Available only in e-book format, Backteria and Other Improbable Tales is a brand new collection of short tales of terror and the unknown from master storyteller Richard Matheson. In the title story, published here for the first time, a researcher encounters an exotic new strain of virus that causes the infected person to disappear. Curiosity leads the doctor on a path of discovery which takes him deep into his own personal history and suggests the age-old warning: Be careful what you wish for.
In "Getting Together", a case of mistaken identity leads to a darkly farcical story of marriage, murder, and a love that knows no bounds. The quietly threatening "Haircut" shows how a routine trim becomes a dark and terrifying experience when a barber is confronted with a sick customer who seems to him otherworldly.
In this collection of stories Matheson clearly demonstrates once again why Ray Bradbury called him "one of the most important writers of the twentieth century" and Stephen King named him as "the author who influenced me most as a writer."
Prolific screenwriter and genre novelist Richard Matheson has long maintained an interest in all matters relating to parapsychology, telepathy, ESP and other paranormal activity. His brief and elegantly printed new volume amounts to a lightly fictionalized history as well as quick, evocative episodes of paranormal activity from Greek antiquity all the way through renowned American psychic Edgar Cayce.
Most of the episodes in this book depict the famous seers, mediums and performers of the nineteenth-century, whose feats Matheson clearly admires. Margaret and Kate Fox, aged ten and seven, in 1848 convinced their parents and many other Americans that they were in touch with ghosts in a haunted house. (Matheson notes that the adult Margaret recanted, explaining how she herself produced the ghosts’ mysterious rapping noises: he believes the recantation fake, arranged by the sisters’ enemies.)
Civil War-era medium Nettie Colburn instructed President Lincoln to visit his troops; Matheson thinks she channeled the deceased statesman Daniel Webster. New England mediums "Mrs. Leonard and Mrs. Piper" underwent elaborate tests in an effort to prove that their psychic connections were in fact genuine; William James, for one, was impressed. Harry Houdini used his great stage-magic to unmask a bevy of psychic frauds; Matheson describes some, then discusses what he believes are genuine paranormal experiences that are linked to Houdini.
Matheson’s afterword repeats his confident claims that the powers he describes are very real and he pleads for a serious study of them. Fans of parapsychology or of Matheson’s other works should enjoy this lively exploration of great topics that inform the genre and have become legendary.
In the early hours of a Sunday morning, lunatic pianist Vincent Radin escapes from an insane asylum and sets out on a revenge-fueled rampage. His aim is to find the two people who have hurt him most—his erstwhile manager and his lover’s new husband—and end their lives.
The second of Richard Matheson’s published novels, this book demonstrates the skill in pacing, plot, and suspense that characterize his later work. This lurid thriller tells the story of a man who will stop at nothing to enact his revenge—and the people who get caught in the crossfire—in spare, relentless prose that’s impossible to put down.
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