Ed's Place: "Richard Matheson
I can't think of any writer of our time who has written as many acknowledged masterpieces as Richard Matheson. Combine I Am Legend, The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, Journal of The Gun Years, and a few others--and who else comes close?"
Ed Gorman's comments about Richard Matheson are as good an occasion as any for me to repeat one of my favorite stories about the power of books. When I Am Legend appeared in paperback, I bought it off the spinning rack in DeGuire's Bookstore in Mexia, Texas. I thought it was about the best thing I'd ever read, so I read it again about a week later. I still thought it was great (I was only 13 or so at the time, but fifty years later, I still think so). A couple of years later, I let a friend borrow it. He told me once, a long time afterward, that he couldn't believe that anyone would let him borrow such a wonderful book. He bought his own copy and became an avid SF reader after that, and a collector as well. He let another friend of ours borrow his copy, and a month or so ago I saw that friend for the first time in many years. One of the things he mentioned was how much he'd enjoyed reading SF when we were in high school, and the first book he mentioned was I Am Legend.