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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend (original 1954; edition 2007)

by Richard Matheson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,240198848 (3.86)90
Title:I Am Legend
Authors:Richard Matheson
Info:Tor Books (2007), Edition: 1ST, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, SF Masterworks
Tags:plague, vampires, survival, post-apocalypse

Work details

I Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson (1954)

  1. 20
    The 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 Mouse on the Mile by Stephen King (VictoriaPL)

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» See also 90 mentions

English (196)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (198)
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
Good apocalypse situations/story. Semi-interesting character. (There's only one character worth counting, unless you count the few pages about the dog - Ruth is not interesting.)Silly vampirology, though not as silly as Twilight's. Sort of pointlessly (not-so)enigmatic ending. Left me unsatisfied after leading me along quite nicely before that, other than a few silliness hiccups.

Does not resemble the 2007 film, which I (barely) prefer to the book. The book is about vampires, not zombies, to start. Very little else is similar either. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
One of the best books I ever read. It is really intense. I'm a big fan of vampires and this one is a masterpiece. ( )
  jmbenedetto | Sep 4, 2016 |
I had to crawl out from under a rock to read this book. I actually didn’t know the first thing about it beyond that it was supposed to be some sort of classic science fiction story. If I had known what it was about, I might have saved it for another time. I’m now realizing that the cover I shelved makes the content really obvious, but I rarely pay attention to the covers when I shelve a book. I just shelve the first edition I find when I search for a title; I don’t like to waste time finding the precise edition I own. I do start from the cover when I read my e-books, but the cover in my actual e-book edition is different and doesn’t give any clues.

Even without the cover cluing me in, it was pretty obvious to me within the first page, if not the first paragraph, that this would be a vampire story. Actually, I thought it had more of a zombie feel to it, based on how most of the vampires behaved. I have a limited tolerance for those types of stories, and I’d already read a zombie book earlier this year. This book is only 160 pages though, so it’s a very quick read, and it held my interest. The middle third of the book dragged a little for me, but I enjoyed the rest of it and became particularly interested in it toward the end.

The story centers around one man, Robert Neville, who believes he’s the last normal human alive. I thought Robert was a rather inconsistent character, sometimes making really dumb decisions and sometimes appearing pretty intelligent. He’s an alcoholic, and he definitely has psychological issues. This may all be pretty realistic considering the trauma he’s been through and the horrors he’s seen, but he’s the kind of character who tends to get on my nerves. He reacts emotionally to everything, and usually in such a way that just makes things worse.

Despite the vampires, I do think this is more science fiction than fantasy. The author tried to create scientific explanations for the condition of vampirism and our main character spends some time researching related topics to try to understand what happened. I don’t know if those explanations would sound the slightest bit plausible to anybody with a medical background, but my own ignorance generated a reaction that was mostly along the lines of “Ok, sure, whatever.”

The book was written in 1954, but it really didn’t feel dated to me. Actually, there were a few times when fictional events from the early to mid-1970’s were referenced and I did a double take, because I’d forgotten that the 1970’s were the future from the perspective of the author. Other than that, there’s nothing much about the story that makes it feel dated.

The ending was interesting, but not terribly surprising for me because it was similar to the ending of another more recently-written book that I’ve read. I don’t want to name that book for fear of spoiling the ending of either book for somebody who has read one but not the other, but I imagine people who have read both might know what I’m talking about.

Over all I enjoyed the story and, like I said, it’s a really fast read. The main reason I’m not rating it higher is because it got pretty tedious in the middle and because the main character got on my nerves quite a bit. ( )
  YouKneeK | Aug 14, 2016 |
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 | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Mathesonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dean, RobertsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasovsky, YuriNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
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
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description

Robert Neville may well be the only survivor of an incurable plague that has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.

By day, he scavenges for food and supplies, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But all the while the infected lurk in the shadows, watching his every move, waiting for him to make a mistake....

Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:03 -0400)

(see all 5 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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