Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
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Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  3,868 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Stephen King has declared that Matheson is one of his favorite writers. Find out why in this classic horror story of a man who peers out of his airplane window to see a gremlin destroying the wing of the plane.
Audio CD, 9 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2002)
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Stephen
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8 Excellent short stories,
1 Boring short misfire, and
11 Dazzling, GRANDtastic short masterpieces
combine to make this one delicious helping of gumdrop goody goodness....in a scare you stool-less and leave you whimpering kind of way. This is a rare blend of literate, high quality prose and "oh shit" screaming terror. Matheson's story-telling is addictive and the heavy, meaty sense of tension-filled dread with which he is able to consistently imbue his stories is truly special. Yeah, I thought t...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I found Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet and Other Stories at my excellent public library. The titular story is the basis for The Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner. Well if you like the show, read the book. Your heartbeat stays erratic the whole time. I love the detail in which Matheson describes the harrowing experience the protagonist has. He knows the gremlin is there but the darn thing disappears when he tries to point him out. The flight crew gets more and more convinced that the protagon...more
Kathryn
I thought listening to this audiobook would be my introduction to Matheson's short stories but in all honesty, I was unwittingly introduced many years ago. Besides the fact that his influence is felt in the work of many different writers, I have seen some of these stories as television and movie adaptations, most notably the title story.

I feel a slight amount of guilt for not being able to rate this collection 5 stars. I have no doubt in my mind that this is an amazing collection and I will not...more
Adam
I expected to like this collection, but I did not expect to love it since I am not generally a lover of short stories. However, Matheson does such a great job of instantly giving you enough background that you feel completely pulled into the story. I found I was able to become vested in the story right away, and that allowed me to connect with the stories.

The stories themselves are amazing. My personal favorites were the title story, "Dress of White Silk," "Through Cannels" and "Blood Son." Gre...more
Susan
More chilling works by a 20th-century master of the genre. Matheson is a primary influence on modern horror--not just literary, but in cinema and television (Matheson wrote prolifically for "The Twilight Zone" and the title story of this collection was adapted for that show).

If your only Matheson experience so far has been Will Smith in "I Am Legend," you owe it to yourself to expand your horizons. This collection is a great introduction to typical Matheson themes: ordinary folks in horrifying...more
Trudi
I expected to LOVE this collection, and while I mightily enjoyed a handful of the stories, others left me feeling cold, confused or just plain ol' meh-disappointed.

Most of that meh is not Matheson's fault - I fully recognize him as a master of his craft. Stephen King (my favorite author) admits Matheson is the writer who has influenced him most (and the more I read of Matheson's work the more I believe that). The meh is my fault; short stories are not usually my bag and it takes a lot for one to...more
MG
This was my first reading of Richard Matheson's work. It was quite enjoyable. I got what I expected from the encounter, stories with a twist here and there and often a slow boil to a climatic end.
Oscar
Todavía recuerdo aquella película de los 80 que vi siendo un niño, ‘En los límites de la realidad’, dividida en cuatro episodios, el último de los cuáles estaba basado en un relato de Richard Matheson. Esa escena en la que el pasajero protagonista descubre a un extraño ser sobre el ala del avión en el que viaja, me dejó realmente impactado. Pero también me vienen a la mente otras películas en las que el talento de Matheson estaba muy presente, como el primer film de Steven Spielberg, ‘El diablo...more
Bandit
The one novel I read by Matheson before this has left enough of an impression to warrant checking out this collection and I'm so glad I did. These stories really showcase Matheson's most impressive talent and it's not so much for supernatural spookiness, though there is plenty of that, the author really shines when it comes to writing the dark deep secrets, the hidden sides of human nature. There were some genuinely terrifying stories in this collection about various ways to go mad, about losing...more
Brian Fagan
Yet another example of what's wrong with the literary academic community in this world. While everyone gets wet in the pants at the mention of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and their great contribution to the world of letters, they bypass people like Matheson who wrote some of the most perfect short stories ever written. If you want to learn how to write a short story, read this book.
Jake Thomas
Feb 12, 2008 Jake Thomas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twilight Zone, X-Files, Stephen King fans
I'd been meaning to read Matheson for a while, and I'm ashamed I waited so long. These stories are wonderful. They drive to the heart of basic fear in a way that doesn't scare you so much as make you itchy or nervous. It's hard to read the story Mad House without going a little nutty yourself. You certainly won't be at ease in your kitchen for a while. Everyone knows the titular story, made famous by William Shatner on The Twilight Zone and then again by John Lithgow in the movie, but what astou...more
Leah Lucci
Richard Matheson is pretty much the daddy of the modern horror genre. (HP and Edgar Allen Poe are more like granddaddies.) His impact is huge -- but mostly forgotten.

Like all collections of short stories, there are some golden hits and some skip-able duds. The hits are original and fresh, even now, years and years later. The duds are either dull, repeats of precious stories, or ... cliche.

What's interesting about the "cliche" element is that the stories AREN'T cliche... or weren't, at the time...more
Rob Boley
Richard Matheson is the author of some of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. So, when I picked this book up, I was familiar with the diverse types of stories that he told. But what impressed me the most about this collection wasn't just the range of the stories, but the many voices that he used to tell them with. His ability to morph his writing voice from tale to tale - from character to character - as the story required it, reminded me a lot of Gary Oldman's acting ability. Many of these stor...more
Janice
this is maybe the second or third time i've read this collection, though individual stories have warranted numerous perusals. i like richard matheson, a lot. there is a mindset necessary to read some of his stories, though -- when you think "i've seen this plot device/story idea/character before," you have to remember that wherever you saw it, it was probably being ripped off from matheson.

trigger warning -- the likeness of julie. it's the last story, so you can easily skip it. it has a nice tw...more
Kristen
I LOVE The Twilight Zone, so I knew that the title story was the classic episode in which William Shatner keeps seeing something on the wing of the airplane, but every story in this collection reads like it could have been a Twilight Zone episode. It makes sense, since apparently Matheson wrote many of the shows. Although the stories in this collection were all written decades ago, they didn't feel dated to me. Truly creepy without being excessively gory, I confess to having had a few nightmares...more
Conor
Richard Matheson’s a writer who comes recommended by Stephen King, and I suppose I can see why. Like most short story collections, there’s both good and bad, mediocre and exceptional, and when Matheson’s at his best he’s brilliant.
I will read I Am Legend, and then look into his other longer works.
I’ll give a run-down of each individual story. They seem to have been collected from different points of Matheson’s career—some of them are replete with adverbs, for example, while others are written...more
Betsy Boo
Wow, oh wow!! Make sure you read this one in the daytime! I had a really tough time getting to sleep after this book. What is it about his stories that get me sooooooo wired? I was up til 2 am just thinking about them. And those stories made me wonder something: why is it that I suffer from anxiety and yet I love scary stories? When people ask me why I love the horror genre I always say it's not as scary as real life...and I am being perfectly honest. I'd love to know why that is though.

Savannah
Wow, this was an unexpectedly good read!

I'd read 'I Am Legend' and really enjoyed it, but I had no idea that Matheson was responsible for the "something on the wing" story (now I know what Ace Ventura was on about!), so I was excited to read this. And I pretty much devoured it!
Granted, out of the 20 stories there were maybe three that didn't 'grab me' as tightly as the others, hence the 4 stars, but the rest I thought were fairly brilliant.

Matheson is really good at making me invested in a ve...more
Aloha
I'm going to review each short story, not necessarily in order.

1. Dress of White Silk: A wonderfully symbolic story about the inheritance of evil. This is a story about innocence whose unavoidable inheritance is to be irrevocably married to the evil side upon maturity. I had a great time deciphering the meaning of the dress, and the monster side.
Richard
I started reading this book earlier in the year - to be exact, I was working at a submarine museum and there weren't many visitors at the time. If you really want to scare the crap out of yourself, reading these stories in a dark, smelly, cramped vessel that is decades old, all the while ice scrapping across the hull...yeah, that would do it.
Tom Eldridge
There is something as cold as liquid nitrogen at the core of Richard Matheson's stories. I remember watching Duel on the ABC Movie of the Week in 1971 and being completely blown away by it. His endings are like when you think you're at the bottom of the steps and step out and....drop.
Kyle Schneider
Some of the best, haunting, and disturbing stories that I've read especially by Richard Matheson. Many of them are very bitter in that taste they leave after you're but it just keeps you reading. Kinda like coffee. You don't really like it at first, as it's very bitter yet you continue to read, progressively starting to like it more. You also can't be pretentious when viewing a Matheson story, they take time to sink and eventually you love them as much as I. The title story is possibly one of th...more
Edgar Linares
"Cuando la casera entró a limpiar dos días después, seguía en la misma posición. Sus brazos estaba extendidos en el charco de sangre y su cuerpo estaba rígido y frío. No encontraron su cabeza..."
Bill  Kerwin

Remember the Twlight Zone episode with William Shatner seeing gremlins on the wing of the plane? Well, that's the title story. And many others in this collection are just as good.
Travis
Before reading this book the only other Matheson story I'd read was "I Am Legend" (well before the movie came out). I vaguely knew some of his other work. I originally selected this collection to read because it supposedly contains the short "Duel"; unfortunately that story is not in this collection. But what is here is mostly great stuff. You can see how influential Matheson was on a generation of horror authors, most notably Stephen King.

Since this is a collection of short stories I will give...more
Dxmaniac69
A collection of short horror stories by Richard Matheson. As with any collection there are some that are better then others, but its mostly good.
Victoria
Debo partir diciendo que... no es posible que un libro me sirva para entender un capítulo de Los Simpsons y no al revés como debería ser, en serio, o veo demasiado la serie o leo muy poco.

En cualquier caso el relato en cuestión es uno de mis favoritos del libro junto con Una casa Enloquecida, El número de la desaparición, Llamada a Larga Distancia y El Distribuidor. Pese a que me costó cogerle el gusto al libro ―este no es uno de los géneros que leo normalmente― los relatos que señalé cumplieron...more
Donnary
Stephen King's excellent intro for Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: "...You are in the hands of a writer who asks no quarter and gives none...He will leave you wanting more...

I was reading it in between King's Nightmare and Dreamscapes and I cant seem to differentiate the two. Enough about King, Nightmare at 20,000 feet comprises of 20 different stories.

The story that stood out for me is the Disappearing Act and Long Distance Call. Disappearing Act is about a writer who's having an affair and when he d...more
Helen
Great fun! The title story is a masterpiece.
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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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