Richard Matheson is to genre fiction what the Beatles are to music: Every artist working today is influenced by him, even if they don’t realize it. Matheson wrote a bunch of Twilight Zone episodes, including arguably the most famous episode, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, wrote the novel on which I Am Legend and The Omega Man are both based, and wrote a slew of other stories that have been adapted many times and in many different forms.
Matheson’s Born of Man and Woman, his first published short story (when he was 24 years old), remains one of my favorites. I can’t remember how old I was the first time I wrote it, but he’s one of those authors whose work I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember.
He died today, aged 87, and leaves behind a family of writers.