Button, Button

A lot of time in airports means a lot of time reading. Or at least it does for me — your mileage may vary. My wife and I made a conscious decision to take the trip to New York without benefit of laptops, so reading was the only thing that got me through the airport, to say nothing of the takeoffs and landings.

I like to browse airport bookstores, and was happy to come across Richard Matheson’s short story collection, Button, Button: Uncanny Stories. It’s been retitled The Box to go along with a movie of the same title, based on the titular short story. I’m not sure that last sentence made sense, but I’m going with it anyway.

The title story isn’t the best one , though it’s definitely good — you can see the ending coming from a mile away. But maybe that’s just my vantage point from having read a lot of horror/suspense/mystery fiction. A better story — maybe the best one in the book — is Clothes Make the Man. I didn’t see the ending coming, and that was a delight for me. A Flourish of Strumpets also works as a fun little story with a twisted ending.

As a fan, I like the stories. As an aspiring author, I recognize the workmanship in each one. And I imagine Matheson cackled just a little bit — or maybe quite a lot — while he was writing some of those endings.

As well he should have.


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