Short Stories

Richard Matheson: Acclaimed fantasy, sci-fi and horror writer

Richard Matheson's influence over film and fiction spanned generations. Stephen Spielberg's career was kick-started by Matheson's short story Duel. Stephen King cited him as his biggest influence and waxed particularly lyrical about his novel The Shrinking Man (1956). George A Romero was inspired to make his classic Zombie movie Night of the Living Dead by the way the vampires shambled about in the first film version of Matheson's best known novel, I Am Legend (1954).

Theatre review: The Victorian in the Wall, Royal Court Theatre, London

When Dominic Cooke took over at the Royal Court, he said he wanted to stage more plays about “what it means to be middle class”. Now, as the reins of artistic director pass to Vicky Featherstone, comes possibly the most middle-class play of his era - and very funny on the topic it is too.

Boyd Tonkin: Music can make words bloom again – and not just

Music and literature have blended in harmony ever since (in Kipling's words) "'Omer smote 'is blooming lyre" in Bronze Age Greece, where both lyric and epic verse was sung. Yet we take this fruitful kinship, or twinship, too much for granted. Specialists study the relationships between word, sound and meaning in song-cycles, opera or pop lyrics (sometimes, as in Christopher Ricks's readings of Bob Dylan, with dazzling virtuosity). But opportunities to hear every chord in the music-literature dialogue remain scarce. Hence the value of the Notes & Letters festival, which runs for a second year this weekend. Its participants range from one novelist who is also a ground-breaking musician (Amit Chaudhuri plays a gig with his eclectic east-west band) to another with a sideline as a performer (Andrey Kurkov takes the floor with a Russian-Ukrainian cabaret), and other authors - such as Ali Smith and Janice Galloway – inspired by music and musicians.

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