Eighty-five years ago, on February 20, 1926, Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey. Traditionally, it’s the birthday boy who receives the presents, but as we celebrate this landmark occasion, let’s take a moment to recall some of the imaginative gifts Richard has bestowed upon us over the last several decades:
- A shrinking man, beset by a world grown too large for him.
- A fiendish gremlin on the wing of an airplane.
- A little girl lost between dimensions.
- The last man alive on a world overrun by vampires.
- A starship captain split into his good and evil halves.
- A bittersweet love story somewhere in time.
- The most hellishly haunted house in the world.
- A rampaging semi-truck driven by a faceless maniac.
- A devoted husband searching the afterlife for his lost wife.
- A bloodthirsty Zuni doll stalking an innocent woman.
- An ageless alchemist living in Underground Seattle.
- A man obsessed by a roadside fortune-telling device.
- A button that promises both riches and tragedy.
- Robot boxers with fists of steel….
And that’s not even counting his various screen adaptions of everything from The Pit and the Pendulum to The Night Stalker. For over half a century, we’ve been opening the presents he keeps giving us, and our dreams and nightmares are all the richer for it. And, just in time for his birthday, he’s unwrapped yet another gift: his latest novel, Other Kingdoms.
So blow out your candles, Richard, and enjoy another slice of cake. You deserve it!
In honor of Richard Matheson’s birthday, Tor.com is hosting a huge Matheson catalogue giveaway here.
Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels and short stories. He also works as a Consulting Editor for Tor Books, where he has edited such authors as Richard Matheson, Harry Harrison, Tony Daniel, Rosemary Edghill, Graham Joyce, Keith R. A. DeCandido, and many others.