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Die seltsame Geschichte des Mr. C (1956)

von Richard Matheson

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
7183024,427 (3.79)49
While on a boating holiday, Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of radioactive spray. A few weeks later, following a series of medical examinations, he can no longer deny the extraordinary truth. Not only is he losing weight, he is also shorter than he was. Scott Carey has begun to shrink. Richard Matheson's novel follows through its premise with remorseless logic, with Carey first attempting to continue some kind of normal life and later having left human contact behind, having to survive in a world where insects and spiders are giant adversaries. And even that is only a stage on his journey into the unknown.… (mehr)
  1. 00
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers: A Novel von Jack Finney (sturlington)
    sturlington: classic '50s sci-fi
  2. 00
    Echoes : Stimmen aus der Zwischenwelt , der Roman zum Film. von Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar themes and protagonist.
  3. 00
    Cold War in a Country Garden von Lindsay Gutteridge (Michael.Rimmer)
  4. 00
    I Am Legend and Other Stories von Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar in many ways. Each stays in the head of a solitary hero, isolated by unnatural events beyond his control, struggling to hold onto his sanity and his sense of self.
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It’s a Small World ...

Most probably know this novel in its film form, which author Richard Matheson helped adapt to the screen. However, it is worth reading the original novel version because some aspects of the it never made it to the screen or were changed (such as the child molestation scene or his infidelity with Clarice).

Reading the novel provides you with a deeper understanding of the conflict shrinking, that is, becoming less a man, arouses in Scott Carey. His self-image, you might argue, is very 1950s and dated. While this may be true for a portion of the population, expectations change slowly for many people, and so Scott’s increasing feelings of inadequacy, his loss of his manly privileges, his sense of personal failure in not being able to provide for his family or make love to his wife, and his compensation strategies, particularly that of being primal male living by his wits (most strongly reflected in overcoming his spider fear and then dispatching his bane, the black widow, in the cellar). Ultimately, after much shrinkage and even more self-self-flagellation over his plight, Scott comes to terms with himself and looks forward to exploring new worlds, down to the subatomic.

The novel’s also interesting for the way Matheson has structured it. He divides the story between Scott as a seventh-inch man trapped in the basement of a house scavenging for food and water while fending off his personal imagined fears and the real fear of the black widow, and the process of Scott’s shrinking. In each scene of Scott reducing, we learn more about the indignities he has suffered and the concerns he has endured. With each scene, we grasp a bit more about his plight and how he finally ended up in the basement, forever separated from his family. (The film version is traditional linear storytelling.)

While classified in the science fiction genre, The Shrinking Man is as much, or perhaps more, a psychological thriller and a primer on the social structure and male exceptions of the 1950s. All in all, worthy of being included in the Library of America editions, and of your time.
( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
It’s a Small World ...

Most probably know this novel in its film form, which author Richard Matheson helped adapt to the screen. However, it is worth reading the original novel version because some aspects of the it never made it to the screen or were changed (such as the child molestation scene or his infidelity with Clarice).

Reading the novel provides you with a deeper understanding of the conflict shrinking, that is, becoming less a man, arouses in Scott Carey. His self-image, you might argue, is very 1950s and dated. While this may be true for a portion of the population, expectations change slowly for many people, and so Scott’s increasing feelings of inadequacy, his loss of his manly privileges, his sense of personal failure in not being able to provide for his family or make love to his wife, and his compensation strategies, particularly that of being primal male living by his wits (most strongly reflected in overcoming his spider fear and then dispatching his bane, the black widow, in the cellar). Ultimately, after much shrinkage and even more self-self-flagellation over his plight, Scott comes to terms with himself and looks forward to exploring new worlds, down to the subatomic.

The novel’s also interesting for the way Matheson has structured it. He divides the story between Scott as a seventh-inch man trapped in the basement of a house scavenging for food and water while fending off his personal imagined fears and the real fear of the black widow, and the process of Scott’s shrinking. In each scene of Scott reducing, we learn more about the indignities he has suffered and the concerns he has endured. With each scene, we grasp a bit more about his plight and how he finally ended up in the basement, forever separated from his family. (The film version is traditional linear storytelling.)

While classified in the science fiction genre, The Shrinking Man is as much, or perhaps more, a psychological thriller and a primer on the social structure and male exceptions of the 1950s. All in all, worthy of being included in the Library of America editions, and of your time.
( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Not impressed. The main character, Scott Carey, is whiney and lacks motivation for doing anything. His main nemesis, the spider, was more conceptual, than real, with only one short battle. The secondary characters were weak and mostly non-existent. His wife, child, even the Tom Thumb character at the circus were boring. It took more than half of the book to explain why he was shrinking an inch per day, and then you were left hanging at the end. Skip it. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
This is the book filmed in the 1950s as The Incredible Shrinking Man. Matheson also wrote I am Legend, the short story Duel (filmed by Spielberg) and several episodes of The Twilight Zone—which is what this book reminded me of: a cut-down version would have made a good T Zone episode.
    It's a lot darker than the movie though; bleaker, Scott Carey's suffering more relentless. He endures hunger, cold and despair. Also, as his body shrinks, his ego shrinks with it: we see a strapping six-footer no longer able to satisfy his wife; and reduced, briefly, to living in a dollshouse. In its way, like I am Legend, it's a sort of Last Man Left On Earth story too: as he dwindles further, he leaves the human world behind altogether: loneliness becomes an even bigger enemy than that Spider.
    Incidentally, for anyone who likes Shrunk-Down stories, there's another (Cold War in a Country Garden by Lindsay Gutteridge, from the 1970s) which is about as different in tone as could be. ( )
  justlurking | Jul 4, 2021 |
Non è il mio libro preferito di Matheson, ma vale la pena di leggerlo, specie per la scrittura ancora fresca, nonostante sia stato scritto nel mio anno di nascita... ( )
  ginsengman | Mar 29, 2021 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (10 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Matheson, RichardHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Giancola, DonatoUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Hooks, MitchellUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Morrissey, DeanUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Paillé, J. M.UmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Rossetto, EladiaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Strassl, LoreÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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First he thought it was a tidal wave.
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Memory was such a worthless thing, really. Nothing it dealt with was attainable. It was concerned with phantom acts and feelings, with all that was uncapturable except in thought.
Responsibility in the jungle world was pared to the bone of basic survival. There were no political connivings necessary, no financial arenas to struggle in, no nerve-knotting races for superior rungs on the social ladder. There was only to be or not to be.
To love someone when there was nothing to be got from that person; that was love.
But to nature there was no zero. Existence went on in endless cycles. It seemed so simple now. He would never disappear, because there was no point of non-existence in the universe.
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While on a boating holiday, Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of radioactive spray. A few weeks later, following a series of medical examinations, he can no longer deny the extraordinary truth. Not only is he losing weight, he is also shorter than he was. Scott Carey has begun to shrink. Richard Matheson's novel follows through its premise with remorseless logic, with Carey first attempting to continue some kind of normal life and later having left human contact behind, having to survive in a world where insects and spiders are giant adversaries. And even that is only a stage on his journey into the unknown.

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