A long time ago, when I was studying third year Japanese, I was translating a short story that itself was a translation from English. The story itself was quite good, but I was not sure what the name of the author was in Roman characters. My tutor stared at me in disbelief – how could I not recognize the great Richard Matheson?
How indeed? Matheson was a giant of genre literature. The problem was that I didn’t watch television. Most people who have watched television know of Matheson through his ingenious plots, such as through one of his 14 Twilight Zone episodes (including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”) or his “Enemy Within” Star Trek episode.
Matheson died yesterday at age 87.
Perhaps, because of the way I originally encountered Matheson, I particularly love his short stories — some of Matheson’s novels, such as Hell House are a bit overwrought, but his short stories strike just the right balance.
Fortunately, Matheson’s short stories have been collected into an inexpensive three volume set (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3). Anyone who enjoys fantastic fiction will find much to admire in these stories.