Book Review: Third From the Sun

Third From The Sun

You may remember Richard Matheson from such films as “The Last Man on Earth,” “The Omega Man,” and “I Am Legend.”  Each is adapted from his fantastic, depressing, and profoundly influential novel I Am Legend.  Of course, he also penned several episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and countless other TV shows and films.  The man worked.  He also wrote a lot of short stories, thirteen of which are contained in this volume.

These stories range from rocket ships to family tensions.  Several stories are, like short stories written by so many writers, about being a writer.  The story ‘F—’ was not about what I thought it would be.  It’s also fun to note that the story ‘The Traveller’ is a sort of sequel to ‘F—.”  The story ‘Lover When You’re Near Me’ is deeply unsettling.

Matheson always struck me as a grim and pessimistic author.  It is nice that a few of these stories have a breath of levity and humor, though not too much of one.  They are of an era, with a lot of that ‘men lost in a world they perceive as passing them by’ kind of thing a lot of the more fearful Weird Tales of the 40s through the 70s got into.

This was a nice, quick read.  Something of a time capsule of mid 20th century stresses and fears.  In that way, it reminded me of reading a bunch of Frank Belknap Long stories a while back.  But Matheson is a much, much better writer.

 

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Third From the Sun

  1. I remember reading Richard Matheson, his short stories are superb. Disappearing Act is possibly one of his most memorable stories for me. Reading him is like reading episodes of the Twilight Zone (given that he was a writer for the show, it makes sense). If you haven’t read it, try reading Duel, it’s probably his best short story imo. More people need to read Richard Matheson.

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