For many people, their earliest exposure to the world of science fiction and fantasy may have come from writer Richard Matheson. Even if you don’t recognize his name you have undoubtedly seen his genre-defying work. Among his television credits are numerous episodes of The Twilight Zone (including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”), Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Have Gun, Will Travel, and Star Trek.
Matheson also has numerous movie credits, including Stephen Spielberg’s first film Duel, which he adapted from his own short story. The Shrinking Man was made into “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957), with Matheson himself writing the screenplay. “The Last Man on Earth” starring Vincent Price (1964) and “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston (1971) are both based on Matheson’s I Am Legend. From his novel Hell House, Matheson created the screenplay for “The Legend of Hell House” Bid Time Return was filmed as “Somewhere in Time” (1980). More recently, his novel What Dreams May Come was adapted to a film starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr (1998). In 1999, Matheson’s A Stir of Echoes was made into a film starring Kevin Bacon. He also wrote the script for the tv-movie “The Night Stalker” as well as the scripts for several Roger Corman films based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe.
Often cited by today's horror and scifi writers as a major influence, Matheson is an important figure in contemporary American genre fiction. With his I Am Legend, Matheson redefined the vampire myth in science fiction terms. The storyline (after a worldwide epidemic, a man finds himself the only person not turned into a vampire) has inspired others. Screen writers George Romero and John Russo (Night of the Living Dead)and Alex Garland (28 Days Later) all acknowledge being influenced by Matheson's novel. Matheson has won many awards, including The World Fantasy Convention’s Life Achievement Award, The Hugo Award and the Bram Stoker Award. With a career spanning decades, Matheson still produces wondrous stories. His most recent novels include: Abu and the 7 Marvels, a story full of genies and magic about a boy on a quest; Hunted Past Reason, about two men who discover long-buried rivalry and hostility; and Come Fygures, Come Shadowes, a story about a reluctant spirit medium that shows another side of modern spiritualism.