I am Legend by Richard Matheson

23 Nov

Favorite Lines: “It was the women who made it so difficult, he thought, the women posing like lewd puppets in the night on the possibility that he’d see them and decide to come out.” (7)

Robert Neville may be the only survivor of a plague that has turned humanity into vampires. There are two kinds living and dead vampires. As far as he knows, the dead vampires are completely ruled by a need to eat and don’t appear to speak well. During the day he fortifies his home and scavenges for food. At night he sits inside his home as the vampires converge upon his dwelling.

Okay first of all, I don’t appreciate the fact that the book I bought has a picture of Will Smith on the cover. The character of Robert Neville is describe in the first 10 pages and he looks nothing like Will. I’ve got no problem with Will playing the part because until today I’d never read the book before, but damn it, don’t mix two completely different things like the movie version with the book version and imply that they’re the same.

From the movie previews I thought there would be much more going on. The book is a short story that is bound with 10 other short stories. It was bundled by TOR publishing and is listed as a movie-tie-in. (ISBN 0-7653-5715-1) It’s 159 pages and I must admit that I feel cheated. I felt like I was buying a book called I am Legend, not an anthology of Matheson’s work. I’m also disappointed that the book clearly takes place over a three year time period and from the previews I’ve seen of the movie, much more time has passed. (How else can a city become overgrown and ruled by wild animals?)

While I’m bitchin’, the story is dated as beginning January of 1976 and ending in January of 1979. The movie is obviously set in a much more modern time frame.

The story was grim. There is no happy ending and as a newbie to Matheson’s work began thinking about it like I was in college. Ooh, the horror! Que horible!

It was not a unique idea about the source of the vampire, but it was quite a different take on how the world could be with vampires in charge and what the world would be like for a single person to have survived vampire’s ruling the world. Want another opinion of the book, go here and here.
Read the book? Let’s talk. Leave a comment.

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4 Responses to “I am Legend by Richard Matheson”

  1. Cliff Burns November 23, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    More readers should be discovering the fine macabre work of Richard Matheson–he’s been an influence on generations of writers and is deservedly considered one of the giants in the horror/suspense field (along with his colleagues Charles Beaumont and Jerome Bixby). Matheson’s short fiction is his strongest suit and I urge you to seek out more work from this outstanding author…

  2. scooper November 23, 2007 at 9:16 pm #

    Cliff- It is definitely dark. It reminds me of a work I’d read in class. I didn’t love it, nor did I hate it. Will I read more? I’m not sure. It’s worth talking about and my best friend loves this kind of work, so probably, yeah.

  3. Rosie November 24, 2007 at 12:24 am #

    Scoop, you are done with parties and I’m just getting started. Beginning with Thanksgiving and through New Years we have a birthday or two almost every week. Unreal. But we’re used to it and I love this time of year.

    I only wish I had more time to read. Glad to see you out here reviewing again.

  4. scooper November 24, 2007 at 1:40 am #

    Rosie- I want to wish you the best of luck. I think that you’re a strong/brave woman to spend that much family time together, even if it is throwing parties (the menus, invitations…). I hope you have a great season and find a little bit of down time to curl up with a good book.

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