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The Incredible Shrinking Man | [Richard Matheson]

The Incredible Shrinking Man

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.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the terrifying novel that inspired the classic motion picture.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Science Fiction, 2007

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (128 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
 (43)
2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Overall
3.8 (59 )
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3.7 (60 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Andrew mORRINSVILLENew Zealand 09-09-06
    Andrew mORRINSVILLENew Zealand 09-09-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    343
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    "Outstanding."

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 03-10-08
    Thomas 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What would it Really be like..."

    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.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 02-20-13
    Amy 02-20-13 Member Since 2006

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Dark, Thought-Provoking Psychological Journey"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. K. Scales Winston-Salem, NC USA 04-19-14
    D. K. Scales Winston-Salem, NC USA 04-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I had to give up on the narration..."

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 05-02-12
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great coming of age story"

    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'.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne McQuaide Decatur, Georgia USA 03-19-08
    Suzanne McQuaide Decatur, Georgia USA 03-19-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chemicals, Sex and Violence"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley P. Valentine 10-27-14

    Ears picking up the slack so my eyes can work.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Mixed feelings..."
    Any additional comments?

    I LOVE the idea of this story. A shrinking man. I always had an image of what this story would be. It wasn’t like what I thought at all. And it wasn’t better. It’s well written. But DATED. Very hard to relate to because as the guy shrinks, he’s wrapped up in his ego as conditioned by a man of the 1950s. And there’s a lot of angst. The guy is really nasty to his family and we get that over and over again. It got old real fast.

    It’s a great idea. I’d love to read a good writer take another crack at this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CJ LUCAS, TX, United States 10-16-14
    CJ LUCAS, TX, United States 10-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Classic Must TRead"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Incredible Shrinking Man to be better than the print version?

    Yes, it's like comparing "Wine" the book to actually drinking it.


    What other book might you compare The Incredible Shrinking Man to and why?

    This is a stand alone classic. It's rich with emotion and heartache, then suddenly you find yourself as elated as the character.


    What about Yuri Rasovsky’s performance did you like?

    He read it with the frustratiing madness the character was feeling.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not extreme, since I already knew the story but it did leave me wanting, craving more, to KNOW how it ends not just how the book ended.


    Any additional comments?

    Written and read without a lot of "he said, she said", was a very nice touch compared to some I've read lately. It's written so well I almost got clostrophobia, as I followed this mans journey. It's not full of a lot of high-tech jargon that unnecessary to the story, each word is there for a reason. Sit back close your eyes and spend the next few hours feeling yourself get smaller and smaller. A great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ugh"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you are already Matheson's fan, you might like it.


    Has The Incredible Shrinking Man turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Yuri Rasovsky’s performances?

    No way.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Incredible Shrinking Man?

    The never-ending description of how Scott gets to the top of the fridge, the frequent comparisons to how everyday objects look to him.


    Any additional comments?

    I am not sure which turned me off more, the story or the narration. The chewing-and-spitting-words method of the narrator, and his over dramatisation certainly did not help this too much in-your-face existential allegory.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Lansing, MI 04-13-11
    Chris Lansing, MI 04-13-11 Member Since 2007
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    "A bit of a letdown"

    I chose this book because I am a Stephen King fan and this is one of the few books he'll go on record to recommend. All in all the book really stretched my imagination but only to a certain point. Most of the book takes place in a basement and toggles between current time and flash backs. A neat literary trick but I think SK pulled it off better in IT than Richard Matheson did here. You could see the flashback transitions coming a mile away and honestly, became a bit repetitive and I got tired of constantly "flipping channels" in my head between the two.

    I would rate it as an average story, a solid middle of the road and while I don't want my money back, if I knew then what I know now I would have skipped it for another book on my wish list.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Dan
    Huntingdon, Cambs, United Kingdom
    10/11/07
    Overall
    "Incredible!"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Psteve
    North Wales
    6/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not one of Matheson's best, but still a good story"
    Would you listen to The Incredible Shrinking Man again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Incredible Shrinking Man?

    Won't give the story away ;-)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cliff
    Frinton on Sea, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jon
    Bridlington, United Kingdom
    6/30/11
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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