Duel: Terror Stories by Richard Matheson
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Duel: Terror Stories by Richard Matheson

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,040 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Remember that murderous semi chasing Dennis Weaver down a lonely stretch of desert highway?

Duel, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed first film, was adapted by Richard Matheson from his unforgettable story of the same name.

But "Duel" is only one of the classic suspense tales in this outstanding collection of stories by the Grand Master of Horror, which also contains Matheson's l...more
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published January 4th 2003 by Tor Books
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Joe
Forget the "Terror Stories..." subtitle on this book. It is primarily a collection of science fiction sories of a distinctly 1950s character. With the exception of the title story, "Duel", which was the seed for Spielberg's first film, it could all be called sci-fi, though in some cases sci-fi of a scary nature. Some are quite charming to read as period pieces that highlight themes popular in science fiction at the time

Many of these may read like old episodes of The Twilight Zone for reasons tha...more
Becky
I think it's a bad sign when I feel like my own rating is unfair to the book. =\

The first book of Matheson's that I had ever read was I Am Legend, which to this day is still my favorite. The stories in that book were wonderful, and quite a few have stayed with me to this day. Then I read What Dreams May Come, and while I didn't necessarily agree with the ideological aspect, the writing was great. So, coming into this book, I had pretty high expectations, and I feel like I was let down, a little....more
Raegan Butcher
Excellent collection of freaky stories from one of the masters.Anyone interested in the art of writing fiction should read Richard Matheson.
Andrea Blythe
I loved I am Legend, which was an amazing twist on the vampire genre and had an ending that wasn't happy, per se, but had me grinning from ear to ear. This collection of short stories, however, was not so great. At best I will say they were okay. Most of the stories were written in the late fifties through the sixties, which explains the old fashioned style of the stories, most particularly the reliance on withholding important information to deliver a "surprise," which is not so surprising beca...more
Bradley
Brilliant collection of Matheson stories, mostly from the 1950s. Matheson’s creative peak was during the 1950s to the 70s and here it shows. Many would consider the stories ‘Sci-Fi’ than ‘Terror’ (as stated on the front cover) but ignore the fact that they are tales of terror as well. What I love about a Matheson story is his ability to evoke genuine emotion into his characters, regardless of the situation. That can be felt across all his stories here, particularly Duel, Last Days, and Trespass....more
Alondra
Dec 31, 2012 Alondra rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twilight Zone fanatics
Recommended to Alondra by: no one
Shelves: books-i-own
3 Star

I started this book with such anticipation, because it is by one of the masters. humpf. Duel, I remember as a cheesy 70s movie put out by Stephen Spielberg, and I loved it. Duel, Lover when you're near me and Being were all pretty good; but the rest fell flat. This book reads like Twilight Zone for dummies. Cheesy story-lines; no surprises and no happy endings. TZ was a great show, but nothing scary; very "saltine crackers." Duel is the Saltines to the buttery-flavored Ritz of I am Legend;...more
Drake
This is a terrific collection of Matheson’s short stories from the 1950s. More sci-fi than horror, they still wallop a stiff punch of weird. Some of the premises are dated (1950’s aliens, space ships, nuclear war, etc), but Matheson is amazing at delivering the pulpy paranoia and he is a master of twist endings. My favorite is The Last Day, a horrific tale of returning home before the world is destroyed. Of course, the title story Duel is a classic and worth the admission alone. Other notable ta...more
Nancy
When I borrowed this from the library, I was expecting spine-tingling horror stories. What I got instead was a collection of sci-fi short stories with elements of horror from the 1950's, except for the title story which was written in the early 70's. To my surprise, the stories were good to excellent. Matheson is an excellent writer and I'm looking forward to I Am Legend.
Matteo Pellegrini
Nato ad Allendale, New Jersey, il 20 febbraio 1926, Richard Matheson è autore di romanzi e racconti che hanno forgiato il gusto e le caratteristiche del "fantastico" contemporaneo influenzando profondamente altri linguaggi, dal cinema ai fumetti ai videogiochi. La sua opera, accanto alla maestria nel tratteggiare il soprannaturale e la suspense, è caratterizzata da un realismo rigoroso e da una paradossale "credibilità", da un'attenzione commossa a quell'umanità marginale soggiogata da un poter...more
Brian Kenny
A collection of Science fiction stories, with the exception of the first story 'Duel' which have elements of horror in them. If your a fan of 'The Twilights Zone' and have a liking for the works of HP Lovecraft, Harlan Ellison, then these stories share some of the characteristics of plot, characters and general weirdness of the subjects. These tales were first published in various magazines in the nineteen fifties, and still hold up today. The characters in the stories are well thought out, writ...more
Linda
Read this book, read this book, read this book.

Matheson is a wonderful writer of modern "terror" stories with unexpected twists, and, believe me, I know most of the tricks horror/terror writers use these days. But he got me over and over and I loved it.

The stories are both dated - Matheson wrote mostly in the 50s and 60s so we have constant references to record players, phones being put back in their cradles, cars that are stick shift and require you to push a button to start the engine - but th...more
Asciigod
A Richard Matheson omnibus representing the heyday of mass market science fiction writing, this thick collection is a good value, spanning a fair variety of themes and a few different styles.

Matheson is an easy read who is, at his best (Little Girl Lost, Lover When You're Near Me) very good at compacting dynamic plots and strange atmospheres into vivid short fiction. His more pedestrian pieces (of which here there are plenty) are efficient but have not aged well due to lack of depth, weakness o...more
Italo  Perazzoli
++ DUEL ++

The incipit of this short story is brief and intense, it is the essence of the entire plot:

"At 11:32 A.M MANN PASSED THE TRUCK."

and only at the end we will appreciate its true meaning of it, the time has been freezed, only now it is possible to dig profoundly inside our personality.

In my opinion it represents the hidden side of ourself, it is the repressed part, so hidden that we ignore it, but it will explode with all of its power anger, after an injustice or a provocation or an insu...more
Hayden
With the title story 'Duel displayed prominently on the cover, I went into this collection of short stories expecting a bunch of tense thrillers. I was greatly let down. The majority of stories were hard science fiction (a genre that I really dislike save for a few films), the title story felt completely out of place with the rest of them, and the book as a whole was largely a pain to get through. The only two stories I enjoyed were Duel and Being (the latter would've worked better without the s...more
Aubrea Summer
A chilling get together of all the things that go bump in the night, plus Duel, which made it to the big screen but maintains its creepy nature in print form so much better. Definitely a fun read.
Josie Udo-utun
Richard Matheson wrote many science fiction and suspense stories that are featured on episodes of the "Twilight Zone", and in other shows and movies. Because TV and movies were heavily censored back then, you won't always get the "full" story unless you read the books behind the scenes. Anyway, I recommend this book if you like suspense and science fiction tales.
Martin Mcgoey
Pretty decent collection. None of the stories were particularly extraordinary and the prose was tedious at times. The movie Real Steel was based off of one of the stories in this collection. I felt like the short story, which was vastly different, was considerably better than the movie and definitely one of the best pieces in the collection.
John Gillespie
This is not a collection of horror stories, as the title misleads one to think, but it's an awesome collection of Matheson's thrilling science fiction, which was often adapted for the Twilight Zone. Fans of that show will recognize "Death Ship" and "Steel", but most of the other stories deliver similar creepiness.
Emily
Duel, Being and Tresspass were really great, the rest all felt to similar. I enjoied reading this book but I felt like I already knew how most would end. I understand why they were 'terror stories' in the 50's and they hold up pretty well. I am interested in reading more of Matheson.
James
A lot of these stories were later adapted into Twilight Zone episodes, so most of the surprises are spoiled going in. Still, the title story has a great mounting tension, even after seeing the movie, and the story "Lover When You're Near Me" is creepy and slightly repulsive.
Lucy
A selection of strange and weird horror and sci-fi stories. I found all of these engrossing and I wish there had been more. If you're a fan of Matheson's work or just looking for some good sci-fi/horror stories, check out this collection.
Chris Gager
The title story was the source for Steve Spielberg's TV movie of the same title. I didn't read this book but I did read "Duel" in Playboy magazine and liked the way the original story ended better than the movie. Date read is a guess.
Patrick
Not really "terror stories" so much as "sci-fi" stories. They were good, but not really my cup of tea. I liked the "Nightmare at 20,000 Ft. collection better because those were most of his good horror stories.
Connie
What fun I have reading these short story compilations.
So many of these stories were made into Twilight Zone episodes, that it is great to read the story while remembering the episode.
Daniel2


Fun read. Matheson is no literary genius, but it's a rousing collection of sci fi stories. Recommended for people who enjoy King's non-horror stuff, Bradbury, et al.
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Card
Writing Style: 4.5 stars

Characterization: 4 stars

Plot: 4 stars

Page-turner: 4 stars

Heart Factor: 4 stars

Ed Lynn
The stories can be hit or miss, but the hits are big and the misses are still pretty damned good.
Raoul
I liked the collection but the title story only makes me want to re-watch the movie.
K.K.
It's Richard Matheson, that's all you need to know. A great collection.
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w...more
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