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I Am Legend [collection] by Richard Matheson
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I Am Legend [collection] (1954)

by Richard Matheson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,6151671,035 (3.87)81
  1. 20
    The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar in many ways. Each stays in the head of a solitary hero, isolated by unnatural events beyond his control, struggling to hold onto his sanity and his sense of self.
  2. 10
    No Blade of Grass by John Christopher (crdf)
  3. 21
    The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (KatyBee)
  4. 02
    The Green Mile Book 2: The Mouse on the Mile by Stephen King (VictoriaPL)
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English (166)  Dutch (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
The short story was the inspiration for many post-apocalyptic stories that followed. This tale puts its character in world populated by the living dead and the not so living. He may be the last person alive who is immune.

This tale has been used by filmmakers. Of course there is Will Smith's version of the story. It also inspired Omega Man and Night of the Living Dead.

The story is creepy. You don't know if the character will live or die, what he will encounter, or what is going on in the wider world. Matheson characterizes them as vampires, but they could just as easily be zombies.

The book feels a bit dated. It was written in the 1950s and the plot takes place in the 1970s. The most startling for me was the character adjusting the "choke" on his car.

I Am Legend itself is only about 150 pages. My edition also included about a dozen other short stories by Matheson. Some are better than others. Prey was adapted into one of the stories in the 1975 TV film Trilogy of Terror. As with any collection of short stories, some are better than the others. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jul 23, 2014 |
Overall I think this collection of stories was good. Matheson is so skilled in writing vivid descriptions and his use of impressive diction is superb. However, I found that most of the stories had great descriptions, but not much plot so the idea was interesting but there wasn't any real story behind it. For the most part it seemed that Matheson struggled to find a balance between keeping the reader satisfied and keeping the reader confused in order to engage him or her. Most of the stories I either found myself completely confused by or feeling bored because they were so predictable. It seemed Matheson either left it open-ended and unsatisfying or beat the story into the ground with repetition. Matheson has a true gift of creating alternative worlds throughout his writing, but a good number of them have little to no plot.

1. "I Am Legend"- (3 stars) At first I was really into the story. Matheson did a great job of creating a three-dimensional character who was interesting even though he was alone. However, throughout the middle it seemed like Matheson tried to hard. The story felt strained and boring. The end was okay; it was satisfying and poetic with some great points regarding humanity. Overall, I liked it and it was still better than the movie.

2. "Buried Talents" (1 star) This is one of the stories that I found unsatisfactory and confusing. The descriptions were amazing, but the story didn't really go anywhere. Not much plot and not very exciting. Too confusing for me to really get into.

3. "The Near Departed" (1 star) While this was a really brief story, the ending was very predictable. Not enough of a twist to really make it an interesting read.

4. "Prey" (2 stars) This one was okay. Again, I really liked the descriptions. But on the whole, it was a standard horror story. Interesting plot but dragged on a little too long with endless descriptions.

5. "Witch War" (2 stars) Despite the descriptions, I was pretty bored throughout this story. Pretty much just description and no real plot.

6. "Dance of the Dead" (3 stars) This one was pretty cool. I liked the story, but it didn't really go anywhere.

7. "Dress of White Silk" (2 stars) Another slightly confusing tale. Interesting narration. A lot of filling in the blanks as to the narrator's background. Okay twisted ended.

8. "Mad House" (3 stars) Very drawn out, but with a good idea for a story. Similar to "Prey", I feel this story was drowned out by descriptions. Great world development, but not enough plot to back it up.

9. "The Funeral" (3 stars) Cool story. Nice descriptions. Nothing amazing though.

10. "From Shadowed Places" (2 stars) Pretty stereotypical story of cultural relativism. The question of race popped up, but was never really addressed. There was a deep feeling of Otherness when characters who were black were described. Interesting story.

11. "Person to Person" (4 stars) This was by far my favorite story in this book. It contained the perfect balance of confusion and satisfaction. I absolutely loved it. While I wouldn't say it makes the whole book worth reading, I would highly recommend this story to anyone. ( )
  CareBear36 | Jun 10, 2014 |
Richard Matheson has a wonderful imagination. His story quickly draws us into a horror world of death rising and walking, the end of human-kind as we know it.

If you are expecting a story that reads like the "Omega Man" or the movie "I am Legend" then, other than the basic story line, you may be disappointed. However, if you are familiar with Matheson's writing style and enjoy where is stories take you then you won't be disappointed. The similarities to the movies were welcome, but the differences made it all the more interesting. ( )
1 vote AussiePenMan | Apr 16, 2014 |
I want to compare this with the Will Smith movie.
  ClosetWryter | Mar 3, 2014 |
Rather unexpected.

I AM LEGEND is a book that reads like it was just published, and not like it was written in 1954. The overall perspective and point of view is very modern, as is the frequent references to sexual desire. [I show my ignorance, I know, but I was expecting something more prim from the writing of that era.]

THE BAD
To be honest there were sections of the book that bored me. Mostly brief sections where the main character, Neville, was working on some small project, or recollecting something from the past, or feeling sorry for himself; these things just weren't all that interesting to callus ole me. But overall I AM LEGEND was amazingly well constructed. The science was logical, and Matheson was descriptive enough that the tedium and peril of the day-to-day existence is palpable.

THE GOOD
What earns the book the 5-Stars from me is Neville's reasoning and analysis as he tries to figure out the mystery of the contagion. Plus the plot twist at the end... So well done.

I'm so glad I finally read this classic. It's very much the seminal work in apocalyptic literature that others have told me it was. ( )
1 vote PamFamilyLibrary | Feb 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Mathesonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dean, RobertsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasovsky, YuriNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
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Disambiguation notice
This is the work for a short story collection, which includes the novella "I Am Legend". Please do NOT combine it with the main "I Am Legend" work which just contains the novel.

Stories contained in this work are:
I am legend --
Buried talents --
The near departed --
Prey --
Witch war --
Dance of the dead --
Dress of white silk --
Mad house --
The funeral --
From shadowed places --
Person to person
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031286504X, Paperback)

One of the most influential vampire novels of the 20th century, I Am Legend regularly appears on the "10 Best" lists of numerous critical studies of the horror genre. As Richard Matheson's third novel, it was first marketed as science fiction (for although written in 1954, the story takes place in a future 1976). A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease, but the grim irony is that now he is the outsider. He is the legendary monster who must be destroyed because he is different from everyone else. Employing a stark, almost documentary style, Richard Matheson was one of the first writers to convince us that the undead can lurk in a local supermarket freezer as well as a remote Gothic castle. His influence on a generation of bestselling authors--including Stephen King and Dean Koontz--who first read him in their youth is, well, legendary. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As the last living person on Earth, Robert Neville spends his days hunting vampires and nights barricaded inside his home while the vampires come after him.

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