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The Box: Uncanny Stories

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  947 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
What if you were told that you could make a fortune just by pushing a button on a box? But pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world . . . someone you don't know. Would you still push the button?

"Button, Button," Richard Matheson's chilling tale of greed and temptation, is now the basis of The Box, the new film f
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Tor Books (first published April 1st 2008)
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Jul 25, 2011 Kit★ rated it it was amazing
I was wanting to read something easy to get into. I didn't know I was craving short stories, but once I started reading, it just hit the spot. Just right. This was a great collection. Not mind-blowing or life-altering or anything, but it was a great collection of short stories that was thoroughly entertaining, a little bit thought-provoking, and occasionally amusing.
The first (and title story) "Button, Button" started it off good. There's a box. And a man, Mr. Steward, who says that if you push
Sean Rodman
Jun 26, 2013 Sean Rodman rated it really liked it
I have this vision of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King and Roald Dahl hanging out. It's like a twisted poker game, all of them huddled over a ratty green felt table, bare bulb hanging overhead, the fug of cigar smoke in the air. And each one of them is taking a turn, trying to come up with the most twisted tale. You know what? Richard might've won. I mean, Bradbury was eloquent, with his fancy-dancy language. And King would've come up with ten ideas by the time anyone else had reache ...more
I love Richard Matheson's short story collections. His style just fits so perfectly in a shorter fiction model, and I love that he knew it, because it means that there's a lot of it to enjoy.

This collection contained a couple stories that I'd read before (maybe this was compiled from other collections? Not sure.) but I enjoyed it all the same for that.

There were a few standout stories in this one, like "The Box", "There's No Such Thing As Vampires", and "Mute". These stories all had a human el
Dec 19, 2010 Traci rated it liked it
Matheson is one of the granddaddies of horror, having written a little book called "I Am Legend" that was made into no less than three movies that I know of. He's written numerous books, screenplays, and short stories, and is still with us at the wonderful age of 84. I saw this in our collection and thought it would be worth picking up, plus I remembered that they'd just put out the movie "The Box" not too long ago (not to very good reviews, if memory serves me correctly).

Well, having read "Butt
BLUF: Short stories aren’t my thing, but I enjoyed the twisted humor.

Button, Button: Short and sweet (view spoiler). I would be happy with a full-length novel on this concept. 3 Stars. (Plot: Couple gets a button that, if pushed, would award them a large amount of money in exchange for the death of somebody they do not know.)

The Girl Of My Dreams: Good concept, but only an okay story. I would like a full-length novel based on the woman in this story. 3 Stars. (Plot:
Feb 09, 2015 seak marked it as to-read
Picked this up today at the library for a buck and sat right down to read the eponymous story, actually titled, "Button, Button."

First, it's only 15 pages, minus the 3 opening pages.

Second, it's a tad different from the 2 hour length movie made from the same concept.

Third, the build-up was great, but I thought the ending was a complete cop-out.

3 out of 5 Stars for Button, Button.
Jun 27, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Five stars means I'll probably read it again. The stories are hit and miss, really, but even a Matheson miss is entertaining.
AmberBug **
Aug 14, 2015 AmberBug ** rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Shelf Notes Review

Dear Reader,

I started this book awhile back but only to read one of the stories, Button, Button, which was made into a movie The Box (I never ended up watching) and was based on a Twilight Zone episode (which I have also never seen). I read the story at Borders (R.I.P.) during my many casual trips to kick back, drink some coffee and browse/read through some books. Yes, I am one of those people... but before you judge, I did end up buying this book to finish it in the end. Altho
Trever Clowdus
The Box is a book full of twisted tales. Every chapter reveals a new story with many unexpected happenings. When I purchased this book, I was unaware of the fact that it included more than one story, but just about every story left me with my jaw hanging. Honestly though, there were a few stories that left me hanging as well. Putting the confusing stories aside, I found it quite difficult to put the book down. One of the reasons I couldn’t stop reading The Box was because I was so excited to re ...more
Alex Telander
Nov 17, 2009 Alex Telander rated it really liked it
Having never read any of the writings of the classic horror great Richard Matheson, I was delighted to discover the relatively new release of The Box: Uncanny Stories to tie in with the movie adaptation of the short story “Button, Button.” The collection unsurprisingly kicks off with the aforementioned story offering an average American married couple the opportunity to win a large sum of money if they push this one button. The catch is that whoever presses the button will know that someone will ...more
Dan Henk
Jan 04, 2013 Dan Henk rated it liked it
This is actually the first time I have been let down by Richard Matheson. I am Legend, Hell House, A Stir of Echos, The Incredible Shrinking Man, I was thinking he could do no wrong. Then I read this collection.
My first complaint, would be that all the stories are too short. Included with the longer story "The Incredible Shrinking Man", are a few short stories, and they work there. But these seem to be lacking, both in length, and in substance. My second complaint would be that some of the stori
Oct 13, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, 2014
A collection of Twilight Zone-style short stories, some more memorable than others.
Jul 16, 2016 Hope rated it it was ok
This book... I'm not quit sure how I should explain it. It is a collection of short stories and each had a different meaning and feel to them. However, it wasn't my cup of tea. The stories in this book were odd to varying degrees. All of them, except for one, I wasn't particularly fond of.

I feel the cover of the book is misleading because I assumed I was getting an entire book on The Box. It wasn't until I looked at the back of the book that I realized I was getting multiple short stories rat
Sep 18, 2015 Circa rated it really liked it
Richard Matheson is one of the most influential writers in the horror genre, having written many iconic Twilight Zone episodes, I Am Legend, Hell House and Hammer Horror's The Devil Rides Out. Stephen King himself has listed him as one of his most prominent influences. With those credentials, I knew I could hardly be disappointed with a collection of some of his best uncanny tales and I wasn't. Not every story is strictly horrific in nature, but every single one is striking, darkly energetic and ...more
Not gonna lie, I was underwhelmed. Highly underwhelmed. This compilation has many pieces I didn't care much for. There is some really weird stuff like musical organs coming to live or a man's suit coming to live (yeah, why do things keep coming to live that really shouldn't and then have the gull to not even be scary?). Looking back on it I just realized there are some stories I cannot remember the content now if you'd put a gun to my head and I read this collection in under a week. Anything but ...more
Renee M
Nov 28, 2015 Renee M rated it really liked it
I have fairly diverse tastes in reading material , but when I was younger, I spent some time trying to figure out what I liked. So I read a fair number of short story collections in various genres. One name that inevitably proved to be a winner for me was Richard Matheson. He's just got a way with quirk. Funny, smart, surprising quirk. Which is completely addictive.
Ailani Bonilla
Jan 07, 2015 Ailani Bonilla rated it liked it
I thought the box was a thrilling book with a bunch of mysterious stories to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes endings that leave you wondering because these stories don't give any explanations of how it happened. my favorite story was, There is no Such Thing as a Vampire because the man made his friend look like he was the vampire and couldn't wait to see him die. I also liked the story, The Box because in the end you learn a lesson that is you can't put a price on life. I ...more
Sydney Kamps
Jan 21, 2014 Sydney Kamps rated it really liked it
The best stories were:

Girl of My Dreams--a woman's dreams prophesy the grim deaths of strangers. Her greedy boyfriend uses her dreams to manipulate people by offering a price for the disclosure of the details of their deaths so that they might attempt to prevent it.

Dying Room Only--a strange diner isolated in the desert has sinister secrets

A Flourish of Strumpets--women appear at the doors of homes all over town offering "services." At first Frank resists the whores, but when his friend and a pr
Germano Dalcielo
Mah, era iniziato in quarta per poi trascinarsi stancamente e scalare fino in prima da metà volume in poi. Il primo racconto, The Box, è molto meglio della sua trasposizione cinematografica (il film dopo mezz'ora fa davvero ridere); mi sono piaciuti tantissimo "Una ragazza da sogno" e "Una stanza per morire", ansiogeni, adrenalinici e davvero originali. Carini i weird tales "Scambi indecenti" e "Nulla è come un vampiro"; criptico e poco fruibile, invece, "Paradigma di sopravvivenza". Da "Muto" i ...more
Nov 29, 2009 Nick rated it it was ok
Some of these short stories are now seriously dated, but are a reminder of a time when short-story writers were a mainstream part of entertainment.

Matthew Baskerville
Feb 01, 2015 Matthew Baskerville rated it liked it
There are a few quirky stories in this collection, but none of them are what I would define as horror stories. Most of the stories are interesting from a craft perspective and since they are such a quick read I would recommend most of them. At best, they possess the sort of wit and twist that one might find in a classic twilight zone episode. In fact, Richard Matheson did write many of the original Twilight Zone episodes. What I like best about these stories is the apparent simplicity which conc ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Vicky rated it liked it
Some of the stories were five star but some were 1 star so it received a 3 from me.
Amy Sherman
This is a collection of short stories. A few of them are good (including the one in the title about the box/button). Most of them are not good. They are short, so you don't get strongly connected with a character, and they don't last long enough for story development. I know that part of my not caring for these is the fact that I prefer novels to short stories, but beyond that, some of them just aren't good. There is one very small idea that is used to carry an entire story, and some of them jus ...more
Debra Komar
Oct 14, 2014 Debra Komar rated it liked it
This is an older collection of short stories and it is a curious anthology. The stories read like "Twilight Zone" script pitches - they are all very short, with no character development whatsoever. There is an interesting idea behind most of them, and most feature some sort of "twist" ending (hence the Twilight Zone comparison). Its not great writing - his metaphors are infrequent and often tortured - but some of the ideas are unique and worthy of development. Not his best work but its a very fa ...more
The Basics

A collection of short fiction with a focus on horror and lots of twists and turns.

My Thoughts

Matheson was a Twilight Zone writer. Among a lot of other television credits to his name from that time and on, but Twilight Zone is of particular interest here. If you don’t know, that show was fond of twists. It’s a cookbook! That sort of thing. It’s pulpy and an easy way to make an audience ooh and ahh. While we consider ourselves more savvy than our parents or grandparents were back then, i
Sep 26, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
Button, Button This is the story the movie 'The Box' was based on....LOOSELY based mind you. The story is only 12 pages long and while it has a bit of a twist ending it is not some weird alien story -- I am still not sure how they got that movie out of this story

Girl of My Dreams Nice. A tale of karma.

Dying Room Only I didn't like this one. It was more a straight up story, no twists, no turns -- just kind of blah

A Flourish of Strumpets FUNNY!! hookers start a door-to-door service.

No Such Thing
Steve Mitchell
Aug 03, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it really liked it
On the whole I enjoyed this collection of short stories even though a couple of them were - how can I put this kindly - pretty dire.

"Button, Button" was the story I bought the book for and it is excellent with a nice little twist at the end; which is all you can ask for.
"Girl of My Dreams" is one of the dire ones; it has an ending that was so obvious Dan Brown would not think of using it!
"Dying Room Only" is very lame and virtually pointless.
"A Flourish of Strumpets" picks up the pace a bit and
MontiLee Stormer
I'm not sure if it was the narration of Grover Cleveland (which was not bad, but not great), or the lack of production (like a definable break between stories), but whatever my reasons, the reasons why this collection didn't set my heart on fire wasn't because of the stories, but the way they were presented. When I could mark separate stories, I enjoyed them. Overall I wish the production value was better, but you get what you get.

Matheson remains one of my favorites and an influence, and the st
Aug 16, 2010 CaliGirlRae rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Classic Horror and Suspense fans
An enjoyable entree of short delights from one of my fave authors. I listened to this via audio, starting with the title short, Button Button which was recently turned into a (very strange) Richard Kelly movie (although I imagine there is no other kind of Richard Kelly movie. ;-)

As with many short story collections, there's a mixture of really good to okay stories here. Although some written as far back as the 50s feel a product of their time, I'm glad for the feeling to get an idea for what lif
Critter Reyome
Dec 30, 2013 Critter Reyome rated it really liked it
It's always good news when another Richard Matheson story gets put on the silver screen. There have been plenty of them too, like "I Am Legend" (done three times!) and "Bid Time Return" (as "Somewhere in Time", with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour) and several others of varying quality. Granted, the films may not always be much to speak of — "The Box" is more a Cameron Diaz vehicle than anything else — but when the movie comes out, the next thing that usually happens is that a book is release ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: What's in The Box!? 3 30 Aug 25, 2014 04:16PM  
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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
More about Richard Matheson...

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