Jun 242013
 

Richard Matheson 1926-2013

Many of us in Liquorature have a bit of a soft spot for the more macabre and speculative literary outings on offer.  And of all the twisted individuals lurking among the spectral trees alongside this dark and twisted stretch of highway, one of the most interesting has always been author Richard Matheson.  Richard was responsible for some brilliant novels and countless incredible short stories.  Even those who may not have read his tales, will likely recognize his work from episodes of The Twilight Zone he penned.

I’m sad to say that today Richard Matheson, author of What Dreams May Come, I Am Legend, The Shrinking Man and many more, passed away.  He was 87.

Thanks for all your words, Richard.  Rest in peace.

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– Curt

May 042010
 

It is no secret that I am an unabashed fanboi.  Let’s face it…whether you are a fan of the macabre or not…the man can write.  I own copies of all of King’s major books…go out of my way to collect his short stories when they appear in other sources…collect the comics…and constantly watch for news on the man and his writings.

King’s life is oftentimes as fascinating as his his novels.  Though he has yet to publish his memoirs in that bulky tome I’ve been waiting for, he has allowed insights into his life in many ways.  ‘Danse Macabre’ and ‘On Writing’ are two of the better examples of this.  King also provides brilliant forewards to his novels, and juicy tidbits accompany his short story anthologies.  Though the man appreciates his privacy, his forays into the spotlight are gems.  For those with less interest in the Wizard behind the curtain than the land he rules…

The volume of work King has turned out is astounding.  The thing that makes him so special in the contemporary canon is that the quality of his writing never seems to waver.  We all have our favorites of course, but even those that didn’t ring as loud for me as others still soar miles above the competition.

King’s strength has always been his characters.  Recent years have shown a tendency towards even deeper character-driven tales, though never at the expense of the chills from which his reputation was derived.  Early novels had a more…visceral and gritty approach.  Many of my favorites (‘Salem’s Lot’, ‘The Stand’, ‘Pet Semetary’) are from this era.  The short stories King gave us from this time are bloody brilliant as well.  Recent years have given us a mixed bag of mystery (‘The Colorado Kid’), zombie (‘Cell’), homage (‘Blaze’ – under the Bachman name) and classic King (‘Duma Key’).

The lesson?  Expect the unexpected.

…and really…how can you not love a guy who is himself a musician and music lover?

As one of our most prolific and influential contemporary authors (and an icon across several genres), I thought it only fitting to open up some dialogue on Stephen King.  Until someone picks one of his books for the club, this will be my outlet.

My King collection:

Current King:

‘Just After Sunset’ (2008) – Latest short story collection.

‘Under The Dome’ (2009) – Most recent doorstopper at >1000 pages.

‘Blockade Billy’ (2010) – A limited run.

‘Full Dark, No Stars’ (2010) – Four King novellas (a la ‘Four Past Midnight’ or ‘Different Seasons’)