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I Am Legend and Other Stories

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  84,275 ratings  ·  3,968 reviews
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood.

By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

How long can one man survive in a
...more
Paperback, Collection , 317 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by Orb Books (first published 1954)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
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Like Lucy, this rating is gonna take some splainin. Unfortunately, I don't have a slide show or any multi-colored pie charts to provide visual assistance on this one, so I will try to splain it as clearly as I can, but I will be using quite a few "i.e." and "e.g." to provide supporting clarification for my commentary given I am performing this review without the safety net of visual aids. Please, do not try this at home.

Oh, I've also decided to throw in the occasional word in Spanish...why you
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Jeff
Straight outta Compton, another crazy ass vampire
More punks I smoke, yo, my rep gets bigger
I'm a bad vampire killa and you know this
But the pussy ass ghouls don't show this
But I don't give a damn, I'ma make my snaps
If not from the garlic, from jackin the crops
Just like burglary, the definition is 'jackin'
And when illegally armed it's called 'packin'
Put a stake through a motherf…

Chorus:

[City of Compton, City of Compton]

[Damn that book was dope!]


I know I’ve used the whole edited-lyrics-as-review b
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Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Okay, this rating is going to a take a little explaining. Unfortunately, I don't have a slide show or any multi-colored pie charts to assist me as a visual aid on this one so I will try to be as clear as I can. Warning: I will probably be required to use quite a few i.e. and e.g. to provide clarification to my statements as well as some targeted use of bold and italics given that I am reviewing here without the safety net of my usual visual aids. I have also decided to throw in ...more
Nichole (Dirty H)
There's not much to say about this story that hasn't been said about other reviews.
The premise of this story was great. It was well executed, stayed interesting, and I really liked the ending. I have only two criticisms; the first being about the story, and the second being about the edition that I read.
1. It was too short. This book would have been much better if he had taken the time to flesh out some of the ideas, stretch out the mystery (his search for the cause of vampirism), more character
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Paul Bryant
Richard Matheson (1926-2013) In Memoriam.

Such is the low profile of some great writers that it's only now I discovered that this early sf favourite of mine died five months ago. I discovered sf in my teens (as you know, the answer to the question "when was the golden age of science fiction?" is "14") and I Am Legend was the first novel I read all in one without a break because I couldn't do anything except read it, I was as hypnotised as a rabbit in the headlights of a big van being driven strai
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Keely
Apr 26, 2008 Keely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Keely by: dave
I know there is a lot going for this book, in terms of popular opinion, influence, and originality, so you'll have to forgive me for interposing my body with the flywheel; we'll see what's left at the end.

In a discussion between Douglas Adams and Lewis Wolpert, the argument was made that the individual is unimportant in science, but is paramount in art. Walpert proposed that scientific discovery is inevitable, as the confluence of ideas will tend to produce parallel developments, such as with Ne
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Amanda
Mar 30, 2011 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: Courtney Clements
Two points I want to make: A) the movie was crap, especially when compared to the book, and B) this is so much more than just a vampire novel.

First, the whole movie thing. In both, Robert Neville is the last human on Earth--and that is where all similarities end. If you've seen the movie, it won't ruin the book for you as the two are nothing alike. The setting is different, the protagonist is different (except for a shared name), the creatures are different (vampires in the book and nocturnal z
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Petertpc
Questions arising out of my reading of this book:

1. Why have I never read Richard Matheson before?

2. Why did no one ever tell me what an amazing storyteller Matheson is?

3. How does someone channel such elegant prose, and such profound imagination, into a story with so much humanity?

4. Why was I unaware of how incredibly influential Matheson's story has been on multiple genres, from post apocalypse tales, to zombie plagues and vampire ficion?

5. Why did Will Smith and the Hollywood "brain trust"
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Andy
Ho-hum.

That's about all I can say about this book. I was really excited to read I Am Legend and the first 70 pages were astounding, but then it just slowly got less and less enjoyable.

You can't blame Matheson, though. When this book was first published in the mid-50s it was the first of its kind. A novella that took a scientific approach to explaining a virus that turned all but Robert Neville into a vampire.

Reading the novel I kept thinking "I've heard this before" but, I realize now that Ma
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Lou
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When i read this i was not on goodreads so a review now would not do justice, so this is up for a re-read. Matheson is such a good writer and this tale of one man's struggle to preserve the human race and find a way to stop the spread of the hungry beings is short but legendary. There has been quite a few adaptations but most have played with the story and changed some important parts the book is much better.
I Am Legend has been adapted to a feature-length film three times (or four, if one incl
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Riku Sayuj

Bram Stoker’s Dracula first popularized the word 'nosferatu' as a synonym for “vampire,” supposedly gleaning it from Romanian folklore. Popular etymology has ascribed the word to the Greek nosophorus, or “plague carrier.” The association of vampires to various diseases is an integral part of the vampire legend.

Matheson’s was the first (?) fictional depiction of vampirism as the result of physiological disease, not supernatural forces. It thus gave an ironic twist to an old pattern: Where vampire
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
It was really good. Neville is a very interesting protagonist. You really want to root for him that he will survive. I don't want to spoil you, but the ending will definitely hit you like a one-two punch. I definitely wanted a different one. Nevertheless it was one of the best short stories I have ever read. I finished I am Legend more than a year ago. It had such an effect on my psyche that I had to put the book down. Let me tell you a secret. I am a bit of a whimp when it comes to horror. Yet ...more
Lyn
This is technically a collection of short stories, but I am Legend is the centerpiece, masterpiece, main event, etc. I am Legend truly is a great story, deserving of all the accolades and an inspired source of all the horror genre influence over the past 60 years, including Stephen King. It's about vampires the same way Castaway, the Tom Hanks film, is about the South Pacific. It's about a man dealing with stress, nightmarish circumstances and his will to not just live, but to survive. Matheson ...more
Michael
Before vampires were brooding, sparkly and sexy, Bram Stoker and Richard Matheson made them scary. They were creatures of the night, meant to be feared and avoided at all costs.

If it was Stoker that introduced us to the world of the undead blood suckers, it was Matheson who took the genre the next step forward, exploring how the tropes of vampire mythology could be true based on scientific principles of the time.

But to categorize "I Am Legend" as just as vampire story is a huge mistake. As with
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Noah Soudrette
Nov 21, 2007 Noah Soudrette rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: vampire fans, horror fans
Shelves: horror
Let me start by stating I had only one real criticism. I found many of the passages where Neville the main character was ranting and raving in despair, anger, or anguish to be a hair over the top. It’s not that the pain Neville feels is unwarranted. His feelings just don’t ring quite true. Of course, none of us have ever been in his situation, so who’s to say that we might all act in such a way given the circumstances.

I really had no other problems with the story and found myself agreeing with
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Miss Kim
Oct 15, 2010 Miss Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Stephen King
Ok, So Kim didn't realize this is book of short stories. I am Legend was excellent. Imagine my surprise when I got to page 157, and turned the page and though ‘What?! Really? It can’t be over.’ But it was. I felt for Robert Neville, and I didn’t want it to be over so quickly.

Written in the 50’s, this takes place in the future of the late 70’s. Neville is the last human on earth. A plague has wiped out everyone, and those that did not die have become horrible monsters. They are vampires. Not you
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K.D. Absolutely
This 1954 science fiction/horror novel has already been made into 3 movies: The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) and I am Legend starring Will Smith (2007). I saw the last two prior to reading this book so I had an easy time following the storyline. This book is said to have influenced the development of vampire and zombie genre particularly the hypothesis that vampirism is to a disease. Incidentally, this idea will not fly for Edward (Twilight). Girls will not like the idea that t ...more
David
Sep 23, 2009 David is currently reading it
Time for a long-overdue re-read of this book. Shame my copy came with a photograph of an over-rated actor starring in an underwhelming film adaptation.
Jim
Another free download from the library. Read by Robertson Dean & Yuri Rasovsky.

"I Am Legend" is a classic, of course. If you've only heard about this story & never actually read it, you're missing a lot. Vincent Price's rendition (1963?) in "The Last Man On Earth" wasn't bad, but neither of the other two movies did any justice to the story. They completely missed the horribly real, poignant point. Charleton Heston's "The Omega Man" (1970?) was fun & campy, but Will Smith's movie that
...more
Kelly
Eh. While I can appreciate the reasons this book is considered influential, in the end I wanted to like it much more than I did. I liked the whole last man standing angle and the scientific approach to the traditional vampire tale was pretty innovative but ultimately I was let down.

The erratic pacing of the story and the disjointed narrative grabbed my attention much more than Robert Neville's struggle to survive. For example, on page 55 of my edition, right after Neville realizes his vampiric
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Mike Puma
Aug 30, 2010 Mike Puma rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror & Cult Classic fans
Recommended to Mike by: the evil maciek
Shelves: 2010, scifi
Okay, you’re a sci-fi or horror fan. Maybe you are into ‘cult classics.’ Maybe, you just like reading the novels that movies are based on. It almost doesn’t matter. If you’re considering this novella, by all means read it. Matheson does a lot with this story and does it well. Every I is dotted, every T is crossed. Any “what about…” question is answered and every “why don’t…” is spoken to. He does everything you could hope for, except create characters you can care about. Don’t misunderstand, he ...more
Joe Valdez
Mar 25, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Doomsday Preppers, vampire hunters, Zuni doll collectors
This collection of Richard Matheson's fiction includes his 1954 novella I Am Legend, loosely adapted to film as The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston in 1971 and as an updated version boasting Will Smith in 2007. The paperback available at my library was a movie tie-in with The Fresh Prince on the cover, however, the second half of the book features nine short stories, including Prey, which those who grew up in the 1970s might recall as a segment of the made-for-TV movie Trilogy of Terror featu ...more
Chris
What a ride! I loved this book. The title novella was the main attraction, and took up more than half of it. It was very good, a solid 4+ star effort.

But what brought it up to 5 was the inclusion of 10 other great Matheson stories. These weren't simple filler; each story was enjoyable (and mostly creepy) on its own.

Matheson has a talent for giving readers a snapshot of another world/reality/time/possibility. He doesn't use pages and pages to describe the settings where these stories take place,
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Wil Wheaton
Everything you've heard about I Am Legend is true: it's scary, the way Matheson conveys Neville's descent into madness is brilliant, the post-apocalyptic world is well-crafted, none of the movies inspired by it do it justice ... and the whole thing feels very dated. This isn't to say that it isn't enjoyable, but if your friends have built this up like it's one of the greatest stories ever told, I'd adjust your expectations quite a bit. It is a great story, an in an historical context, it's prett ...more
Carol
Have not seen or heard very good reviews about the movie I Am Legend, but thought the book quite good. In this post-apocalyptic world of vampires, Robert Neville, as the only human who survives the plague, spends his lonely, monotonous days destroying the undead and endures nights of torment and near madness. Although an interesting and creative take for a vampiric novel, not the ending I expected, but definitely surprising.

All of the other eight short stories in this edition were entertaining,

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seak
Oct 09, 2009 seak rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I thought this was way better than the movie. It was just creepy picturing these people outside Robert Neville's house night after night trying to entice him to come out. He is legend, but in a completely different way than the movie suggested.
Stepheny
2.5

This was pretty hit or miss for me.

I am Legend is probably the more, if not most, popular one out of this collection. It was not my favorite. I can say that I do see what fans were so angry about with the movie because holy shit, did Hollywood miss the mark on that one or what?!

I gave that one 4 out of 5 stars. It contained a lot of science-talk where my brain went into SleepyLand. My brain hates science talk. It gets bored and confused and trips over biology terms it doesn’t like. I also ha
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JG (The Introverted Reader)
Oct 14, 2009 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Fiona
Review of I Am Legend

Several GR friends have read this and raved about it recently. I've been doing a lot of Halloween-related books this month, so I decided to give it a try.

It somehow wasn't exactly what I expected, and I mean that in a good way. I've seen bits of the Will Smith movie (and what I've seen has very little in common with the book), I've read my friends' reviews, but it's still something that I think you have to experience for yourself to understand.

I would definitely call it a ho
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Jonathan
Aug 15, 2007 Jonathan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bawlers, Brawlers and Bastards
This book piqued my interest after hearing a coworker mention how good it was. Having just finished reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and wanting to stick with the trend of books that will be movies released in Dec 07, I picked up a copy of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Reading the summary on the back assured me that it would do wonders in washing out that young-love talking animals fantasy flavor that His Dark Materials Left in my mouth.

The text didn't let me down. The psyc
...more
Sesana
There are so many paranormal romance vampires floating around that it's nice to read some real, vicious vampires again. Even if they do act more like zombies through most of the book. There's good dramatic tension throughout, and a great ending. I read an edition that came with ten short stories tacked onto the end, most of which I didn't read.
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The Book Was Better: I AM LEGEND 31 55 Mar 05, 2015 09:09PM  
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Stephen King Fans: I am Legend 26 104 Nov 18, 2012 06:52PM  
Best Short Story? 15 158 Oct 24, 2012 09:42PM  
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
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“After a while, though, even the deepest sorrow faltered, even the most penetrating despair lost its scalpel edge.” 58 likes
“That's what was wrong with drinking too much. You became immune to drunken delights. There was no solace in liquor. Before you got happy, you collapsed.” 41 likes
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