Richard Matheson passed away Sunday. We lost a good one. The 1958 Hugo Award winner might be one of the few people in the world to find such success in books, television, and film. At thirty-seven years old he released his first story in the long running Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he moved to California in 1951 and took to writing short stories and books.
His productivity was only matched by his flexibility. It would be trite to peg Matheson as a science fiction or horror writer. He could script out television like few others, crafting out the reputation of the early sixties Twilight Zone. A visual, intense wording inspired more than a few filmmakers. So his work is everywhere. So much work even his pen names agent is busy. A real creative force.
I find it best to enjoy the vast multimedia fields that surround the man. But he could really write. I totally dig “Beardless Warriors,” a cool story about 19 year olds on the front line in Germany. And then there’s the pulpy deliciousness of Somewhere in Time. Steel is cool as all hell, a great episode of the Twilight Zone that became a recent motion picture. And The Omega Man makes me love Charlton Heston. The movie is a great example of how his infamous story, I Am Legend, can be interpreted. That classic of 20th century horror trips me out each time I read it. It’s one of those books I always come back to.
But really, it’s all quality entertainment. A crying sham to lose the man. But few men could create so much crafted, thought-provoking fun for us all to enjoy.