One of the finest and most thought-provoking Speculative Fiction writers has passed away. Richard Matheson was 87, so he had a strong innings, but it is not pleasant to consider. Most people know him from I Am Legend, the film (starring Will Smith, previously filmed as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston and The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price… and probably others I don’t know about) which disappointed.
The biggest problem I have with the film versions is the ending. The hero escapes (or not) from the vampire-like beings who have tried to kill him. But in the book, not only are the creatures more intelligent, but also he is the monster. He is their monster, he is their Legend, hence the title of the book. The ending is much more deep and meaningful and thought-provoking.
And, yes, depressing.
So is his acclaimed film The Incredible Shrinking Man. While mankind was looking outwards towards the stars and the infinitesimal largeness of the universe, he looked in the other direction at the infinitesimally small and what lies within the smallest.
He brought an intelligence to speculative fiction that was (and is) missing from much of it.
So on to something a little lighter. Jeff Sparrow has produced an interesting (but long – be prepared) article on writing here, which is well worth the time taken to read it.
I found this article through one of Australia’s premier Speculative Fiction writers, the man who got me involved in one of the writers groups I am in. Sean Williams is a fine writer, and his Star Wars expanded universe books are amongst the best written. So to finish, let me offer you a guest blog he did, a love letter to writing. Well worth it.