The Incredible Shrinking Man Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Incredible Shrinking Man

Scott Carey was a typical American family man and business employee until something mysteriously caused his body to shrink an inch per week. The story begins when he is only one inch tall and trapped in his cellar, struggling to obtain food from impossibly high tables and shelves, water from a cavernous garden hose, and safety from a marauding spider. Through flashbacks, his experiences at various sizes in the recent past -- dealing with his wife and daughter's incomprehension and pity, hiding in the cellar when a babysitter comes to watch his daughter, being bullied by teenage youths, living for a time in a doll house, finding one blissful evening of understanding and companionship with a female dwarf at a carnival -- are recounted. Matheson does not stint on the fear, horror, disgust, or erotic regret, though delicately rendered. Originally published in 1956 as "The Shrinking Man," this science fiction classic was retitled in the footsteps of the 1957 movie it inspired.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Tor, Feb 2001, 14.95, 349 pp.
ISBN: 0312856644

    Scott Carey is a typical American family man. He is happily married and loves his wife and daughter. However, everything changes including relationships when the tidal wave of spray soaked him while sunbathing on the top of a boat. Now Cary is shrinking inch by inch into a micro world of the unknown. He has only six days left on the human plane and this is his account of when he became THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN.

    Though this anthology is labeled the INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, it actually contains several other stories besides this classic. Included are great tales like “Duel”, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, and “The Test” that prove that Richard Matheson works not only hold up, but he remains the master of tales that involve an outside force that harm the innocent. Horror meets science fiction at a signpost that Serling would have relished announcing, as this is a great collection worth reading and in many ways better than the several well-done movies that are based on these tales.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Incredible Shrinking Man

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   very upbeat    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Inner Struggle    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   fighting a personal illness/handicap Lifeform altered?    -   Yes Kind of alteration:    -   Given added abilities Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   some scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Incredible Shrinking Man

Richard Matheson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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