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The Box: Uncanny Stories

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,394 ratings  ·  220 reviews
What if you were told that you could make a fortune just by pushing a button on a box? But pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world . . . someone you don't know. Would you still push the button?

"Button, Button," Richard Matheson's chilling tale of greed and temptation, is now the basis of The Box, the new film f
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Tor Books (first published April 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  1,394 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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3.5 stars!

Richard Matheson is a legend in my eyes, (see what I did there, bibliophiles?) so when I saw this audio available from the library I immediately checked it out.

Any collection has hit or misses for me. Here, I'll focus on the hits:

Button, Button (I believe this is the story the movie The Box was based on.) If someone came to your door, handed you a box and said: "If you press this button, someone you do not know will die, but you will receive $50,000.", would you press the button?

Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An Audiobook in Portuguese. I only listen to "Button, button", and I found this short story simply genial. It was different from the movie that I watched. ...more
Timothy Urges
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Concept > Execution
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sean Rodman
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Every story in this book disappointed me. Some of them had interesting concepts but they were executed poorly. I haven't seen the movie The Box but I hope they changed the ending. The whole book just felt pretty lazy. ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Five stars means I'll probably read it again. The stories are hit and miss, really, but even a Matheson miss is entertaining. ...more
Dec 19, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Some of the stories were five star but some were 1 star so it received a 3 from me.
BLUF: Short stories aren’t my thing, but I enjoyed the twisted humor.

Button, Button: Short and sweet (view spoiler). I would be happy with a full-length novel on this concept. 3 Stars. (Plot: Couple gets a button that, if pushed, would award them a large amount of money in exchange for the death of somebody they do not know.)

The Girl Of My Dreams: Good concept, but only an okay story. I would like a full-length novel based on the woman in this story. 3 Stars. (Plot:
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Since Richard Matheson's death in 2013, it's become increasingly difficult to find his short story collections for sale. (Every secondhand bookstore seems to have a copy or three of I Am Legend, but this is usually the extent of its holdings in Matheson's work.) But every now and then you get lucky. A few days ago I found a copy of one of Matheson's short story collections, The Box (formerly published as Button, Button: Uncanny Stories), and snapped it up immediately.

Not all of Matheson's storie
Cody Sexton
Jul 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
The title story in this collection is by far the most interesting and is the story to which I will devote the focus of this review.
To those who know anything about Sartre’s philosophy knows that Sartre proffered that as we mature, it becomes evident that we are simply hiding behind various “masks” as a kind of cloak to escape the radical freedom we are condemned to. The box in this story, as in sartres most famous play No Exit, is a room that exposes us as to who we really are, no more hiding.
Feb 09, 2015 marked it as to-read
Picked this up today at the library for a buck and sat right down to read the eponymous story, actually titled, "Button, Button."

First, it's only 15 pages, minus the 3 opening pages.

Second, it's a tad different from the 2 hour length movie made from the same concept.

Third, the build-up was great, but I thought the ending was a complete cop-out.

3 out of 5 Stars for Button, Button.
Ashley Dean
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
In the beginning, I was really excited to read this book. It had all the aspects I looked for in a book that I want to read such as, mystery, shock-factor, and wonder. It begins with a story of this husband and wife who come in contact with a box. But this isn't just any ordinary box, it has a button that has the potential to help the couple make a fortune. Sadly, it comes with a catch, if the couple pushes the button then they are granted a generous amount of money, but a complete stranger must ...more
Justin Newman
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice, quick read with a wide variety of tales. Some of them felt dated, some felt rushed, but a few were quite good. This was a pleasant distraction, though I doubt I would recommend to many due to the odd and confusing nature of a few of these.
Every one of these creepy, unsettling tales is excellent. Highly, highly recommend.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
3-1/2 stars. The title story and some others were superlative and some were meh.
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
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Renee M
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have fairly diverse tastes in reading material , but when I was younger, I spent some time trying to figure out what I liked. So I read a fair number of short story collections in various genres. One name that inevitably proved to be a winner for me was Richard Matheson. He's just got a way with quirk. Funny, smart, surprising quirk. Which is completely addictive. ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.

Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015
I really enjoyed these stories and whilr reading them, for some reason i kept thinking how much fun the author must have had writing them.
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories, reminds me of The Twilight-Zone.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Not Up to Snuff” ~ 3.5 stars

Matheson’s imagination seems to know no bounds; he is indisputably a master of the short form, and it’s easy to see why Stephen King names him as an author he admires. Regardless of the genre (horror, suspense, science fiction), Matheson dazzles with unique imagery, realistic dialogue, and twist endings. But even the best writer has to fail at some point.

The Box is a good collection of short stories—good, not great. There are some truly fine pieces in this book, but
Pam Winkler
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good! Definitely 'uncanny' and not horror or sci-fi or anything. I'd actually characterize the entire thing as part of the 'New Weird' now that I think about it.
Button, Button was good. I thought it had a different ending entirely, since I think I got it confused with another story.
Girl of My Dreams was good.
Dying Room Only was good and not what I thought it was going to be. There were some parts at the beginning where I very much felt for the rural people. I'm from a small town, and the
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Richard Matheson is revered for his imagination but this isn't a great collection. It was a cash cow reissue timed to match up with the release of The Box, a filmic adaption of his short story "Button, Button." "Button, Button" is one of those works like Frank Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" or "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs, very short stories which are remembered primarily for their zinger endings. I'm guessing Matheson can write better than he does in these pieces published in what we ...more
AmberBug com*
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
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
Circa Girl
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Richard Matheson is one of the most influential writers in the horror genre, having written many iconic Twilight Zone episodes, I Am Legend, Hell House and Hammer Horror's The Devil Rides Out. Stephen King himself has listed him as one of his most prominent influences. With those credentials, I knew I could hardly be disappointed with a collection of some of his best uncanny tales and I wasn't. Not every story is strictly horrific in nature, but every single one is striking, darkly energetic and ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: What's in The Box!? 3 31 Aug 25, 2014 04:16PM  

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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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