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I Am Legend

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  118,270 ratings  ·  7,728 reviews
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has succumbed to the vampire plague, and they are hungry for Neville's blood.

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

How long can one man survive like
Paperback, SF Masterworks, 160 pages
Published January 21st 1999 by Gollanz (first published July 1954)
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thelastword Totally. Although after a while, when his character behaved unlike Will Smith's Robert Neville, I couldn't imagine him as Will Smith, or a blonde blue…moreTotally. Although after a while, when his character behaved unlike Will Smith's Robert Neville, I couldn't imagine him as Will Smith, or a blonde blue-eyed that he was supposed to be.

Basically Will Smith's Robert Neville >>>> The book's Robert Neville for me.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  118,270 ratings  ·  7,728 reviews

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Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Absolutely disturbing modern classic! Robert Nevile is the last human in town, maybe on earth. All others are infected and turned into vampires. You read how more and more got infected, how they were buried (this will give you nightmares). There was a pandemic (seems familiar in times like ours at the moment). Ben Cortman, colleague and neighbour who reminds him on Oliver Hardy (the comedian) shouts every evening he should come out. But Robert doesn't want to turn into one of them. He does resea ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
"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)
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: seen-movie, 2013, usa
I loved this book! Was very creepy to read.
I thought it was brillant from beginning to end.

One of my favourite books of all time ever!
That ending! WOW
Ahmad Sharabiani
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

It was influential in the development of the zombie-vampire genre and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. Robert Neville appears to be the sole survivor of a pandemic that has killed most of the human population and turned the remainder into "vampires" that largely conform to their stereotypes in fiction and folklore: they are blood-sucking, pale-skinned, and nocturnal, though otherwise indistinguishable from normal humans. Implicitl
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

Honestly, this is a tough book to review.

I did like the story, but one of the biggest bothers for me here was not fully understanding why the world has gone to shit & why everyone is now a vampire.

The book just drops you right in the middle of Robert Neville's situation, which is a day to day existence of killing vampires during the day & hiding in his house during the night.

I'm the kind of SF reader who likes a bit of depth to be given to the cause of disaster, and this story largely gloss
Peter Topside
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a heartbreaking, yet innovative story. You really felt for Neville, as he struggles with the new normal that he is forced to live in. Each and every time you feel like there is some hope for this character, it is is stripped from him, in ways that you wouldn't expect. And you join him, as he falls deeper into a depression and state of hopelessness. This isn't a long story, and I felt could have had some more detail in certain areas, but it was a solid character-driven book. I also reall ...more
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, own, horror, classics
Is it a good idea to read a book about a deadly plague during a pandemic?!

This is so much different than the movie!!
"In fact, I much prefer the book to the movie." - said almost every book enthusiast out there.

I Am Legend has been on my list of books to read for years. I knew that I'd likely enjoy it since it's about vampires, but I was not prepared to like it as much as I did.

Robert Neville is living alone among a deadly pandemic. Everyone has died or turned into vampires.
Robert is the last of
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

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
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pret
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’m not much of what you might call a “vampire guy.” By which I mean both that I am not a vampire, or a guy who likes vampires or vampire-themed endeavors. Thus it stands to reason that I never would have read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend had not the wildcard of my book club chosen it as this month’s selection. Frankly, I was a little underwhelmed by the choice. The critical “blurbs” did not help matters along. Dean Koontz said it was the “most riveting vampire novel since Dracula,” which is g ...more
Sean Barrs
This is a hard book for me to rate. On one hand it’s a gritty and harrowing exploration into the mentality of extreme loneliness and isolation but on the other it’s an almost cartoonish horror that actually made me laugh when it was supposed to be haunting.

Now let me try to explain a little: there’s just something overwhelmingly ridiculous about naked vampires lurking outside Robert Neville’s house trying to lure him outside with the prospect of sex. They try to tempt him with their bodies, so
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"The strength of the vampire is that no one will believe in him."

Robert Neville is the last man on earth...or is he? Following the outbreak of an incurable plague that has mutated every other human on earth into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures, Robert Neville must scavenge for food and supplies during the day, whilst hiding in his boarded-up, vampire-proof home at night. Living a solitary life for so long is not easy, and so he is constantly on the look-out for fellow survivors...

This was a bu

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.




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 i
May 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Morgue Anne
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was creepy and sad too. I don't think I would have lasted long as the last person alive. I would have just given up and let myself get caught! The vampires of this story are quite zombie like, I thought. How events turn out in the end surprised me. ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if reading about a global pandemic that wiped out most of the worlds population was really wise at the minute, but the fact that they turned into vampires was a welcomed twist??

With sole survivor Robert Nevillie spends most of his days in isolation as he battles to find a cure, felt so devastatingly real.
As the main theme of loneliness and repetition soon leads to depression shows how much we crave human interaction.
Learing the fate of Robert's wife and daughter is even more tragic.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
1. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of the Will Smith jokes. It's going to be difficult, but I will refrain from including him in this review.

2. Stuff I liked - Matheson does an amazing job in describing the situation Neville has deal with as the only person left in the world. The scariest parts for me where when Matheson deals with themes like isolation and loneliness. That stuff was much more terrifying than the vampires (more on them later). There were entire chapters of
Kat  Hooper
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

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 t
Richard Matheson may be the most underrated genre writer ever. When you look at a list of his books- I Am Legend, Somewhere In Time, Hell House, Duel: Terror Stories, What Dreams May Come- just to name a few, you realize how unique and diverse his talent was.

This novel, I Am Legend, a perfect little bricolage of apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi, horror, vampire, zombie, is probably his best known work, although I'm partial to Somewhere in Time (Bid Time Return) being such a romantic sentimentalist
This is definitely one of the Grand-daddies of the Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian/Virus/Monsters-taking-over-the-world stories.

This book had to be a commentary on where Matheson thought we were headed as a society - not just a simple tale of vampires created by a virus.

It is amazing how much he fits in to a 160 page book. I am thinking that Matheson must have been a master of telling a lot of story in very few pages.

A very suspenseful and quick read. This would be a great choice for horror fans, po
Oct 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly enjoyed this novel. I saw the movie first, a long time ago, and loved it. It's not the same, both are very good in their own right. The ending in the movie is very Hollywood, while the book left me speechless with so many feels, I was not expecting that. 😬 ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Los Angeles, about 22 years into the future (Jan. 1976 - Jan. 1979 in this book; copyright 1954, which really shows in some of the book's views). After the 'plague' finished in 1975, Robert Neville seems to be the only human left immune and alive. He's not anywhere like Will Smith, lookwise, English-German man in late 30s with blue eyes, blond going bald (and later with a beard). When we meet him he's been living at his present place for 5 months. Trying to survive, and wondering what caused eve ...more
David Sarkies
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The Last Human
23 March 2020

I first heard about this book because somebody decided to make a movie with the same title with Will Smith as the lead role. Well, when I saw the trailers I certainly felt that it looked quite interesting, especially since he seemed to be driving around a completely empty New York City. In fact, I sort of wonder whether that is what New York City is like these days. Melbourne certainly does seem to be much emptier than usual, and while I sort of would like to catch a
Let me being this review by saying that I never saw any of the movie adaptations of this book. I turned the first page of "I Am Legend" with zero knowledge of what Hollywood did to it because a friend of mine gave me an important warning. He said: "When it comes to this story, there is no movie; there is just the book".

The story is Robert Neville's, the last man on Earth after a strange plague has turned every other human being into a vampire. He lives in a carefully barricaded house, stuffed wi
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
Graeme Rodaughan
Vampire Hunter Shocker! Last Human Loses Battle with the Bottle!: "We'll It's just not the Hollywood ending we were all expecting!" - Post-Apocalyptic Tattler.

One guy against a world filled with vampires.

I went into this book with an expectation of action. When the story had action scenes, they were done very well, and there is a wonderfully suspenseful and thrilling chase scene in the first half of the book. However, action, suspense and thrills were absent for most of the rest of the book.

Jon Nakapalau
The most original 'vampire' novel after Dracula. Richard Matheson is a very underrated author; his body of work is truly amazing. Very rarely do you find such depth of work: his 'A World of Difference' episode for The Twilight Zone is truly amazing; The Enemy Within episode of Star trek is one of my favorites. ...more
Megan Baxter
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yet again, I've been breaking the rules. This time, it wasn't on purpose! But I went into reading I Am Legend knowing the ending, knowing the twist. Years ago, you see, my husband had wanted to talk about the book, probably when the most recent adaptation to movie form had come out, and I am well known for not reading horror, so it wasn't an unreasonable assumption that I would never read this.

So, wrong, in the long run, but it made reading this for the first time a very different experience tha
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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

Articles featuring this book

Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of adapting horror novels into frightening films. From 1930s classics like Dracula and...
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“Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.” 246 likes
“In a world of monotonous horror
there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”
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