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Button, Button: Uncanny Stories

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,469 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews
What if every time you pushed a button you received $50,000...but someone you didn’t know died? Would you still push the button? How many times?

"Button, Button", which inspired a memorable Twilight Zone episode, is just one of a dozen unforgettable tales in this new collection by Richard Matheson, the New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May C
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Tor Books (first published June 1st 1970)
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Apr 28, 2016 M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-story, 2016
The most unnerving 9 pages I've ever read because they gave me pause, long enough to imagine not whether or not I'd press the button but how many times I wouldn't hesitate, all things considered.
Ahmed  Ejaz
Sep 18, 2016 Ahmed Ejaz rated it really liked it
It is a great short story to read but it contains crystal clear plot holes which have ruined it a bit. But the moral is excellent and universally well known.

Greedy is curse.
Sep 29, 2008 Brooke rated it it was ok
Richard Matheson wrote some of the most iconic Twilight Zone episodes, so when I saw this short story collection at the library, I figured it had to be great.

Unfortunately, only the title story really packed the sort of punch that I was expecting. The other stories range from clever to mediocre, with more falling on the latter side. The TZ episode "Mute" was never one of my favorites, and the short story that inspired it went on for far too long and wasn't any better than the television episode.
Sep 05, 2009 Becky rated it liked it
I've been reading a lot of Matheson lately, and this one wasn't much different -- clever premise after clever premise, but nothing really goes anywhere and don't expect any kind of meaningful ending.

That having been said, I enjoy reading Matheson, but he's kinda like bingeing on junk food -- strictly empty calories.

The first half of the book is kind of "light," in the damning aspect of that term. The title story has an interesting premise, but the ending is cheap. For a better version of a rela
Jasmin Mohd-zain
Mar 31, 2017 Jasmin Mohd-zain rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
I was very impressed by his " I Am Legend". Picked this book up because it said ..."uncanny stories..." .

Liked some stories..others not so hot. Reading short stories requires a lot more concentration since there is not much background info, just snatches of scenario.

But Matheson writes lyrical interesting prose so i enjoyed the styling. Just that the stories were just a bit tad weird it took longer to finish.

My fav tales? "Mute" for its imaginery and also "Dying room only" which puzzled me quit
Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks)
Jun 11, 2015 Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
2.5 stars. A couple of good stories but the rest are mediocre.
Mar 27, 2016 Nenad rated it it was ok
Nov 21, 2008 Rob rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
For the most part, this was a really good collection of short stories. Matheson seems to be quite good at the form, and I found myself enjoying most of these stories, though there were a few in there that just didn't work all that well for me. Many of them seemed to have an "O'Henry" kind of feel to them. None were too long and the writing style made them very easy reads (except for the Jazz Machine).

What didn't work for me: The Jazz Machine, Tis the Season to be Jelly, and the Creeping Terror.
Jul 23, 2012 Oana rated it it was ok
It's always hard to read short stories, especially in an anthology, because they vary so much in length, quality, mood and so on. The stories in this collection, mostly from the 1950s and the 1960s, seem rather watered down to me, perhaps being too short and rushed (on the other hand, I loved Matheson's full-length novel I Am Legend).

The story "No Such Thing as a Vampire" was oddly set in Rumania, not Romania, though that could be the mistaken spelling of its time (1959).

The one story I did li
Sean McBride
May 24, 2013 Sean McBride rated it liked it
Matheson is an early influence on me, as you can probably tell by my first book A View of the Edge of the World. One of the writers for the original Twilight Zone series, his stories all held morals, but also had some spectacular way of transmitting those morals. Many people contend that he's a shock writer, the original Shyamalan, but he is so much more, so much deeper and more honest. Sure there are stories like "The Creeping Terror" which are overhanded satire (Vonnegut on steroids), which i' ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Bandit rated it really liked it
I'm yet to read a novel by Richard Matheson, but his short stories continue to impress me. This collection in all fairness was not as good as the absolutely awesome Nightmare at 10 000 Feet, but it still offered such strange and interesting tales. Simply put, Matheson is a master of What If, there is something so simple it borders on genius with his set ups, he has such fascinating and imaginative premises. The book starts off with Button, Button, the story that inspired the underwhelming 2009 c ...more
Actually, I've only read the ebook version of Matheson's short story "Button, Button". It was reminiscent of WW Jacob's
The Monkey's Paw with a dark twist in the end. I have seen both the Twilight Zone version and the Cameron Diaz movie, both of which weren't faithful to Matheson's original concept (although the Twilight Zone version seemed closer even though it differed in the ending). Personally, I think I prefer the Monkey's Paw, but Button, Button is still a nice, good read, especially since
Jan 03, 2010 Abigail rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book, once I realized the movie The Box was based on a short story by Richard Matheson. I wasn't familiar with Richard Matheson, but apparently, Stephen King was once quoted as saying that he is the author who influenced him the most as a writer, so I figured I would give him a try.

I read the first story, which the movie, The Box is based on called Button, Button and loved it. It is a tale of ethics vs. greed as a married couple possesses a device in which each time they press a
Apr 19, 2015 Drew rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories by the writer of "I Am Legend" and many Twilight Zone episodes. Very much in that vein. Most of these were written between 1950 and 1970, but have a timeless appeal. Except "The Creeping Terror", which is just horribly dated and is best forgotten. But a couple of these would make awesome short movies. Some of them were made into movies, including "The Box" and "Dying Room Only". Some have a TWIST ENDING! before that was a thing and M. Night Shyamalan ran that concep ...more
Craig Shields
Feb 07, 2016 Craig Shields rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Mostly lighter Twilight Zone fare, but a couple of the stories have some rich premises that are well spun out. The title story isn't even the strongest by far, but I guess it's the most known. The cover proudly proclaims that it's "soon to be a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE: 'The Box', starring CAMERON DIAZ"...yeah, I don't remember that one either.
Mpur Chan
Feb 11, 2016 Mpur Chan rated it it was amazing
I only read one short story titled Button, Button. I have to say that this story is AMAZING! Although I could predict what would happen next, this story still has appeal. It reminds me of the story Monkey's Paw by W.W Jacobs. Same plot. Same message. I love that kind of story!!!
I dare you to read these stories and not shout "TWIST!" at the ends.

Overall, a bit of an uneven collection but each story is so short that the stinkers don't get in your way too much. Definite brain candy but smart enough that it escapes the "guilty pleasure" category.
Feb 17, 2015 Teresa rated it liked it
It's a fun, clever read. Not complete fluff.
Zach Koenig
Mar 03, 2017 Zach Koenig rated it it was ok
After finishing up all the works of Stephen King, I found myself looking for a new storyteller to satiate my desire for creepy, thought-provoking tales. Aware that Richard Matheson was a big influence on King, I decided to pick up this story collection to see if it did anything for me. Unfortunately, it didn't.

"Button, Button: Uncanny Stories" is a collection of about 10 story stories penned by Matheson over the years. While a couple of them made me think and produced some interesting imagery, m
AmberBug **
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
Don Killinger
Oct 10, 2016 Don Killinger rated it really liked it
A few of these stories in this collection get five stars while others a more like filler, dragging the rating down a bit. Overall, a pretty fun collection, and perfect for this time of year.
Feb 02, 2012 Bookworm rated it really liked it
The Box: Uncanny Stories is a creepy collection of twelve short stories by author Richard Matheson who also wrote I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come.
As with most short story anthologies, I enjoyed some of these tales more than others. In this collection, there were maybe two that I didn't care for.
These stories are strange and suspenseful and have supernatural and fantasy aspects to them. Most of the stories have an unexpected twist to them. I'll mention a few that I enjoyed here in my review.
May 05, 2011 Wolverina rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-reviews, books
Read Button, Button - Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson. One of many books I picked up cheap at the co-op in a sale this year (or last).

I really enjoyed I Am Legend before reading this. I think it was a book that touched on a lot of interesting ideas, but had dated a little bit too much (unfortunately) so I couldn't understand or unpick it as much as I'd like.

Button, Button is (unsurprisingly given the title) a huge pile of small stories. Most are pretty standard, being written in the late 50'
Apr 09, 2010 Kate rated it it was ok
Well, I don’t know where to begin or end with this book. I will say my reading of it started out very promisingly. It came highly recommended from a co-worker who I thought had flawless taste in books, and when I heard this author wrote I Am Legend and the first story from this collection, “Button, Button” is going to be a major motion picture, I really thought it couldn’t be better. Maybe I was wrong.

The book is basically a written version of the Twilight Zone. These stories were originally pub
Aug 22, 2008 jess rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Levi
Shelves: fiction, 2008
I got this book from the library after a conversation with my stepson, Levi. He was telling me about a Twilight Zone episode he had seen where you could press a button, kill a stranger, and get $50,000. I thought it sounded very familiar, and it reminded me of a story I had read.

As a child, I was a voracious reader. My parents could not afford to keep me in books, and the nearest library was 30 miles away. As a "compromise," when I spent summers with my grandparents, they would take me to book s
Noah Rozov
Feb 25, 2017 Noah Rozov rated it liked it
"Button, Button" by Richard Matheson, short story of 1970. Filmed in 2009 under the name "The Box" by director Richard Kelly.
Dell R. Lipscomb
May 03, 2014 Dell R. Lipscomb rated it liked it
This is one of the better Richard Matheson short story collections. Most Matheson collections feature one or two of his well-known classics, a couple of gems and a bunch of average stories. Button Button has four strong entries and some pretty good ones along with a few that weren't very impressive. No Matheson compendium would be complete without stories that were adapted for television or the big screen; there are at least three in Button Button. The title story became a movie starring Cameron ...more
Monte (BingeReader87)
I read this as part of the reading challenge I'm doing with @myaddiction2books. I was supposed to read a collection of short stories and, while I originally had planned on reading I am Legend, by Richard Matheson, I saw this at the library and couldn't resist. It intrigued me. The stories were quite "out there" but most of them were good and interesting. They were a few that I didn't really enjoy but overall a nice collection.
Cassius Rovenstine
Oct 14, 2015 Cassius Rovenstine rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated with the premise of “Button, Button” since I first saw the 1980s television adaptation: An average, financially struggling couple receives a mysterious box affixed with a simple button unit, the pushing of which, they are assured, will cause two things to happen. First, they will receive a cash sum of $50,000. And second, somewhere in the world, someone whom they do not know, will die.

It’s not much of a spoiler to reveal that the enticing button is ultimately pushed – it i
Aug 26, 2008 El rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Belinda
Written primarily in the 1950's and 60's, the stories in Richard Matheson's collection are recognizable to many who are familiar with Twilight Zone episodes. Beginning with the title story, Button, Button - which I understand to be coming out on the big screen soon as The Box with Cameron Diaz (ew) - Matheson's stories all mostly are short and have a fun twist in the end. Button, Button in particular leaves the reader questioning what he or she might do in a similar position and other stories in ...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
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