r.i.p. richard matheson


one of the most influential writers (print, TV, movies) of the 20th century, and many have probably never heard of him

fandor’s keyframe obit

When Real Steel was released, Scott Meslow wrote in the Atlantic that “Matheson’s writing lends itself particularly well to contemporary Hollywood because it’s ‘high concept’—which translates, in screenwriting parlance, to ‘easy to pitch.’ At the heart of Matheson’s best tales you’ll find a simple, compelling question, from I Am Legend (‘what if a mass epidemic left a single man alive?’) to ‘Button, Button,’ the short story that became [Richard Kelly’s] The Box (‘would a needy family sacrifice the life of a complete stranger for a massive financial windfall?’).”

“But Matheson was hardly just a Hollywood idea factory,” writes Rob Bricken at io9. “Matheson’s dark, existentialist style influenced science fiction in every medium. His prose was humanist, but it was also bleak and ambiguous in a way that science fiction hadn’t been before, revealing the way the ambiguities of human nature play into stories of the fantastic. Ray Bradbury called him ‘one of the most important writers of the 20th century.’”

some of his credits:

screenplay and source story for Spielberg’s Duel (just saw some of this again yesterday on showtime — still my favorite spielberg movie)

several Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Night Stalker eps

The Incredible Shrinking Man screen play and source story

Somewhere in Time, same

What Dreams May Come, same

Stir of Echoes

ADDENDUM: Figured boing boing would have something on this. here’s a link to cory doctorow’s interview from 2011 (mp3).


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