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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
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I Am Legend (original 1954; edition 2007)

by Richard Matheson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,815184960 (3.87)82
Member:pearld
Title:I Am Legend
Authors:Richard Matheson
Info:Tor Books (2007), Edition: 1ST, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, SF Masterworks
Rating:****
Tags:plague, vampires, survival, post-apocalypse

Work details

I Am Legend: The Complete Novel, Plus Several More Unforgettable Tales by Richard Matheson (1954)

Recently added byeris2501, private library, Cheryl_in_CC_NV, oligarki, RCW, ReadingRoom114, powderedplum
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    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.
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» See also 82 mentions

English (179)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (181)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
I did like that a 60 year old novella didn't seem dated. As I don't generally read horror, I can't objectively judge the title story or the bonus shorts. What I find horrifying is the things people do to each other. Supernatural stuff is boring, imo. I found this book... ah... whatever. Maybe the problem is that the author tried to be a little more subtle and literary. Or maybe it's just me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
excellant! ( )
  karyberg | Feb 27, 2015 |
Classic Convergence of Science Fiction and Vampires

This haunting and original 1955 science fiction novel started the modern post-apocalyptic vampire genre. It is called the first modern vampire novel and influenced the zombie genre as well. However, the movie with Will Smith is at best loosely inspired by it. I fear many people will not read the book because they have seen this or one of the other movies inspired by the novel. That would be a shame.

The novel has roots in science fiction and has spawned dozens of other books and movies. Three movie adaptations were directly inspired by it,but in all three movies very little of the original novel remains.

Richard Matheson wrote a number of episodes for the Twilight Zone including “Nightmare at 20,000 feet” and “Steel.” Stephen King listed him as a creative influence and once said, "without Richard Matheson I wouldn’t be around.” The 1957 movie the Incredible Shrinking Man is based on his story. There is even a character named "Senator Richard Matheson," who appears in several episodes of the X-Files as a tribute to his influence. I could go on, but you get the idea, his influence has been great.

Within the vampire and zombie genre this is a superior story. If you want to know the plot of this superior novel, you can find it online. I won’t be the spoiler. I will say that if you enjoy this kind of story this is a novel you should read.

Recommendation: Don’t judge this book by any of the movies inspired by it. They are at best passing entertainment. This novel remains original and haunting. I found myself mulling it over in my mind days afterward. I recommend it. Five stars. ( )
  KylePratt | Feb 14, 2015 |
An astounding vampire tale that makes me rethink everything I know about vampire stories!

Synopsis:

Robert Neville is the last man on earth. Everyone else has been affected by a deadly disease, known as vampirism. During the day he searches for anyone left living, as well as destroying the vampire monsters. By night he boards up his house, drinks away his loneliness and prays for morning. Continually haunted by the image of his wife, Neville attempts to survive for as long as he possibly can, but toiling away day in and day out, with no hope of any change, how long has he got?

Review:

This book is just fantastic. It’s the sort of book I just want to give to every person and say “read it, read it now.” It’s intelligent, it’s different it really changed the way I thought of the vampire genre. Robert Neville is such an interesting character, he deals with such pain and turmoil and Matheson highlights the hardships Neville encounters, and how much he has to fight just to stay alive every day. He lives a monotonous life, fixing his house, killing vampires, drinking, eating and sleeping. He doesn't have any hope for a brighter future.

This book has been the inspiration for so much in Hollywood, three different movie adaptations as well as inspiration for various cult classics and the zombie genre. It also reinvented the vampire narrative, instead of focusing solely on the vampire and it’s destroying the world, Matheson employs science and rationalisation, in order to understand the vampire genre.It is an interesting and original mix of horror and science fiction, and it leaves you feeling unsettled. It also makes it feel much more real. Vampirism isn't exactly the most believable of diseases, but environmental problems causing sand storms and the migration of mosquitoes containing the virus sounds infinitely possible and adds a very frightening and real tone to the novel.

This book had me completely hooked from the outset, I so wanted Neville to win, wanted him to find people and start a new life and live happily ever after. But that is not to be. He becomes obsolete, the reminder of a race that once was, he instils fear in the people of Earth. The novel really looks at the idea of loneliness, and grief, as well as the notion of humanity. Does Robert have any humanity left? He claims to be the only human left on Earth, yet he destroys people while they sleep without a blink of an eye. This really is a fascinating story.

It has some great quotable lines, ones that really make you think.

“No longer will you be a weird Robinson Crusoe, imprisoned on an island of night surrounded by oceans of death.”

I'm not going to say too much more about the story, I urge you to read this though, don’t just watch the movie adaptations because they don’t for a second do justice to this wonderful wonderful book. ( )
  ColeReadsBooks | Feb 3, 2015 |
Nice but most of the other stories are meh. ( )
  Hack | Jan 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
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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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Epigraph
Dedication
To HENRY KUTTNER with my grateful thanks for his help and encouragement on this book.
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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