Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lemmings by Richard Matheson

I just finished reading a very short story called "Lemmings" by Richard Matheson.  I wanted to share and surprise - it's actually online.  One of the best end of the world stories.  On the site it's mentioned that they tried to ban this story and the author.  Since this is banned books week, why not a short story?

6 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I read this one back in the '50s when it was in a magazine. Can't remember which one. Still remember it.

sandra seamans said...

It really sticks with you, Bill. I was very surprised to find it online as most of his work isn't available except in print.

Dusty said...

I've no problem with Richard Matheson. He's obviously great.

I just wanted to say, that the idea of Lemmings marching to their death is a myth. They don't actually follow each other over cliffs and into streams. I mention this because I see it used in stories even now. The basis for the myth comes from a Disney documentary in which the filmmakers imported Lemmings into Canada and forced them into suicidal behavior.

Yesterday I was reading Gillian Flynn's "Dark Places" and she used a phrase like "Lemming-like march to the death", you'd think that myth would be dispelled by now. (BTW, Dark Places is awesome, and not for the queasy.)

Anyway, there's a post for you Sandra, inform writers that Lemmings don't behave that way and that they should refrain from using the reference in their writing.

http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp

sandra seamans said...

I'm reminded of the newspaper man in the move "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". When in doubt print the legend. Myths are what they are, Dusty, and people would rather believe them than not.

S. A. Merk said...

I agree Sandra. Hate to say it but the very idea of a Myth is something that is most likely not founded in truth, but rather a series of collected stories and beliefs that take on a life of their own.
Whether it's true or not - certain myths will always have a familiarity with readers.
The moon is not a dairy product.
Painted eggs are not left by giant rabbits.
A fat guy in the north does not stalk children all over the world keeping a record of their deeds.
and...
Small rodents don't follow each other off cliffs.
But wow....sounds like some great plot devices/story elements don't they?
Thanks for the link. Great to find his work online.

sandra seamans said...

Welcome to the Corner, S. A.! And yes, they all sound like the beginnings of some great stories :)