Inch by inch, day by day, Scott Carey is getting smaller. Once an unremarkable husband and father, Scott finds himself shrinking with no end in sight. His wife and family turn into unreachable giants, the family cat becomes a predatory menace, and Scott must struggle to survive in a world that seems to be growing ever larger and more perilous, until he faces the ultimate limits of fear and existence.
©1956 Richard Matheson; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks
"A horror story if ever there was one....A great adventure story, it is certainly one of that select handful that I have given to people, envying them the experience of the first reading." (Stephen King)
"A classic of suspense as poignant as it is frightening, a mix that only Richard Matheson could pull off." (Dean Koontz)
Gripping, tense, thought provoking, well written, outstanding narration. A metaphorical exploration of one mans rage against a world seemingly determined to bring him down. This book is about anger, hope, courage, defeat and redemption. Ignore the "b-grade" allusions of the title, this book is literature of the highest quality.
To slowly and actually shrink. From 6 ft, to 3 ft, to 1 ft, then to an inch, less than an inch. How would you get food? How would you get water? How would you feel? This is what Richard Matheson does so well.... create incredible circumstances, put real people in them, and describe the reality of how they feel and survive. If your expecting something cute like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, then move on. This book dwells deep into the emotional drain on the main character who is actually shrinking. It explores his fear, desperation, anger, and loneliness (don't worry, there's also plenty of adventure and excitement).
I loved this book, and highly recommend it for a fun and at times emotional read. The narration was also very well done.
Say something about yourself!
This novel tells the story of Scott Carey who, because of exposure to a cloud of radioactive spray shortly after he had accidentally ingested insecticide, ends up shrinking at a rate of approximately 1/7 of an inch per day. He encounters all kinds of perils as he diminishes, from a drunken pedophile to sadistic street toughs, from the spider in the basement to the elements themselves, but this is first and foremost a psychological novel about the uncertainty of the individual in the 1950s and his/her place in the possibly futile, certainly alien post-war world.
For example: "What he wanted to know was this: Was he a separate, meaningful person; was he an individual? Did he matter? Was it enough just to survive? He didn't know; he didn't know. It might be that he was a man and trying to face reality. It might also be that he was a pathetic fraction of a shadow, living only out of habit, impulse-driven, moved but never moving, fought but never fighting."
This is a tense, frustrated, dark character study, and it's made all the better by an excellent narration that captures the frustration and fear of the protagonist very effectively.
I actually thought the story was pretty good, although it had a little more profanity than I would have liked. The struggles Scott Carey faced were described in great detail, even to the point of emphasizing things we all take for granted. To try to put yourself in his place is unimaginable, but Matheson makes you ponder it to an unsettling level. At times it was engrossing, at other times it lagged a little, but I enjoyed the read.
That's the main point of my review here on audible, I stopped listening to the audiobook about midway through and just read the rest of the book. The narrator was so over the top, his voice changes so corny, that he just kept taking away all the tension from the story. Vaudevillian is how I would describe it, definitely not right for this story. I'd recommend you read the book, but I'd skip the narration.
The Shrinking Man is akin to Kafka's Metamorphosis ... It speaks wonderfully to 1950's post-war paranoia of the self and natural world.
Matheson should be required reading, and his Twilight Zone episodes include some of the best TV ever produced.
This is a simple story about a man who thinks he's going mad because he starts to get shorter little by little. No 'Spoilers' here. The story follows through the process of him shrinking and shrinking with all the trials he must face. Fear, terror, loneliness, and betrayal. He learns to deal with all of them He also becomes much more as a result of his 'transformation'.
Written in 1956, this book is crying out for a new screenplay. The anger and frustration of a man beset by an unknown physical happening to his body becomes a mental journey into what it means to be human and the search for a reason to live in the face of consuming despair.
This is a haunting story. Yes, I think I would listen to it again...
At times, some of the "Shrinking Man's" thoughts and experiences are very hard to listen to, i.e., his anger, his frustrations, and some of his sexual fantasies and obsessions.
The author hasn't left any situations or mental states out. It is a compelling tale.
I might skip some of the places that were uncomfortable for me to listen to.
It was longer than I originally expected.
What I liked what seeing the spiritual side of the character's perception of his experience. His "growth" as a person was in proportion to his physical shrinking.
I have always loved the movie, "Somewhere in Time." I would like to read/listen to the original book.
Matheson is a conjurer who raises questions in your mind about "reality," and the imagination.
Definitely want to read/listen more samples of his work.
OMG. Mr. Rasovsky's voice is amazing. Listening to this narrator is what continually compelled me to finish this book.
His voice was perfect to complement this eerie story.
The spiritual revelations at the end of the book, and positive outlook that the character experiences in his life, in spite of all the troubles he experienced.
I saw the movie, "The Incredible Shrinking Man," when I was 6 years old.
I never forgot this haunting film.
Several years ago, I spotted a black widow spider outside a friend's home, and moved it (via a small branch) to a tree. I had been intrigued by the scene in the movie with the main character fighting the giant black widow. Seeing a live one, I saw how graceful it was.
I haven't watched the movie again, but am so glad I discovered the audio book. So many facets of the story not included in the movie would have been impossible for me to understand as a little girl.
I never forgot the last scenes when the character is united with the universe.
The book has given me a new insight into the movie, and why I never forgot it.
Enjoyed it almost as much as I am legend. Perfect first person writing , and very quotable.
Having thoroughly enjoyed a previous Richard Matheson story (I Am Legend - also on audible) I was anxious to see if his other work could measure up to its standards. This story is exciting, intriguing and exceptionally well paced. My initial concerns over the narrator were quickly put to rest as after a while you sink into the story. Incredible!
Having listened to several other Matheson audiobooks (I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time, A Stir of Echoes, Hell House, What Dreams May Come) I was expecting more. The inspection of the main characters changing relationship with his family was typical Matheson but his 'adventures' around the cellar were, at times, uninteresting. At times, I found my mind wandering only for me to snap out of it and reach for the rewind button in case I'd missed a good bit. Not his best.
"A Song From Under The Floorboards"
A little above the middle. It's a reasonably interesting science fiction novel from the mid 20th century.
It's a book that everybody knows the film version of, and I'm often intrigued to know what originally happened in these cases. The film is actually pretty faithful to the book, aside from the structure and the chronology. Whereas the film tends to focus on the physical dangers of becoming ever smaller, the book explores the psychological and emotional aspects more. It's good to get both, but on balance the film is more inventive, and its straightforward linear narrative works better than the jumping-between-two-timelines approach in the book.
The science is complete horses' hooves - the square-cube issues are ignored, and the biological explanation for shrinking probably wouldn't convince a biologist - but that's okay because it's the "what if?" of the story.
I'm being perversely literal here, but I'm going for Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and even more so the Magazine song it inspired (see headline).
The song's chorus goes, "This is a song from under the floorboards/This is a song from where the wall is cracked/My force of habit I am an insect/I have to confess I'm proud as hell of that fact." When I listened to it I used to picture the man in the cellar, lonely and tiny and preoccupied with not being eaten by a spider.
The opening of the novel has a similar vibe. The ending is more reminiscent of another Magazine song, Permafrost... but I digress.
Suffice to say it was generally clear who was speaking.
I wasn't overkeen on his reading. For about half the book he sounded as if he was talking angrily through clenched teeth. Later I realised he was trying to reflect the protagonist's mood in his voice, which didn't really work.
Not really - possibly because the reader was overdoing the emotion. If we see that somebody has undergone a tragedy, we tend to be much more sympathetic towards them if they are stoic about it, no matter how much they might be entitled to whinge.
There are some emotional moment nonetheless, notably Scott's meeting with a woman who is temporarily like himself, and the sheer unconsciousness of his wife's changing attitude towards him is convincing and distressing.
The book was originally called The Shrinking Man - no extra adjective. I don't think it needed to be retitled to reflect the film - it's not like the leap from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to Bladerunner, is it?
"Not one of Matheson's best, but still a good story"
Probably, although I wouldn't rush to it. The plot was good, even if it took a little while to get used to it flicking back and forth between the past and present. Plenty of can't-put-it-down spells. I appreciate it isn't supposed to be a 'happy' story, but being intense from beginning to end gave a feeling of wanting to come up for air.
Won't give the story away ;-)
"Beautifully Rounded Adventure"
So much better than the film! Read with style. Very thought provoking and very honest. One of the few books I will listen to again!
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