Clarice's Reviews > I Am Legend

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
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May 24, 12

Read from March 24 to 28, 2012

Not your typical gory horror story. A virus of unknown origin has swept across the planet killing the majority of humans and mutating the rest - all except for one man who seems to be immune. The mutants have developed vampire-like traits, and the lone survivor, Robert Neville, barricades himself in his home by night to avoid being drained by them, and systematically searches for and destroys the mutants when they become comatose during the day.

Although there are zombie-like vampires (or vampire-like zombies?), and Robert Neville is hunting and killing them, this is not really the focus of the story, so there isn't very much blood and gore. The story actually focuses around Neville struggling to cope with isolation and his pursuit of knowledge in an attempt to make sense what has happened to his world and his tenacious effort to "fix" it. Above all, the story is an exploration of the true definition of humanity and the subjective moral center of society.

Written in 1954 and taking place in the "future" of 1976, "I Am Legend" doesn't feel at all dated until Neville decides he needs to do some research and doesn't go into a panic over the loss of the Internet. This futuristic 1970's dude knows exactly what to do when the power grid is down and he needs to know everything there is to know about blood and bacilli - he heads straight to the local library.

Richard Matheson's writing is absolutely brilliant, and I now understand why this novella is considered a classic. If you have seen any of the movies based on this book, you still don't know the story. Read the book.
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