Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Incredible Shrinking Man” as Want to Read:
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Incredible Shrinking Man

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  4,114 ratings  ·  234 reviews
While on holiday, Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of radioactive spray shortly after he accidentally ingests insecticide. The radioactivity acts as a catalyst for the bug spray, causing his body to shrink at a rate of approximately 1/7 of an inch per day. A few weeks later, Carey can no longer deny the truth: not only is he losing weight, he is also shorter than he was a ...more
Published January 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1956)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Incredible Shrinking Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Incredible Shrinking Man

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

After reading about white male privilege, racial oppression, and gender inequality, I found it interesting that I chose to read a book about a man who is losing his height at nearly an inch per week. Not only is he greatly inconvenienced because he can't reach high shelves, he is also losing his power and significance as a man and a human being and reduced to merely survival. It’s an adventure tale, and it has some horror and sci-fi elements. I like how the story didn’t
Richard Matheson took the platform afforded him by his tremendous skill as a writer and used it as a platform to confront a serious and important issue that had been kept hidden for too long....MALE SHRINKAGE

Here was a man that was WAY ahead of his time. Not only was he a gifted writer with an amazing and wide-ranging imagination, but he was also someone who wasn’t afraid to tackle tough and controversial social issues. From general topics like race relations, war and politics to deeply persona
A Timeless novel, Matheson is such a great writer he writes with many themes undead, ghosts, haunted houses , shrinking man and human endeavors, I only wish he had written more novels, this story is of the highest caliber!
This is a story of survival for one man and his emotional and psychological journey as life slips away from beneath his feet Inch by Inch literally. We follow his realization and self-discovery with this fate put before him.

"He looked at her full body again, feeling breath ca
Considering this is a Richard Matheson book, an author who is probably best known for his horror stories, I have initial expectations that this was going to be a scary venture in the same manner as Hell House was when I saw the movie as a child and later on read the book. But in the first fifty pages or so of this novel, my expectations were met in a different way yet it was also something more satisfying which could be what Matheson has intended when he wrote it.

The Shrinking Man tells the sto
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Every day Scott Carey is getting shorter by 1/7 of an inch. The doctors have figured out why -- he was exposed to a combination of insecticide and radioactivity -- but so far they have not been able to make him stop shrinking. Now Scott is only one inch tall and he is trapped in the cellar of his family's rented home with a stale piece of bread, an out-of-reach box of crackers, a sponge, a garden hose, a water heater, and a black widow spider. And in seven
Timeless novel Matheson is such a great writer most of his novels written in the 50s it can outdo many of today's stories. He writes with many themes the undead, ghosts, haunted houses , and human endeavours, I only wish he wrote more novels this story is of the highest calibre! This is a story of survival for one man in this emotional and psychological journey as life slips away from beneath his feet Inch by Inch literally. We follow his realisation and self-discovery with this fate put before ...more
Dec 04, 2008 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah Hadley,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.


Richard Matheson was my Ray Bradbury, the gateway drug to science fiction books as a teenager. I started with his short stories, probably his best and most consistent terrain, marked by no frills narrative, emotional honesty and often a twisting of the knife. Not long after I read I Am Legend, which is sort of the Velvet Underground of vampire novels, in that it influenced countless other properties many of which no doubt made more money than the original ever did. It’s a ridi
Tre millimetri in una cantina (per tacer del ragno)

Alla mia cagnolina sarebbe piaciuto questo libro. Tantissimo. Leggendolo, mi avrebbe chiamato e avrebbe puntato la zampottina sui passi più sofferti, giusto per farmi capire che è veramente poco cortese, e anche di cattivo gusto che io assuma quell’espressione divertita quando la vedo districarsi scocciata da un ciuffo d’erba. Io avrei fatto mea culpa, e avrei ammesso che è vero, ok, non dev’essere divertente misurare quanto un secchiello dell’u
Lo que hace Richard Matheson con ‘El increíble hombre menguante’ no es nada fácil. El mérito de Matheson radica en hacer creíble una historia a todas luces fantástica, la de un hombre que va menguando día a día; y lo hace tan bien que sufres con el protagonista y con todos los obstáculos y padecimientos por los que pasa, en una gran labor por parte de Matheson en la construcción psicológica del personaje.

La historia comienza con una especie de nube radiactiva (un recurso muy de moda en los años
Thank God it’s over.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. From the moment I saw the cover (a tiny man fending off a spider with a spear-sized needle—how awesome is that?), I wanted to read this story by an author I thought could do no wrong.

When I had 5 pages left, I almost stopped reading. Not because I was disappointed with the direction of the plot, but because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

The Shrinking Man is the story of Scott Carey, AKA “The Flash” from DC Comics. (I figure he must
Books like this are the exact reason I no longer read much science fiction. I prefer a fantastical viewpoint - i.e. "it's works that way because it's magic!" to a pseudo-scientific explanation that doesn't make a bit of sense.

Why does Scott Carey shrink at the rate of 1/7 of an inch a day? Well... he was sprayed by radioactive insecticide and the radiation caused the insecticide to mutate and ... wait ... something non-living can mutate? Since when? Ok, well, ignore that bit. See, this insectic
Not impressed. The main character, Scott Carey, is whiney and lacks motivation for doing anything. His main nemesis, the spider, was more conceptual, than real, with only one short battle. The secondary characters were weak and mostly non-existent. His wife, child, even the Tom Thumb character at the circus were boring. It took more than half of the book to explain why he was shrinking an inch per day, and then you were left hanging at the end. Skip it.
Nicole Romine
This is a grim story that explores a man’s desire to live despite the inevitable end he faces as a shrinking man. As he shrinks, the protagonist, Scott, loses more and more of his power, being victimized by teenage bullies, his own daughter, and ultimately a spider. I thought the story was fascinating and Matheson’s descriptions are so realistic and logical it’s easy to accept Scott’s plight. My only issue with “The Incredible Shrinking Man” is that Scott is an incredibly unlikable character who ...more
I love this book, I am now reading it for the third time. A man exposed to a toxic substance starts shrinking. It's very believable, all the thoughts and feelings you would experience, how it changes relationships with wife and children, the dangers that exist as each day you become smaller.

I love the ending. No, I won't tell you how it ends.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's kind of nice when the title of a book is also a perfect, if brief, description of the plot. The shrinking man of the title is Scott, who is shrinking exactly 1/7 of an inch every day. We're watching him during his last week before vanishing entirely, trapped in a basement with little food or water and stalked by an enormous (to him) black widow. Exactly how he got to be this size is shown through a series of flashbacks.

In a way, it's almost like two books. One is a tediously, almost painful
Matheson does pretty much everything he can to ensure the protagonist is hard to sympathise with for most of the book. He is consumed with rage, bitterness and fury at the hand the universe has dealt him. He is entirely self-absorbed, lashing out at his friends, family and the world. No one understand what he is going through, they all laugh at him behind his back and pity him to his face. He feels belittled in every way, not just physically.

So, I can see why many people might dislike this book.
I was looking forward to reading something of Matheson's longer than his short stories, but unfortunately, The Incredible Shrinking Man fell flat for me. The premise is interesting. I watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids over and over as a child and loved the concept of shrinking, of the way the world would change according to the shift in perspective.

However, I found this book bogged down in tedium. I could appreciate the way it related to classic adventure stories, and the theme of manlihood and a
This is a great story about a shrinking man. It really puts you in the increasingly larger shoes of a shrinking man. When a friend of mine saw the cover, they aske "is that like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book?" You really can't judge a book by it's cover. The narrative jumps around between the shrinking man at roughly an inch battling a giant spider, to various points and sizes leading up to that. Imagine how you would be treated if people thought you were a child, imagine realizing your wif ...more
A little too much fighting the spider but otherwise a very good exploration in what life might be like if your body was shrinking smaller and smaller. One bad scene depicting a homosexual as a pedophile but that was the attitude of the 1950's.
Scott is shrinking - at exactly 1/7 of an inch each day. As you can imagine this poses him more than a few challenges. Perhaps best not to read this if you're scared of spiders! What will happen to him in the end? An excellent book, very well written, I loved it.
Per essere un semplice romanzo di fantascienza, non è male. A dire il vero, l’avevo già letto molti anni fa (infatti, il finale me lo ricordavo). Da ragazzina, avevo una discreta collezione di “Urania”, poi andata persa col tempo e i traslochi.

Comunque, tornando al romanzo, ancora non ho letto “Io sono leggenda” (però ho visto il film), ma mi pare che, pur differendo le condizioni al contorno, gli argomenti trattati siano gli stessi. Evidentemente Matheson era interessato a indagare cosa accade
Jeff Miller
In some ways this novel reminds me of one of Matheson's other novels "I am Legion". There is the same feeling of separateness prevailing. In I am Legend the main character is the last man on earth surrounded by vampires. In the shrinking man as Scott Carey slowly shrinks day by day he becomes a man alone in a land of giants. In both novels also addressed is the sexual temptations of a man in this circumstance.

Matheson really does do his thought experiments as novels seriously and you really feel
Charles Dee Mitchell
The last time I watched Jack Arnold's 1957 film version of this novel, which was four or five years ago, I realized that I remembered every moment of it from the handful of viewings I had given it since it first made it to television in the 1960's. I think it is the definitive science fiction film of the 1950's, and I know that opinion is open to challenges, but Arnold's film has been selected for the National Registry by the National Film Preservation Board. I had never felt the need to read Ma ...more
Andrew Walter
Grimly absurd diminutive epic.

Scott Carey, a somewhat embittered everyman, is hit by radioactive spume on his successful brothers yacht, and begins a steady decline in size, from dwarf to living toy, and beyond. An absurd premise is handled beautifully by Matheson here, explored both in grimly realistic terms and contemplative pauses as the titular shrinker is struck dumb along with the reader about how cruel fortune can be.

Carey is a pitiful, self-loathing character whose outlook forms the cent
J.P. Lantern
(originally posted here)

This is a book about a man, Scott Carey, who starts shrinking by a seventh of an inch every day. He has a wife and a child who slowly start to respect him and think less of him (partly a byproduct of their coping mechanisms of losing him) as the book progresses.

That's it, really. That's pretty much the whole book. There's nothing that can be done about the shrinking, and any attempts to cure it fail miserably. And it is all terrific.

Richard Matheson is probably one of the
Jessica Strider
Pros: interesting premise, intense, sympathetic protagonist

Cons: no time for the reader to take in what's happening, the shrinking is offhandedly explained

Scott Carey fights for his life against a giant spider in the cellar of his house, imprisoned by his ever shrinking size. Between trying to find food and water in his dangerous world, he remembers the difficult road that brought him here, losing 1/7th of an inch each day.

Scott is an angry man. From the time his shrinking began he's raged agai
John Wiswell
The Shrinking Man opens breathlessly. Scott flees along a canyon from a gigantic spider. We know the premise if only from the title, so the action confuses us. Why is there a giant spider? Why is our man in the desert?

By starting en medias res, Matheson fools us. We’re actually in a basement with an already very shrunken protagonist. He thinks of his environment in terms of cliffs and canyons when they’re actually water boilers and boxes. This warped perception of the basement is just one of man
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Emphyrio
  • The Centauri Device
  • Life During Wartime
  • Downward to the Earth
  • The Child Garden
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Jem
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • R.U.R. & War with the Newts
  • The Dancers at the End of Time
  • A Fall of Moondust
  • Mockingbird
  • Helliconia Trilogy
  • Odd John
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Pavane
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 A Stir of Echoes What Dreams May Come

Share This Book