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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

3.6 (120 )
5 star
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1 star
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3.8 (52 )
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3.7 (53 )
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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
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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 Dripping Springs, TX, USA 03-10-08
    Thomas Dripping Springs, TX, USA 03-10-08 Member Since 2004
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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 Granite Falls, NC, USA 02-20-13
    Amy Granite Falls, NC, USA 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.

    3 of 3 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
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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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Hobart, IN, United States 05-02-12
    Amazon Customer Hobart, IN, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2011
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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'.

    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 03-27-13
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 03-27-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My Incredible Shrinking Interest"

    Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh. I did think the story was an interesting one, even if I did zone-out for long periods.

    The author did a great job of relating how the world must appear to a person only an inch high (and shrinking); it was very imaginatively depicted, and tremendously action-packed, but after a while the scenes started to feel too long and complicated! I could not follow half of the sponge-needle-thread-cracker MacGyverisms … and I got extremely tired of the whole “Man versus Spider” storyline.

    I have a feeling I read this book in High School but I am not sure… it seemed so familiar!! Still, if I did read it I forgot how it ended and that kept me going.

    (I could totally see Bruce Willis in this role! LOL)

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Miami, Fl, United States 02-24-08
    Luis Miami, Fl, United States 02-24-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK"

    The books science and characters were a bit dated in their peceptions but it is a well written book. I recommend it.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Elizabeth, CO, USA 05-04-07
    Jim Elizabeth, CO, USA 05-04-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Shrinking Man"

    Disappointing, considering the author's other work. He goes on and on in much too great detail about the main character's misery and inability to accept his circumstances.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 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
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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