The Box: Uncanny Stories
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The Box: Uncanny Stories

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  639 ratings  ·  106 reviews
A collection of dark suspenseful tales includes ''Button, Button,'' a story about a device that brings a fortune to its handlers but kills a stranger every time it is used that was the inspiration for the upcoming film ''The Box.''
Title: The Box
Author: Matheson, Richard
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 2009/09/29
Number of Pages: 258
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Con...more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Tor Books (first published April 1st 2008)
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Kit★
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...more
Becky
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...more
Sean Rodman
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
Traci
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...more
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
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
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...more
Sydney
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...more
Nick
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.

Hannah Rose
As a big Matheson fan I found this short story collection somewhat disappointing. It is a quick read and some of the stories habe great premises (Button Botton, Dying Room), but they lack the trade mark Matheson shock-ending. Matheson is usually one of those writers who, no matter how many of bis of other author's stories you've read, his endings are still surprising and his plots and characters still disturbing (Born of Man and Woman, anyone?).
If you are a newcomer to Matheson, I would not rec...more
Vicky
Some of the stories were five star but some were 1 star so it received a 3 from me.
Angela
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...more
Steve Mitchell
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...more
Ben
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
CaliGirlRae
Aug 16, 2010 CaliGirlRae rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Critter Reyome
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
Matthew
The Box: Uncanny Stories (originally titled Button, Button: Uncanny Stories) was released in 2008 and contains stories published between 1950 and 1970. The name was changed to capitalize off the (then upcoming) film adaptation of the previously titular story, Button, Button.

Button, Button is a good place to start when discussing Matheson’s short stories. Most of his stories have a compelling “what if?” scenario behind them and end with a sort of poetic justice twist. While reading this collec...more
Francesca Rock
I really loved these stories as I always love his stories. They have even made me excited to see the movie. Here is a short story by story review.

"Button, button" - holy crap. I can honestly say it really surprised me. I want to know more!

"Girl of my Dreams" - ha. Serves you right, Greg.

"A Flourish of Strumpets" - I love how these stories keep getting turned around on the protagonist.

"No Such Thing as a Vampire" - I suspected what was happening here. Nice to be proved right.

"Pattern for Survival...more
Waven
These are some of Richard Matheson's most popular short stories, originally published between 1950 and 1970 but still as sharp and clever as ever. The collection includes Button, Button (the basis for Warner Brothers' 2009 film "The Box") as well as classics like A Flourish of Strumpets, No Such Thing as a Vampire, Mute, Clothes Make the Man, and one of my personal favorites, The Creeping Terror. Although Matheson is often lumped in with horror writers, his writing has little gore and more often...more
Sunil
Richard Matheson is an author whose name I've heard a lot because his work has been adapted into many movies and Twilight Zone episodes, so when I saw an audiobook of the movie cash-in The Box: Uncanny Stories, I figured it would be a good introduction.

The Box is based on the classic story "Button, Button," in which a couple must decide whether to press a button to kill someone they don't know in exchange for a whopping $50,000 (which must have been worth a lot more at the time). It's a wickedly...more
June
The title story Button, Button has a great premise but doesn't really deliver. It could have ended with much more of a punch, but instead is more of a Monkey's Paw (remember that ghost story from sleep away camp?) type of tale. Some of the short stories are truly funny, including The Creeping Terror about Los Angeles literally taking over the world. The last story can only be described as bizarre.
I listened to this on CD, and I believe that the actor reading can really make or break an audioboo...more
Jennifer
When I picked this up nothing on the front of the book indicated this was a book full of short stories (only after you read the synopsis on the back does it fleetingly mention other stories), but almost all were very, very good. I particularly liked the last three and the very first. The majority are quite short, so it's a very quick read. There were even a couple in which the endings took me by surprise. I'd recommend it for any one looking for a quick, sometimes comical, sometimes surprising r...more
Jeff Anderson
A glorious selection of some Richard Matheson stories. He does great work and this set includes Button, Button the basis for the movie The Box. I really like his style and this collection includes some gems and shows Matheson's wide range of styles that fit the wide range of stories he wrote. I definitely recommend this book to all, even if the eerie and supernatural are not your "thing" you will find stories here to delight.
Kolleen
Well.... I bought this book after just finishing the movie The Box, and wanted to read the basis for it. Unfortunately, upon receiving this book I realized it was all short stories and that Button, Button, that basis for The Box, was the shortest one of all. First and foremost, I'm not a big fan of short stories. They always seem to be too short to matter! And second off, I wasn't a big fan of the Button, Button story.

Some of these stories just completely didn't make sense to me. I was hoping th...more
Margaret
Jul 29, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2010
Well, this was a quick read but not as good as I thought it might be. I thought "uncanny" stories would be kind of Twilight Zone-like but I think it kind of missed the mark. The first story (Button, Button) had a lot of potential but I hated the ending. Most of them just seemed weird or odd to me versus chilling and several had endings that made very little sense. The "Creeping Terror" story just annoyed me - maybe because it was hard to suspend belief since he had it take place in the early 80s...more
Shannon Renee
OK, I had no idea who Richard Matheson was before I started reading this book. (He wrote a lot for the Twilight Zone.) I love the Twilight Zone. I did not love this.

I hate to say it, but most of these stories were bad. Really brain sucking bad. Most were boring as Hades.

Button, Button was the inspiration for the movie "The Box". Snooze-fest.
Girl of my Dreams was okay.
Dying Room Only was dumb.
A Flourish of Strumpets was too predictable.
No Such Thing as a Vampire was actually a kind of gem in the...more
ErinBeth
Most of these stories were pretty good. The story I liked best was "Clothes make the man"; reading through other people's reviews it seems that this was not a favorite, but the reason I liked it so much was that the twist at the very end took me completely by surprise; I never would have guessed it and I also thought that his way of revealing it was very clever. I also really liked "No such thing as vampire"; I could tell that there was some kind of twist in it but all my guesses were wrong at t...more
Austin Storm
King of the high-concept premise. 'Spare but convincing' characters caught up in circumstances beyond their control. I thought this collection was a little weak. Spoilers, for my own reference:

"Button, Button" - heightened moral dilemma; classic, punchy
"Girl of My Dreams" - precognition; all the more horrifying for its inevitability
"Dying Room Only" - vanished relative paranoia; good
"A Flourish of Strumpets" - call girls door-to-door
"No Such Thing as a Vampire" - revenge; good
"Pattern for Surviv...more
Cory Gaskins
This was.... pretty bad.
I think pulp short stories like these were popular back in the day but now that we are saturated with youtube vids and other short form of narratives, we want more from a short story than just a "surprise ending". I really did enjoy Stir of Echoes by the same author so I'm assuming that short stories aren't his forte.

First of all, there is no way one can given an ending to Button, Button that will be satisfactory. The premise might be enticing but coming up with a suitabl...more
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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...
I Am Legend and Other Stories I Am Legend Hell House What Dreams May Come A Stir of Echoes

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