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The Loneliness of Richard Matheson’s Sci-Fi

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Richard Matheson is the author of dozens of fantasy and science fiction novels, many of which have been adapted for film and television.His son Chris Mathison, co-creator of the Bill and Ted film, explores his complicated relationship with his father in new book Conversation with father.

“If you’re interested in my dad, if Richard Matheson is a character you’re interested in, if his story is important to you, I think I’ve got a very specific advantage for this guy,” Chris said in Chapter 520 Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I was his child and I was very, very close to him for a long time.”

in novels such as I am a legend, shrinking personand echo churning, Richard Matheson combines wild sci-fi concepts with relevant everyday characters. This approach would have profound implications for later authors, such as Stephen King. “[Matheson] Out of fear, he stripped away a lot of the gothic/spider web/dark mansion/candlelight qualities, and he brought in reality and this realism,” Chris said. “I am a legend The realism he gets is truly astounding, that feeling of ‘what would it be like to be the last person alive in a world full of vampires? ‘”

Richard Matheson’s great theme is loneliness. He writes over and over that isolated people struggle to survive amid insurmountable odds.exist Conversation with father, Chris recalls his father’s difficulty connecting with other people. “He and my mom have a lot of friends and they socialize a lot, but I don’t know if he has close friends and that’s the problem,” Chris said. “I’m not sure if he could really open up to anyone. I’m not sure if he ever had another man who could really show himself to him and talk openly about his feelings.”

Chris believes his father used two strategies to deal with his loneliness.One is comfort in the company of animals—his love of dogs is powerfully represented in fiction, such as I am a legend and What kind of dream will come– the other is to devote himself fully to his work. “This guy went to his small office — essentially a converted barn — and he would spend eight hours alone in the office,” Chris said. “He loves it — or he needs it. He thrives on it.”

Listen to the full interview with Chris Matheson on Episode 520 Geek Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Chris Matheson on adaptation:

[My dad] Is a very cost-effective storyteller. He once described what he thought was a good article as “it’s as clean as a hound’s teeth”. He has said so before. His stuff is like that sometimes, just bang-bang-bang-bang. This makes for a great movie because for a movie, you don’t have that long. You have a few hours. I am a legend Not a very long book. It has 160 pages. …so the story he’s already refined is perfect for filming. It’s shocking how many movies are made based on his story.

Chris Mathison Thinking and Destiny Harold Percival:

[My dad] Loved it and embraced it, it actually became his bible, so much so that he ended up writing a book called path, which was his popularization of Harold Percival’s book. If you google “Harold Percival”, if you look at his Wikipedia entry, it basically says that his greatest follower in the world is Richard Matheson, which I think is true. And the book is ridiculous. This book is funny. The book is majestic, pompous, and just a hell of a deceit and stupidity. I couldn’t believe it when I read it. Like, “Dad, how can you believe this? How is this possible?” My dad was a smart guy. I think fear trumps everything.

Chris Mathison What kind of dream will come:

I know he’s writing this book [our family] Both are going to be characters…I remember saying to him, “Dad, I don’t understand. You die in heaven and then mom commits suicide and goes to hell. It’s a weird story.” He was like, “Well, what else could it be? I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know. You can go to hell, right?’ And he was like, ‘Oh, this doesn’t make sense.’ But I thought it was weird, and it made my mom pissed off. She doesn’t like it very much. It was weird for her because there was a long love letter to her at the end. But she committed suicide because without him she couldn’t live and go to hell, he came from heaven to save her. It’s a little weird.

Chris Mathison Bill and Ted’s Brilliant Adventure:

I believe we did it [the police station scene] Almost on set or the day before. This was written at the time.I guess what we wrote didn’t work, so I remember my partner Ed Solomon threw this away [time travel] idea. My first reaction was, “Wow, this is really complicated. Will this work?” It only took me a minute to figure it out. And then it was like, “Oh, right. Well, that’s really funny.” And then we wrote it very, very fast, and the jokes looked fresh. As you enter new territory, you may get some funny jokes.


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