As I’ve said in multiple reviews centering on the works of Richard Matheson, the best news in all the recent Hollywood adaptations of his work is that much of the Matheson catalog is coming back into print, allowing readers to discover that Matheson is much, much more that the guy who wrote, “I Am Legend.”
I will have to admit I was a bit surprised to find out the recently released “Real Steel” was based on a short story by Matheson. That fact alone made me want to see the movie more than any of the previews I’d seen for the film or the buzz I’d heard surrounding the film. (Honestly, it looked like little more than Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie).
How much or how little of the original short story remains in the movie remains to be seen. But it should be interesting to see when I finally get around to seeing it (most likely when it hits DVD).
The good thing with a short story collection is that if you don’t love one story, there’s always another one coming up soon that may be more appealing. As a collection, “Steel” is far more hit and miss than the other Matheson collections I’ve read, but there are still a few gems in here. The title story is fairly well done, though it’s not quite up the standards of other more solid entries in this collection. (Interestingly, it was turned into a “Twilight Zone” episode with Lee Marvin in the lead role. Fascinating to read it and then watch the episode).
In fact, several of the stories in here feel like they’re ready to be translated into “Twilight Zone” episodes. Several early entries all lead up to that twist or tweak of things that linger with you after the final paragraph is read.
However, the misses in this collection outweigh the hits (see what I did there?!?) and I have to admit I was left feeling a bit less satisfied overall than I have been with previous collections. There aren’t any out and out terrible stories, but there’s not really a great one in here either.