Saturday, September 11, 2010

Matheson Uncollected Volume Two

In many ways Matheson Uncollected Volume Two (Gauntlet Publishing) is the most unique of all Richard Matheson collections inasmuch as it contains two horror novels that Matheson decided to set aside plus his own screenplay for "What Dreams May Come" as well as ten short stories, two of which have particularly interesting histories.

"Now Die In It" was the short story that sparked the novel Ride The Nightmare, one of Matheson's tightest, sharpest suspense novels that was later turned into a very good full-hour Alfred Hitchcock TV episode.

The real discovery here is the western "The Hunt," which was forgotten by the author himself and unearthed by Gauntlet. Suspense, character, color and surprise all packed into one of those short stories that are flawless gems. Hopefully this will now start showing up in other Matheson collections.

There's a collaboration with his son Richard Christian, another previously unpublished short story and overall--and this is what makes this collection important--an overview of a a long and brilliant career. The book reveals the ingenuity and craft that has made Richard Matheson one of the truly great and enduring American storyteller. The handsome collection is a pleasure in every way.

Table of Contents are as follows:

Mountains of the Mind (an unfinished novel)

"Now Die In It" (a short story)

"Where There's a Will" (a short story written with Richard Christian Matheson)

"Getting Together" (a short story)

"Person to Person" (a short story)

"Portrait" and "Portrait Illustration"

"Haircut" (a short story)

"An Element Never Forgets" (a short story)

Red is the Color of Desire (an unfinished novel)

The House of the Dead (an unfinished novel)

"What Dreams May Come" (an unpublished screenplay)

Lettered Edition Only:

"The House of the Dead" (alternate version)

Numbered edition without slipcase is
$75 + p&h


Juri said...

The western you mention, "The Hunt", doesn't seem to be in the table of contents.. Is it under a different title than you mention?

Ed Gorman said...

I looked back at the book and you're correct. It's not in the TOC. But it is in the book. Good point, Juri.

Matthew Bradley said...

This is very strange: my copy of the book clearly has "The Hunt" in the TOC. Perhaps you're referring to the lettered edition, but in any event, I can shed some light on its possible omission. "The Hunt" was a last-minute addition to the book, and one for which we can thank my fellow editor of THE RICHARD MATHESON COMPANION, Paul Stuve. In his ongoing quest to obtain the original magazine appearances of all of Matheson's stories, Paul purchased a copy of the March 1952 issue of WEST magazine that reportedly contained one called "The Hunt," even though he'd never heard of such a story, and presumed it was another of his Westerns published under an alternate title (as has happened before). Lo and behold, it was an honest-to-God "new" story that no bibliography we'd ever seen---or compiled---contained, and as noted, even Matheson himself had forgotten about it. It sounds as though, in all their excitement at finding a "lost" story to include in the book at the eleventh hour, the good folks at Gauntlet neglected to include it in the TOC in some copies. (Just to make things extra confusing, the TOC that Ed reproduced is also missing both of the stories originally published in ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, "Leo Rising" and "CU: Mannix"; don't know if that's a transcription error.)

Ed Gorman said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Matthew.

Paul Stuve said...

I'll add a little more to the discussion here: The advance reading copy of the book is the one with the TOC omissions. I noticed that "The Hunt" was missing when I got my ARC and I alerted Barry, who said that they had already caught the error and had corrected it for the final books. I did not notice any other missing titles, and I don't have access to my copies of the book at the moment, so I can't comment on the EQMM entries.

As for "The Hunt", as Matthew mentioned, when I found the magazine I thought it might have been an alternate title of a previously published Matheson story, although the early publication date (1951) made that unlikely. More likely, I thought, was that the story was not really by Richard but by "Charles Matheson" or some other author, and the seller had incorrectly identified the author. (I've had this happen before in my hunt for Matheson stories.) But it was indeed Richard Matheson, and Barry confirmed with Richard that it was his story, long since forgotten. It's nice to have it available again after all this time.

Matthew Bradley said...

Thanks, Paul. Figured it must be something like that. And bravo for giving us a "new" Matheson story!