R.I.P., Richard Matheson

I first heard about Richard Matheson back in the 60’s, when I watched a Saturday afternoon TV showing of The Incredible Shrinking Man. I was ten or so, and the cat scared me to death, ditto the spider. But, that ending…I was blown away, as any ten year old is capable of being blown away, by the idea that a man was going to enter eternity from the other end, from the smallest of gateways. I wondered if Robert Carey was still shrinking, still wandering the particleverse.

For some reason, Richard Matheson’s name stuck with me from the credits, and it was always a delight ever after to be watching a Twilight Zone episode and see his name there, or know that the excellent beatnicky movie The Last Man on Earth was actually I Am Legend, which I got around to reading when I was a teenager and found superior to the film and its subsequent versions, The Omega Man (although it was pretty cool) and that last dreadful one with Will Smith. Seemed like his name was showing up at least once a week on something or other, from Have Gun Will Travel  to other westerns.

So I read his anthologies when I came across them, adding them to the stack of books I collected every ten days or so from the library. He was part of a group of writers I always read, like Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, Clifford Simak, pretty much the founding fathers of what we now call speculative fiction. Well, my founding fathers, at any rate.

Gone now, just like that little thrill of possibility stories like his provided me back then.

Good journey, Richard.

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