Today we'd like to mark the deeply sad news that Richard Matheson has passed away at the age of eighty-seven. It was a real shock to get the news and it's been amazing to see so many tributes to his work. There's a wonderful piece here in the Telegraph on this master of modern genre writing, there's a piece from the BBC here and he will be so very much missed. Further tributes are listed below. Richard Matheson has had an incredibly rich career full of high points and has influenced Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and many more.
As the Telegraph piece references, his best-known work is probably I am Legend - adapted no less than three times from book to film. And the most recent of these adaptions was the 2007 version starring Will Smith. A number of his other books were also made into films including his 1958 novel A Stir of Echoes, This is very poignant for us, as we are reissuing A Stir of Echoes in October this year. This was designed to celebrate its 55th anniversary of publication, and also to recognize the fact that Richard Matheson was to be an honorary guest of honour (in absentia) at this year's World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. As the organizers said earlier this year, this was 'to celebrate his estimable contributions to our genre'. However, we had thought that Matheson would have been able to enjoy seeing his work continuing to entertain, as his books and stories have an incredible timeless quality that keep them relevant to today's readers.
Richard Matheson's name will be front of mind today and our thoughts are with this family and friends. He'll also be very much in people's thoughts at the World Fantasy Convention later this year - and I'll finish with just a few more of those career highlights and praise to commemorate his wonderful work:
- Richard Matheson was a huge talent, a New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter, and his novels included I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man and many, many others. Click here for a full bibliography.
- Stephen King has acknowledged Richard Matheson as a creative influence and his novel Cell is dedicated to Matheson.
- Dean Koontz has said ‘His stories not only entertain, but touch the mind and heart’
- In 2009 Anne Rice stated that when she was a child, Matheson's short story A Dress of White Silk was a prime early influence on her interest in vampires and fantasy fiction.
- Matheson was given the title Grand Master of Horror and was also winner of a Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. Matheson also won the Edgar, the Hugo, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards.
PRAISE FOR RICHARD MATHESON
‘One of those who have moved imaginative fiction from the sidelines into the literary mainstream’
'Richard Matheson is the author who influenced me the most as a writer'
‘His stories not only entertain, but touch the mind and heart’
‘Matheson inspires, it’s as simple as that’