menace, and Scott must struggle to survive in a world that seems to be growing ever larger and more perilous - until he faces the ultimate limits of fear and existence.… (more)

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