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Paperback Button, Button: Uncanny Stories Book

ISBN: 0765312573

ISBN13: 9780765312570

Button, Button: Uncanny Stories

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Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This collection of stories features "Button, Button," the basis for the major motion picture, "The Box," starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.

Button, Button: Uncanny Stories contains a number of tales that were also adapted for television, as well as a new introduction by Richard Matheson himself.

What if every time you pushed a button you received $50,000...but someone you didn't know died? Would you still...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Good Stories, But No Stand Outs

Richard Matheson is a writer who has had a tremendous impact upon pop culture. Several of his stories were adapted into some of the best TWILIGHT ZONE episodes ever, Stephen Spielberg's first major directing project was a tv film based upon one of his stories, there have been numerous movies made based upon his novels and stories, and Stephen King has stated that Matheson is one of his creative influences. Yet, it wasn't until the past couple years that I read my first Matheson story ("I Am Legend"). Interest in Matheson seems to be picking up again and another film, THE BOX, based upon one of his stories, "Button, Button" was released in the fall of 2009. That short story has been out of print for awhile and when I saw that it was included in this new anthology of old Matheson works, I decided to pick up a copy of THE BOX. Most of the stories are pretty good and that quality, with a few exceptions, is pretty consistent throughout the collection. However, unlike other Matheson collections I have read or heard of, there really isn't one break-out story. The book includes the following stories. "Button, Button"-a strange package arrives at a couple's homes with a message that a man will be there to visit them later about the package. The package is simply a button. The couple later learns that if they push the button, they will receive a large sum of money but someone they don't know will die as a result. The husband has no interest, but the wife is curious and they could really use the money. Perhaps people, even those as close as a husband and wife, don't know each other as well as they think. "Girl of My Dreams"-a woman has the horrible ability of being able to see the future deaths of people. The woman wants to use her "gift" to help others, but her lecherous boyfriend just sees it as a way for them to make money and his ticket to fortune and a better looking woman. "Dying Room Only"-a married couple stop in a service station/diner in a rural town to get a quick bite to eat. They go to use the bathroom. The wife comes out, but the husband never reappears. Thus, begins a tale of mystery and suspense as the wife tries to find out what happened to her husband. This story reminded me of older Wes Craven films (such as the beginning of THE HILLS HAVE EYES). "A Flourish of Strumpets"-in an upscale, conservative neighborhood prostitutes go door to door selling themselves. The husband and wife are appalled but soon discover that they are about the only ones in their neighborhood who don't enjoy having daily visits from different women all selling the same thing. A somewhat humorous story with a warning about allowing oneself to compromise. "No Such Thing as a Vampire"-a vampire story that isn't a vampire story at all, but is a detective story. A woman awakens to find puncture marks on her neck and no matter what she does to protect herself she awakens with the marks every morning. Her husband doesn't believe in vampires and is


This is going to be short. The stories in this book are older, but the great thing that draws many people to their well-written words are the fact that they're not like the stories that we're faced with today, the kind that seem like the reader has read them before, and that is because they have. The main point is that all of these stories are original, and for the most part, brilliant. Their ideas are not that of today's, and their characters are actually moralistic and they do feel the burden of making decisions, as in the title story and "A Flourish Of Strumpets," some do show their age, but doesn't that help reel you in? the characters are real and feel emotion, unlike many characters we read today. Originality.

The short story the movie The Box is based on and more....

I picked up this book, once I realized the movie The Box was based on a short story by Richard Matheson. I wasn't familiar with Richard Matheson, but apparently, Stephen King was once quoted as saying that he is the author who influenced him the most as a writer, so I figured I would give him a try. I read the first story, which the movie, The Box is based on called Button, Button and loved it. It is a tale of ethics vs. greed as a married couple possesses a device in which each time they press a button they receive $50,000, but a stranger dies. The other short stories in the book are all excellent and many have a Twilight Zone feel to them. I highly recommend this book.

An Excellent Offering of Matheson Stories

Though not as strong a collection as either of the previous two volumes published by Tor, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Duel", "Button, Button" is a slim volume that offers quality throughout and, in some places, true greatness. Matheson experiments stylistically more in this collection than in the other two. The best stories are those that he does not attempt to experiment with, or, in other words, those keeping with Matheson's trademarked style of cinematic minimalism applied to a dark fantasy story, or suspense story, constructed in the realist manner. The title story is certainly one of the finer offerings in the collection. It is written almost as a parable, or a fable, with the lines of distinctions marking not the characters but the action and the consequences of those actions. "Girl of My Dreams" and "Dying Room Only" are crime/suspense stories, the former containing fantasy elements, that are driven by action and dialogue to a rational conclusion. "Girl of My Dreams" concern a battle between the mental and the physical and shows how fear and uncertainty can easily usurp the power of physical strength. "A Flourish of Strumpets" is a darkly humorous story that is pervaded by an invasive atmosphere that underlies the funny moments in the story, including the twist ending, with a vision of human frailty. "No Such Thing As a Vampire" is a story dealing not only of vampires (of the real variety) but with revenge, myth, belief, and the conductive power of these intertwined. "Pattern for Survival" is a short piece with a surprisingly unexpected cohesiveness. "Mute" is a darkly brooding commentary on the frailty of genius, the corruptible innocence of a child, and the undeserving punishment inflicted upon the weak and helpless by those stronger yet mentally and emotionally inferior. "The Creeping Terror" is a long, boring, experimental piece that aims to be satirical and comes off as pointless, dated, and unoriginal. "Shock Wave," however, is original, suspenseful, and a jolt to the senses. "Clothes Make the Man" is a story that plays solely off its twist ending but since the story is short and the twist a satisfying one, it is pulled off exceptionally. "The Jazz Machine" is an atypical prose poem that is actually quite a good story if the style doesn't weigh you down too much. "Tis the Season to Be Jelly" is a baffling stylistic piece of bizarre fantasy, and not very satisfying.

superb anthology

The twelve stories that make up this collection were mostly written in the 1950s and 1960s (the newest is 1970) but continue to be timely as they showcase a strong suspense horror author who remains renowned for his Twilight Zone twists affirmed by this anthology. The title story is a terrific tale of ethics vs. greed as a married couple possesses a device in which each time they press a button they receive $50,000, but a stranger dies. "Girl of My Dreams" stars a rat who abuses his naive girlfriend's psychic gift to make money; greed is one of the deadly sins in the Matheson world while the loss of innocence ("Mute") is even deadlier. "No Such Thing as a Vampire" feels very Twilight Zone like. This superb anthology is top rate as the short stories are filled with everyday people with moral choices between avarice and ethics involved in scenarios beyond their normal existence; any moment Rod Serling will inform the audience they entered a world filled with imagination and much more. Harriet Klausner
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