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I Am Legend and Other Stories

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  121,129 ratings  ·  5,006 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…more
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
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  121,129 ratings  ·  5,006 reviews

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David Putnam
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a great deal and with all books where I see the movie first I liked the book better. I have liked post apocalyptic stories since I first read The Earth Abides and Dhalgren. I was thirteen years old when my mother dropped me at the theater and I watched Omega Man with Charlton Heston. Loved the concept, loved the movie which stayed with me for days afterward. Fast-forward to current day when I read the book I Am Legend which the movie was based on. The book is well written with ...more

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
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
“Come out, Neville!”

Of the vampire books, there are few I choose to read these days. That section of horror was inundated years ago, much like the zombies shuffled their way into an entire genre, and the the post-apocalyptic craze too. The weird thing in saying this, is realizing how I Am Legend is a combination of all three (only a token bit of zombie actually). But it's far better than most of those others, likely because it came before them. While reading, I found its influence apparent u
Brett C
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I enjoyed reading this one. The story was solid and flowed nicely. The character was well-developed and played great into the story. From the beginning we see he was very human: he had emotions of despair, depression, and even quite possibly an alcohol addiction. I mean, what else would you expect from a man who lost everything and wound up being the last man on Earth? His purpose in this new world would be to remain alive for as long as possible.

The concept of the "vampires" (explained in the
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
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
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
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
Ashley Daviau
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book but the fact that it included stories other than I Am Legend kind of disappointed me. It fooled me into thinking the story was longer than it was and it was so good that I wanted more and thought it was far too short! And I couldn’t help but picture Will Smith the whole time, I’m still not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I Am Legend was by far the best story out of the bunch! I’ve already forgotten what the others were about, that’s how little impact they had ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
One of the best books I have read this year. Giving it a rating of 4.5!

This book contains the cult novella "I Am Legend" and ten other stories - all in the genre of the supernatural. I had read this book in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown. What an irony given the fact that the novella deals with a post-apocalypse world where humans have been turned into vampires by some infection.

No need to say that I Am Legend is the star of the show even though the other stories are qu
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
Wil Wheaton
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, horror
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
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Imagine if COVID-19 caused creature from myth to multiply and overrun--there would be at least two threats at ALL TIME. These foes are destroyers! And they arrive from the outside, and within. Two masterful terrors: this is what is presented to us in this, one of the megadaddies of Vampire fiction. (I like this one, but maybe not as much as Let The Right One In, or Interview with the Vampire, but that it belongs in the same shelf, yes.) (Stephen King admits Matheson is his biggest influence, whi ...more
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 i
Michael Sorbello
Robert Neville may 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 prays for dawn.

A unique take on vampire fiction. It's less about the actual vampires and more about the psychological drama that comes
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
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 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
BAM Endlessly Booked
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! ...more
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:
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Rather than go on suffering, he had learned to stultify himself to introspection. Time had lost its multi-dimensional scope. There was only the present for Robert Neville, the present based on day-to-day survival marked by neither heights of joy nor depth of despair. I am predominantly vegetable, he often thought to himself. That was the way he wanted it."

Less about vampires. More about mental breakdown. An excellent horror story. Unless you're a fan of The Twilight Zone, the other short storie
 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
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 ea
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
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
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I am Legend Video Analysis 1 1 Jul 06, 2020 11:02AM  
The Book Was Better: I AM LEGEND 32 72 Jun 01, 2015 11:15AM  
read/listen as audio book 13 51 May 17, 2015 10:12PM  
Buried Talents (spoiler) & Prey 1 11 May 03, 2015 07:05PM  

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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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