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The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard…
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The Incredible Shrinking Man (1956)

by Richard Matheson (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: S.F. Masterworks

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6922613,753 (3.8)37
Recently added byjockoflocko, private library, slaven41, ssimon2000
  1. 00
    I Am Legend [collection] by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar in many ways. Each stays in the head of a solitary hero, isolated by unnatural events beyond his control, struggling to hold onto his sanity and his sense of self.
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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

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 The Incredible Shrinking Man because there's plenty of scary excitement. Spiders, cats, and sparrows are monsters (and so are toddlers); the oil burner is a giant tower with an unpredictable roaring flame; the garden hose is a viper; the sand pile is a desert; the repairman is a giant; pins are spears and a spool of thread is a rope. That story by itself is fun and fascinating.

But it's the rest of the story -- the flashbacks, marked with Scott's height as he continues to shrink -- that make The Incredible Shrinking Man such an excellent book. For this story is less about the horror of being physically small than it is about the horror of being physically different and, specifically, about losing manhood. Scott was originally 6'2" and he had a good job and a loving wife and daughter. But as he gradually loses height, he also gradually loses his place as an employee, a husband, a father, and a man. It is this change that is horrifying to watch and made me consider what it means to be a man -- the importance of height, strength, respect, the ability to provide, and even the pitch of the voice. And then a heartbreaking scene at a carnival reminds us that "reality is relative" -- much of how we are perceived (and therefore how we perceive ourselves) depends on our position relative to others.

The Incredible Shrinking Man is so much more than an exciting and well-written horror story -- it's a beautiful psychological study of masculinity and loneliness. I listened to Blackstone Audio's version. It's eight hours long and excellently read by Yuri Rasovsky. I highly recommend this version.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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 |
I searched for 3 years to find this book in used book stores. I was 10 years old when I saw the 1957 movie and was so smitten that I still remember scenes from that movie. They were all there in the book but I hated the way it was written. You started (first page aside) in the middle and flashed forward/backward sometimes within a single long paragraph. There was no continuity though all the pieces were there.

In addition to this story there were a half dozen short stories but they did not appeal to me much. I gave it 3 stars as it is a great story but written as it was in such a broken fashion spoiled it for me otherwise I would have added another star. ( )
  Lynxear | Jan 2, 2014 |
As with "I Am Legend" Matheson does a great job of showing a terrifying scenario in very human terms and dealing with the loneliness inherent to the situation. Only instead of a man facing a horde of vampire zombies, it's a man who shrinks 1/7 of an inch every day until he's practically microscopic. The book switches between Scott's shrinking and his current existence as less than an inch tall in the cellar of his house, where he fights for survival against a fearsome black widow spider. Matheson brings it to live so fully that you'll want to start checking a ruler every morning to make sure it's not happening to you.

That is all. ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matheson, RichardAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hooks, MitchellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First he thought it was a tidal wave.
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Memory was such a worthless thing, really. Nothing it dealt with was attainable. It was concerned with phantom acts and feelings, with all that was uncapturable except in thought.
Responsibility in the jungle world was pared to the bone of basic survival. There were no political connivings necessary, no financial arenas to struggle in, no nerve-knotting races for superior rungs on the social ladder. There was only to be or not to be.
To love someone when there was nothing to be got from that person; that was love.
But to nature there was no zero. Existence went on in endless cycles. It seemed so simple now. He would never disappear, because there was no point of non-existence in the universe.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:44 -0400)

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A radioactive fog causes a man to shrink until he is only two inches tall.

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