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Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,235 ratings  ·  373 reviews
Remember that monster on the wing of the airplane? William Shatner saw it on The Twilight Zone, John Lithgow saw it in the movie-even Bart Simpson saw it. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is just one of many classic horror stories by Richard Matheson that have insinuated themselves into our collective imagination.

Here are more than twenty of Matheson's most memorable tales of fe
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 5th 2002 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Chuck White The product description doesn't give an exact number, but says there are over 20 stories in this book.

The product description doesn't give an exact number, but says there are over 20 stories in this book.


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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  7,235 ratings  ·  373 reviews

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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 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 though
Bill Kerwin
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it

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.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An audiobook in Portuguese. I only listened to the short story "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", not the full collection. For me, it was an OK text. WIKIPEDIA: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is episode 123 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, based on the short story of the same name by Richard Matheson, first published in Alone by Night (1961). It originally aired on October 11, 1963 and is one of the most well-known and frequently referenced episodes of the series. The story fol ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Good horror stories make you experience the world differently. Unexpected noises make you jumpy. Your slightly odd neighbour begins to look decidedly sinister. You lie in bed thinking that you'll be safe if you don't peek your head out from under your blankets. When you read a good horror story, fear leaks from its pages and infects you.

Richard Matheson’s collection Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories is mostly made up of these sorts of stories.

You’ve probably read I am Legend - Matheson’s
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Nightmare at 20,000 feet is a collection of short stories by horror and weird fantasy genre trailblazing master Richard Matheson.

The collection begins with the title story, a favorite of Twilight Zone fans, both from the show and an episode starring a very young William Shatner and the film featuring John Lithgow in the lead.

This is an excellent way to begin because it highlights Matheson’s psychological style of horror blending the surreal and fantastic. Matheson’s genius is close, subtle, th
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first real foray into Matheson's work that I can remember (I read I Am Legend a very long time ago and can't quite recall it). I knew he was an important and influential author but I had no idea to what extent! It feels to me like he's the author that had the strongest influence on Stephen King. Their style of storytelling and pacing (at least in the short story work) is very similar! And you can also see why he was tapped to write The Twilight Zone episodes and why that show adap ...more
I love Richard Matheson. His short stories are some of the best examples of the craft I've ever seen. He has this way of making me feel like I am a part of the story in a way that works brilliantly, especially considering that Matheson loves an open ending. He lets the reader carry on where he leaves off, and that's one of my favorite things about reading his short stories.

Many of the stories in this collection are ones I've read elsewhere, but listening to them on audio this time was fantastic
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fine Creepfest collection....with no gore.

These 20 works of horror by Richard Matheson kick off with an introduction by Stephen King who says "Without Richard Matheson, I wouldn't be around." And a book dedication that reads "To Stephen King, with much admiration for taking the ball and running with it all the way."

Aside from the iconic first story, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and last Prey, the remaining 18 were all new for me....the oldest from 1951 and newest 1969, with the majority written in t

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of horror/suspense short stories by good writers
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
NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET: ****
PREY: ***

I think it's needless to talk about the way Matheson wrote his stories. The above ratings have n
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
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
3.5 Stars

A couple of really good stories and quite a few not so good stories. Although I might have my expectations set a little too high after reading I am Legend and Hell House.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson should be required reading for all fans of horror. Not just because Mr. Matheson was one of the first Grand Masters of Horror, inducted in 1993 by The World Horror Convention, or because he has been the influence of such authors as Stephen King (Also a Grand Master), but because so many of these short stories were the basis of amazing movies and TV anthologies that we have all enjoyed.

• Nightmare at 20,000 feet (Twilight Zone TV serie
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Absolutely excellent collection of horror short stories. Starting from the first story At 20,000 Feet (you'll easily see how much impact that story made on Stephen King when reading his Langoliers) over Long Distance Call, Slaughter House, The Children of Noah, The Likeness of Julie, Prey... just killers and no fillers. Matheson is an absolute master of short story. You can't put down this volume and you'll cry out for more. Top read! ...more
Troy Blackford
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Holy *crap*, was this a punch in the gut! This collection is for anyone who loves horror. It'll knock your socks off. All kinds of stories: some admittedly better than others, but none of them bad. Many of them exceptional. ...more
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
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad collection of horror/scifi/mystery stories, but there was an ongoing or running theme through many, that of the disgruntled white man who can’t catch a break in present-day society. Blame it on work, the wife, the circumstances of life itself, many of the MCs were just plain miserable and going mad or doing crazy things because of it. Now...

Maybe at the time of the writing – mostly the 1950’s – there were a lot of men questioning things which they hadn’t before. WW2 was over, and even
T.E. Grau
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a perfect book (what book is?), but shows the range and huge chops of Richard Matheson in the short form, as he blend genres but keeps it dark and probing. One of my favorite writers, whom I feel is undervalued a bit in discussions of either our best horror authors, or best American authors in general.

Stephen King's introduction is wonderful, and succinctly reminds the reader just how important Matheson was as a bridge between the decline of the Great Pulpists (Lovecraft, REH, CAS, etc.) an
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fof-reads
Finished it on Halloween - that was nice timing.

Great collection of Matheson scary stories. I enjoyed most of them, as I always seem to like his stuff. A few were stories I'd read before, but it was nice to revisit those too.

Favorites: "Witch War", "The Distributor", "Mad House", and the title story. Most of these would be great as Twilight Zone episodes, and some of them were...
Doreen Petersen
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Wonderful collection of short stories. Not quite to the level of Stephen King but very good. I would recommend this one.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charles Beaumont is still #1 for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.
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
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Carol Storm
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A hero from my childhood -- Richard Matheson wrote "Steel," my favorite Twilight Zone episode, plus he wrote the book that inspired the classic movie "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston and Anthony Zerbe!

I just had to read "Prey" because I remember screaming along with Karen Black in "Trilogy of Terror" as the Zuni doll chased her all around her apartment. My favorite stories were "Blood Son" and "Dress of White Silk." Great American horror!
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
There are some great Matheson classics in this volume! The man is one of the best, in my opinion. My favorites, though it's hard to pick just a few, are Blood Son, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and Prey. This is more of a 4.5 stars, but I guess I'll go with 4. I highly recommend this book! ...more
Jazzy Lemon
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars, a couple of the stories are a bit on the gruesome side, but classic Matheson.
James Hold
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I was extremely disappointed in this collection. RM is a favorite of mine, not my all-time favorite, but one I can reasonably expect to entertain me. The problem is he can be very uneven with just as many clunkers as masterpieces and his screenplays and television scripts are generally better than his prose. I imagine this is because RM is a visual writer and it is better to see his stories than to read them. The collection here reflects his unevenness. Perhaps it represents some of RM's earlier ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of horror stories by Richard Matheson, with an intro by Stephen King. Stephen King makes the point that Matheson is his literary father. I can see that.

This is not a complete collection, alas. For example, it does not contain the story "Born of Man and Woman" which fans of the genre should seek out, if they haven't read it already.

The stories ranged, for me, from 3 stars to 4.5. Highly recommended is "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet". Yes, its based on that Twilight Zone epis
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Richard Matheson is someone I am quite familiar with. I have previously read 'I Am Legend' and I know a couple of his famous Twilight Zone scripts. Seeing that I enjoyed those two samplings of him over the year, I decided to dive into this book of his short stories and what not.

For me, it was a hit and miss. Some of them were boring others were truly creepy. The problem was that his boring stories seemed to outweigh the creepy, good ones.

So I say, if you enjoyed Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and yo
Brian Fagan
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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The Ink to Film B...: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" Discussion Thread 1 5 May 15, 2019 02:38PM  
thriller/horror 3 12 Jan 29, 2015 04:50PM  
Flights of Fantasy: October 2014 - Horror: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet by Richard Matheson 40 41 Jan 04, 2015 12:07PM  

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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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