I Am Legend
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I Am Legend

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  26,347 ratings  ·  1,802 reviews

Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone.
An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.By day, he is a hunter, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization.By night, he barricades himself in his home and pr...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC (first published 1954)
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Nataliya
"I am legend". These words make me shudder. But if you have only seen that Will Smith movie that went 180 degrees on the book's message, the soul-crushing impact of these words will be lost on you.
That makes me sad...

To quote Stephen King, "I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson."
This was enough of a recommendation for me to go and dig up this book. And it's great.
(view spoiler)
...more
Tfitoby


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: Robert Neville is the last man left alive on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire. Neville spends his days scavenging for food and supplies, and hunting down the undead in their lairs in the ruins of civilisation. At night, he becomes the hunted and barricades himself in his home, waiting and praying for the dawn.

I Am Legend was one of the first, and certainly the most brill...more
Morgue Anne
May 24, 2012 Morgue Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scifi and Horror Fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim
I just re-read this after watching some of the movies based on it. It's truly a chilling book. It's an apocalyptic novel. The vampire plague has destroyed our society. Much of the book focuses on our hero's loneliness. When he finds an uninfected dog, his attempts to befriend it are almost pathetic & truly heart-wrenching. It's well worth reading.

There are 3 movies that I know of that are based on this book.

The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price in the mid 60's. This follows the book...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Aug 17, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic apocalypse
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] by: SciFi and Fantasy Book Club monthly read

There are some excellent reviews out there. I know I was complaining about sqeeing and gifs recently, but I can't help but think a classic book like this could use a little modern reviewing.


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Summary:
I'm a little mixed in my reading reactions to a novella that feels more like a self-conscious allegorical tale than truly innovative storytelling. The short, choppy prose suited the narrator, but gave a more limited ambiance to the setting. Given the protagonist Neville's relatively easy ability in m...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I don’t like vampire novels much, so I wasn’t planning to read Richard Matheson’s classic vampire story I am Legend which was published in 1954, is also known by the title The Omega Man, and is, of course, the basis for the movie I am Legend.

But then I recently read and was enthralled by two other books by Matheson: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Steel and Other Stories. I realized that The Incredible Shrinking Man wasn’t really so much about a man who w...more
Algernon

I was going to rate the book a lukewarm 3 stars, but then I looked once more at the date of publication (1954) and reconsidered. A bit of historical perspective, of literary context elevates this novel to the well deserved 'genre classic' status. At the time Matheson published his science-fiction take on the gothic vampire myth, the market was a lot different from today's oversaturated landscape that has largely trivialized the subject and gave it a curious teenage romance slant. Even bringing i...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is another one of those times when there are people who if they could would give this book far more than the allowed 5 while if I were rating it on "enjoyment alone" I'd be looking to give it negative stars. I realize this is one of the "classics" of science fiction (or science fantasy)and I don't care. I read it years ago and while I find the writing in places rates my recognition of it's quality...I don't care for the book.

Like some of Matheson's other works there are some questions that...more
Penny
I never would have expected the internal dialogue of the last man alive to be as captivating as this book was. Robert Neville is alone, the last uninfected human left as far as he knows, and every day is a struggle to keep it that way. His anger, depression, frustration and fear are thrown up against the desire to live almost every moment of every day and there are some when you're not sure which will win.

Some of the issues brought up are unique to the fact that Robert Neville is a man alone in...more
F.R.
Reading a modern classic for the first time, one which has been adapted into a number of movies and to a certain extent has entered the culture, is a fine way to set oneself up for disappointment. How can it possibly match its reputation? How can it live up to the reader’s preconceptions? How can it meet expectations?

I’m pleased to say that Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’ is a fantastic read which more than deserves its good name.

Despite the various adaptations making the monsters more zombie-l...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
A novel that has been both heavily criticized and revered, I Am Legend straddles an uneasy line between Horror and Science Fiction. However, there is no denying its influence, nor its simple charm. In comparison with some of the 'vampire' drivel being served up today, this little novel is indeed legend. It ranks with Salem's Lot as one of my favourite reads on the vampire mythos. I know that the science isn't sound, but Matheson has done a terrific job of introducing new ways to broach the subje...more
jzhunagev
May 24, 2012 jzhunagev rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classic horror olvers
Recommended to jzhunagev by: Stephen King
I am Legend by Richard Matheson (A Book Review)


After reading this masterpiece by Richard Matheson, I was overtaken by a great feeling of regret; regret that I had to wait for so long just to sink my (fanged) teeth into this magnificent post-apocalyptic vampire story; regret that I saw the recent movie adaptation of the same title first before reading it. But then again the movie is a good one, in itself.

If you haven’t heard of nor made aware of this book’s existence, then most likely you’ve see...more
Bel
Four fifths of the way through and the only thing on my mind was how incredibly boring and one-dimensional Robert Neville is. You would think that someone forced into solitude and surrounded by death and insanity would have a wonderfully colourful and twisted mind - if you're going to have a book revolving around a single character, make him a really good one. So, it wasn't until he began chasing, abusing and kidnapping a woman in the name of science (everything in this book was tunnel-viewed 'i...more
Sath
It's 1976, and the world's population has been wiped out by an unknown affliction. Robert Neville is the last man alive. Immune to the plague by some trick of fate, he is left alone in the world, with nothing but an unescapable will to continue living.

After dark, the dead population come to stand outside Neville's boarded up home, to taunt and torment him. He keeps them away with garlic, crosses and mirrors, lest they come after his blood. During the day he goes through houses staking the peopl...more
Sandi
I'm going to start by saying that I really enjoyed the most recent movie version of I Am Legend. I thought it was really well-done. I knew that it wasn't anything like the book, but it was a good movie as it was. It's one of those movies that I'm glad I saw without having the book in my head to contrast it to.

That said, I enjoyed the book immensely too. It is very different than the movie, and that's okay. They can be different and each can be judged on it's own merits. I was a bit surprised to...more
Fiona
I'm between giving this 4 and 5 stars so truly, this is more of a 4.5 stars.

I am Legend is - I can't believe it! I can't remember even why I got it in the first place. I rarely browse the adult fantasy section any more, I usually whip past it I admit. If I do go there it is a planned purchase.

I bought it during pre-deadline depression at my final year of university. I was intrigued because it is a classic - written in the 1950's and I guess when I think of fantasy or sci-fi I think of witches,...more
Rita
Forget about sparkling vampires. This is one of the most heartbreaking and beautifully written stories that have ever been written. It is a post apocalyptic book about single man's struggle to stay alive in a world that has been run over by vampires. It is not a horror-story in the traditional sense, it is also not a vampire story in traditional sense. This is a story that explores one of the most tragic emotions any human can be asked to face: namely that of loneliness. Nothing that I write cou...more
Bandit
My second foray into Matheson's long fiction and this one was epic. This is a perfect example why I love Matheson's short fiction so much, but in a longer form. A perfect balance of suspense, horror and psychological drama. I've seen two cinematic adaptations of the story, but this was nevertheless fresh and capable of surprising, since movies never really stick to the written pages with a great degree of accuracy. While Bram Stocker's Dracula will unarguably remain the vampire classic, this boo...more
Monica
No me sorprende para nada que me haya ENCANTADO esta obra..y es que su autor, Richard Matheson ya me tenía acostumbrada a visualizar sus excelentes guiones para la pequeña pantalla, concretamente para la MÍTICA y PERFECTA ‘ The twilight zone’; ya que él es uno de los miembros del mágico tridente creativo de la fantástica serie junto a Rod Serling (su creador y principal guionista) y Charles Beumont, Otro genial escritor, más tétrico que Matheson.

Pero lo que me trae aquí ( amén de éste apunte), e...more
Stela
The Birth of Legends

“We want action! Horror! Chills and thrills! “I Am Legend” is too self-contained, too cerebral for its own good” – cries out a frustrate reader whose blog I accidentally stumbled upon. Why, but this is exactly what I liked about this book! Apart from the interesting mix of urban gothic and dystopia, “I am Legend” touches (not always deepening them, it’s true) some well-known themes, like survival, loneliness, prejudice, and of course, as announced in its excellent title, the...more
Wendy Darling
Terrific. Loved the first half of the book, a little less engaged by the second, overly "sciency" half, when story took a back seat to explanation.

The Blackstone Audiobooks version read by Robertson Dean is very engaging, by the way. I'm so horribly picky about narrators (It's not an exaggeration to say that I probably give up on roughly 90% of the audiobooks I try), but I loved this actor's voice and passionately measured reading style. And I am immensely fond of the rich, flavorful way that he...more
Anasylvia
3.5 Stars.

I had a nightmare about this book last night. Not fun.

In a world of monotonous horror
there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.


Don't make the mistake I did and walk into I am Legend expecting it to be anything like the film staring Will Smith. I know that as a general rule books and movies are different, yet I couldn't get that image out of my head. Let's just say the movie took some liberties. Now on to the Book Review.

As far as he knows, Robert Neville is the last living man on E...more
Ema
I haven't watched the movie for one particular reason: there was a dog on the poster and only the thought that it might suffer and die (which I didn't actually know for a fact) was enough to avoid the movie.
The same thing happened with The Road, because there was a child on the poster who might suffer (not die, though, as children don't usually die if they are main characters).
I'm quite upset with myself that I feel such a heart-wrenching pity for animals, because I can't properly watch certain...more
Michael
This is one of my favourite books ever and it sits in the short list of books which I can happily re-read every year.

What I particularly enjoy is that it focuses on the solidarity Robert Neville feels and the frustration that comes with it - can a human survive alone, with no to talk to without going mad?

It's also chillingly frightful but in a tense, simple way. Not much may happen for a chapter and then at the end, Ben Cortman screams "Neville" and chases our hero into his house. The threat is...more
Martin Belcher
I have been meaning to read I am Legend since I first saw the film starring Will Smith a couple of years ago. I had heard the book was slightly different to the “Hollywood treatment” given to the film version.

I really enjoyed it, I think its far better than the film for capturing Robert Neville’s character and his anguish in realising he may be the only person alive in the world, barricaded in his home at night to prevent the hoards of vampires trying to attack and kill him. As a novel written i...more
Mimi
So this is the vampire outbreak that started the zombie outbreaks.


* * * spoilers scattered liberally below * * *


The book:
Matheson adapts a minimal, "economy of words" style to capture Neville's loneliness and desperation, and in turn, this limitation of unnecessary words makes the story precise and narrows the scope of the world in which the story is set--post-outbreak Los Angeles. Although I understand the purpose of a limited style, I would have liked to spend some more time with Neville and h...more
Chris
The Boyfriend really wants to see this movie - which is a little surprising, because our tastes in film are rather divergent - so I thought I'd re-read the book just to have it fresh in my mind when we went to the theater.

Damn, I forgot how good this book is.

It's a swift read - I got it finished in a working day - but there is no wasted space. Matheson creates a tension that carries you through the book and never lets up. Brilliant work.

The story is pretty simple - in The Future (1972, in this c...more
Ginny_1807
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andreas
I don't read or watch horror at all, because I have bad dreams from them.

But my last book went out today and I had this one on the kindle and it is oh, so short. That's what I like about those classic books: They don't need 500 pages or more to develop the setting and end the plot.

The other thing that brought me to reading it was to commemorate Matheson, who died recently.

What I found fascinating was the setup - only sparse dialogues, many self references and a main character who fights his prob...more
David
A SF/horror classic that has aged surprisingly well. I really enjoyed Matheson's prose: it has a rich, vibrant, grimly humorous and vivid style that is almost pulp fiction and almost literary. The story itself is nothing new to fans of the genre, but remember that Matheson did it first. There is action and suspense and, of course, vampires, but there is also a lot of introspection. The main character, Robert Neville, is sometimes clever and inventive, sometimes a hard-boiled survivor, sometimes...more
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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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“Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.” 130 likes
“In a world of monotonous horror
there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”
22 likes
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