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Duel : terror stories by Richard Matheson
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Duel : terror stories

by Richard Matheson

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Fun read. Matheson is no literary genius, but it's a rousing collection of sci fi stories. Recommended for people who enjoy King's non-horror stuff, Bradbury, et al. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
I think it's a bad sign when I feel like my own rating is unfair to the book. =

The first book of Matheson's that I had ever read was [b:I Am Legend|547094|I Am Legend (And Other Stories)|Richard Matheson|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51+zXgYbuHL._SL75_.jpg|2223519], which to this day is still my favorite. The stories in that book were wonderful, and quite a few have stayed with me to this day. Then I read [b:What Dreams May Come|33555|What Dreams May Come|Richard Matheson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1168448241s/33555.jpg|33617], and while I didn't necessarily agree with the ideological aspect, the writing was great. So, coming into this book, I had pretty high expectations, and I feel like I was let down, a little.

These stories are definitely more science fiction than horror, which was another little let down. Don't get me wrong, I love science fiction too, but I was hoping for horror, and I didn't really get it.

That being said, the stories here were mostly good, with some that rose a bit higher, and some that faltered. The only one that just did not work for me at all was "When The Waker Sleeps". This one was written in second person narrative, and you tried and tried to get into the story, but no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't get past the personification of "you" being a brown-haired male wearing a tunic and tights getting into a car to go fight off some thing that was supposedly endangering your machines. Yeah. Really.
I think this one was probably an experiment for Matheson... Second person narrative is extremely difficult to do right, even by someone as talented as Matheson is. Tried three times, then I moved on.

If I had to choose a favorite, I would probably have to pick either "Return" or "One For The Books". Oddly enough, both of these are halves of two story related sets. "Return" and "F---" both featured the same main character and same theme, although they are very different stories themselves. "Trespass" and "One For The Books" have the same theme and... "purpose" I guess you could say, although there is nothing else similar in the stories at all.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'd have to add "The Test" to my list of favorites. This is a kind of "Death Panel" story as elderly people are given a set of memory, aptitude, physical and mental tests in order to determine whether they are high-functioning enough to be allowed to live another 5 years until the next test. It deals with the sociological issues that might arise from that kind of situation, or the lack thereof. It could be quite prophetic, you never know.

"Born of Man and Woman" is rather short, and a little bit haunting. There are no real details given, but from what we're able to deduce from the narration, our narrator lives a cruel existence. I found it to be very sad, and actually wished that the story was longer so that I could understand better. I felt like this one was rushed, not fully fleshed out. But, maybe that was on purpose. Our narrator only told what they knew, little though it may be.

"Brother to the Machine" was an interesting one, and was kind of similar to "Steel" (which I believe was made into a Twilight Zone episode), but I am not sure if they are actually related. Could be. "Brother" is about a robot who feels human, and examines what humanity really is.

I'm not going to go into all of the stories. I liked most of them, but I never really felt compelled to read this one as I felt compelled to read other Matheson, and other authors' works. I would definitely recommend it to science fiction fans, as Matheson is a must-read, in my opinion, but this is not his best, again in my opinion. ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
This is a terrific collection of Matheson’s short stories from the 1950s. More sci-fi than horror, they still wallop a stiff punch of weird. Some of the premises are dated (1950’s aliens, space ships, nuclear war, etc), but Matheson is amazing at delivering the pulpy paranoia and he is a master of twist endings. My favorite is The Last Day, a horrific tale of returning home before the world is destroyed. Of course, the title story Duel is a classic and worth the admission alone. Other notable tales are Return, Shipshape Home, Death Ship, Being, and Steel. If you’re a fan of stories similar to the original Twilight Zone (indeed, some of these tales were made into episodes), then this is a perfect collection. ( )
  DrakeVaughn | Dec 24, 2012 |
I loved I am Legend, which was an amazing twist on the vampire genre and had an ending that wasn't happy, per se, but had me grinning from ear to ear. This collection of short stories, however, was not so great. At best I will say they were okay. Most of the stories were written in the late fifties through the sixties, which explains the old fashioned style of the stories, most particularly the reliance on withholding important information to deliver a "surprise," which is not so surprising because you're looking for it. The stories rely heavily on idea, rather than character, which is not so much my cup of tea.

The title story, "Duel," is interesting because it was made into Stephen Spielburg's first film of the same title. The story itself, about a saleman driving cross country and getting into a life threatening situation with a nameless truck driver, was just okay. I haven't seen the movie, but I am curious about and want to see it so I can make the comparison with the story.

"Return" was the first story in the collection I really enjoyed. It involves time travel, and a man who desperately wants to return to his own time and his pregnant wife. The twist ending works here, because of its emotional impact (as opposed to intellectual impact).

"Lover When You're Near Me" was a disturbing tale about a man managing work on an alien planet. An alien woman is assigned to help him as a kind of maid. She communicates via telepathy and becomes like a grasping leech, trying to dominate the man's mind and make him her lover. While this story is sufficiently disturbing to be entertaining, one of the most disturbing aspects of the story for me was not what happens to the poor man, so much as it's the way the female aliens have turned the men of their planet into mindless drones. The female aliens are seen as grasping, desperate, manipulative, man-devourers, sucking out a man's freewill to make them theirs. And while these are alien women, there is no doubt that this is a not so subtle commentary on women in general, which I find unsettling.

"SRL AD" was a funny story about answering personal ads from aliens. It made me smile.

"The Last Day" was great. It was a bitter sweet story of returning hom before the end of the world.

The last story in the book, "Steel," was kind of fun and reminded me a bit of the movie "Real Steel," mostly because they both have fighting robots with an owner desperately trying to make just a tiny bit of money from whatever fights he can. The similarities story and movie end there, however.

There were many other stories interspersed with the ones I mentioned, and none of them stood out in my mind for particular note. I am not put off Matheson, however. I think I just shy away from his short stories and stick to his longer works. I'm rather interested to read Hell House, or What Dreams May Come, or A Stir of Echoes, for example. ( )
  andreablythe | Dec 18, 2012 |
A Collection of short stories by the writer of “I Am Legend,” this book is filled with stories that chill and make you think. Richard Matheson has a vivid Imagination. ( )
  burningtodd | Jan 19, 2010 |
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Duel (1971IMDb)
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Ray Bradbury, a mentor, guide, and inspiration to me for more than fifty years.
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Disambiguation notice
Same table of contents as Steel and Other Stories (2011)
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Book description
Contents:

Duel
Third From the Sun
When the Waker Sleeps
Born of Man and Woman
Return
Brother to the Machine
F--
Lover When You're Near Me
Shipshape Home
Srl Ad
Death Ship
The Last Day
Little Girl Lost
Trespass
Being
The Test
One for the Books
Steel
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312878265, Paperback)

Remember that murderous semi chasing Dennis Weaver down a lonely stretch of desert highway?

Duel, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed first film, was adapted by Richard Matheson from his unforgettable story of the same name.

But "Duel" is only one of the classic suspense tales in this outstanding collection of stories by the Grand Master of Horror, which also contains Matheson's legendary first story, "Born of Man and Woman," as well as several stunning shockers that inspired memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone, including "Little Girl Lost," "Steel," and "Third from the Sun."

Like Matheson's previous collection, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, this collection is an indispensable treasure trove of terror from the New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:59 -0400)

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