Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Button, Button"

To be honest with you, there's really not much to say about the title story of this short story collection by Richard Matheson, author of "I Am Legend". "Legend" was a magnificent read, very much different from the most recent Will Smith film (took place in different times; the creatures could talk and were very clearly vampires; the dog was not so important; etc.). Based on this, I had read somewhere, possibly Wikipedia, that "Button, Button" was also in the process of being made into a film, starring Cameron Diaz and directed by Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko", "Southland Tales"). So, being the read-the-book-before-the-film-came-out buff that I am, I immediately went over to pick up a copy.

I finished this book on the same day that I finished "The Killing Joke", which is written about below this post. It was 10 pages. 10 8th grade reading level pages, in which next to nil happens. A pleasant married couple gets a visit from a stranger who offers them a box with a button on it. It is explained that if the button is pressed, $50,000 will be sent to the couple's banking account. At the same time, someone that the button presser doesn't know will die.

Explaining this plot alone has probably spoiled about 5 pages. I have to say that I was disappointed with the story and the outcome. "Button, Button" would probably be a true example of work being transformed into a big deal solely based on the author's literary reputation alone. Characters, story, atmosphere, tone, plot, none of these things really ever come close to being developed. That's.......really all I can say about that.

I've went into the other short stories: a man trying to care for his wife who has been bitten by a vampire, a couple traveling in the MidWest American desert and going to a diner where the husband ends up missing. They were all, to say the most, pretty disappointing. The collection may entertain those who know exactly what they're getting, but otherwise, I would recommend that you keep your money and wait to see how the film will fare.