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Book Talk 37: Darker Places

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The book: Darker Places-Richard Matheson

I think I have a love/hate relationship with this book, which was a signed (!) and limited (of 500) edition I got from the library, featuring, I guess, some of Richard Matheson's earliest stories that he's too embarrassed to publish elsewhere, or even publish in an easily accessable manner.

Richard Matheson, who's sort of the pioneer of contemporary horror fiction, with a couple of short stories that shared far too many similar qualities for comfort, and who wrote these when he was young and hoping to scare readers, did not really reach that "scaring readers" stage for me. They're good stories, with all the basic horror tale elements, but each one felt a little lacking in something. It might be that most of these has a rather predictable plot/ending, but horror stories often share that flaw (my own insignifigant creations included).

I like the book since it gives me an idea of Richard Matheson's early workings, and these are fun, short little reads, but if I treated the content as a regular horror short story comp, then I wouldn't find much good in it.

Although the screen play included (for "The Creature") held my attention the whole way through, it was such a perfectly cliched plot that I wondered if I read the original novel, therefore justifying why I seem to be able to see everything that comes next. Even without the original, if I saw this movie produced I'd probably be crying halfway through due to the utterly predictablility of everything. Richard Matheson is a fantastic writer, but this collection really cannot him justice, and I guess it's just as well that this is a limited edition that most will not read.



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