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I Am Legend and Other Stories

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  111,149 ratings  ·  4,624 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
Paperback, Collection , 317 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by Orb Books (first published 1954)
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Brad I would say that its a twist on a vampire story. Its way better than the movie, way better.
Laurana I Am Legend
Buried Talents
The Near Departed
Witch War
Dance of the Dead
Dress of White Silk
Mad House
The Funeral
From Shadowed Places
Person to Person

Community Reviews

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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  111,149 ratings  ·  4,624 reviews

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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
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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…


[City of Compton, City of Compton]

[Damn that book was dope!]

I know I’ve used the whole edited-lyrics-as-review b
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 (DirrtyH)
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
Paul Bryant
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
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
J.G. Keely
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommended to J.G. 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
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
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"
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, horror
“As he entered the silent store, the smell of rotted food filled his nostrils. Quickly he pushed a metal wagon up and down the silent, dust-thick aisles, the heavy smell of decay setting his teeth on edge, making him breathe through his mouth.”

This book was adapted into a 1964 film called “The Last Man on Earth” (the first of several adaptations). I have not seen the film yet but the title is very apt, if a little on the nose, perhaps. The above quote is an example of the feeling of loneliness t
Jun 17, 2007 rated it it was ok

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
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A collection of stories. One novella, I Am Legend, followed by 10 short stories. A good variety.

The stories:
1. I Am Legend ★★★★
1954. Vampire story with a mix of horror and science fiction.

2. Buried Talents ★★★
1987. A carnival game and telekinesis.

3. The Near Departed ★★★
1987. A man plans his wife's funeral.

4. Prey ★★★★
1969. A woman struggles for strength and independence.

5. Witch War ★★★
1951. Seven girls are secret weapons in war.

6. Dance of the Dead ★★★
1954. Reanimated dead in post-apocalypti
May 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Riku Sayuj
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: genre-fiction

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
Wil Wheaton
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, sci-fi
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
I'm prepared to be burned in effigy for my rating. I just was not a fan of any of these stories. My only reason for faltering is the inspiration that so many modern horror masters have obviously taken from these tales. That's quite apparent. But I just wasn't entertained. Sorry guys!
Sep 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A landmark book which has influenced countless writers and directors.

Click here for the first part of my look at the novel and its various film adaptations:

And here's my look at Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price:

Here's my look at The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston:

And, finally, here's my take on I Am Legend starring William Smith:
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
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
Miss Kim
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Noah Soudrette
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorite, classic
I Am Legend and Other Stories


I have waited for a long time to read this novel and when I finally finished reading it...I would rather watch powdery looking vampires of Omega Man (1971) to light up my horror fuse. But because of the originality of the narratives, I am rating it a five as it was first published in 1954; and it most likely gave birth to futuristic masters' of horrors.

The novel is not as horrific as I thought but more of a personal survival journey of the only man left on ear
Wayne Barrett
Stephen King has stated that Matheson had one of the biggest influences on him as any other writer and I can see why after reading this masterpiece. This book is actually a collection of short stories accompanying 'I Am Legend' or I may have given it 5 stars...maybe.
Already being weakened by the tragedy of losing your wife and child, could you then find it within yourself to survive an apocalyptic nightmare? And if you were strong enough to survive, how long would you even want to hold on to you
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Nana☆ (The Novelty Notebook)
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nana☆ by: Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)
Shelves: buddy-reads
Review also posted on my blog: here

Buddy read with Faith!

This was a really fun read.

Since the Twilight phase I've been avoiding new books about vampires because they either sound like Twilight copycats or just plain cringey. This was published in the 50s, long before Stephanie Meyer was even a thought in her parents minds, so I deemed this safe from the weird vampire phase that swept over the media in the early 2000s.

Let me start off by saying that this book is nothing like its movie adaptations
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
Mike Puma
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Kat Kennedy
So... Neville has serious issues with women and... this novel was pretty much pointless.

It drags on horribly. It's boring. It makes little sense and Robert has serious issues.

Serious issues that requires serious attention.

Also, this is the least fun vampire book ever written with possible exception of Dracula.

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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Was Better: I AM LEGEND 32 70 Jun 01, 2015 11:15AM  
read/listen as audio book 13 50 May 17, 2015 10:12PM  
Buried Talents (spoiler) & Prey 1 10 May 03, 2015 07:05PM  
Book vs Movie? 135 656 Aug 11, 2013 10:27PM  
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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
“After a while, though, even the deepest sorrow faltered, even the most penetrating despair lost its scalpel edge.” 76 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.” 49 likes
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