Toby's Reviews > I Am Legend

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
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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 brilliant, fusions of horror and science fiction. Its powerful and disturbing reworking of the vampire myth has made it a classic and enduring novel that has had a profound impact on generations of writers

Thoughts: Having seen Omega Man and the recent Will Smith movie adaptation and heard a few different people talking about the differences in the book I managed to put together a strange 'ideal' composite of what I imagined this novel to be, leaving me in the strange situation of having three stories going through my mind whilst reading an entirely different fourth one. Not exactly condusive to enjoying a book most of the time but in this instance failing at dampening the pleasure I got from reading Matheson's wonderful novel.

It was and is very difficult to analyse this without comparing it to the movies, it's possible for example that if I had been unaware of the storyline this might have received a 5 star review, but as it is it may take additional readings for me to make that distinction.

For now I will simply tell you that aside from being a powerful insight in to human loneliness and an intriguing premise of the last man standing amongst a spreading bacteria it is also a science fiction novel of the highest quality (whether the science used is correct or not it matters little to me, it is the presentation of the ideas that carries all the greats of the genre in my mind) and contains passages of prose that will leve you breathless in empathy and anticipation.

I know little of the vampire legends and myths, I don't generally read books about vampires or vampirism, but Matheson gives you a strong grounding in it and then attempts to poke and prod the silliness of them; his assuredness that crosses will only work on Christian vampires and Mohammedan vampires would simply drink your blood when faced with a crucifix was a particular favourite revelation of mine. And the way the novel ends left me near certain that this has been integral to a lot of the more interesting developments in vampire novels/movies of recent times such as Sergei Lukyanenko nightwatch trilogy and Blade.

All in all I can't recommend this novel highly enough.

Originally posted at blahblahblahgay
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Reading Progress

March 20, 2012 – Shelved
March 21, 2012 – Started Reading
March 21, 2012 –
page 38
23.6%
March 22, 2012 –
page 91
56.52%
March 22, 2012 –
page 137
85.09%
March 23, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)

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message 1: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy I have the movie but haven't watched it yet. My husband gave me a quick rundown on the book, which he read 20 years ago in Russian, and it sounds intriguing. I'll have to add it to my wishlist.


message 2: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin The Last Man on Earth movie is considered the first film based on this novel. Have you seen it yet?


message 3: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I adore your book cover mosaic!


message 4: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Nope, haven't seen any of the movies. I prefer to read the books first, if I can, but being a vampire fan I had to have the movie and when I signed up for a DVD club I Am Legend was one of my choices. I'll have to track down The Last man on Earth to have a complete collection. :-)


message 5: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin Vincent Price stars in it; many critics consider it the best version of the book. I did watch it again this year, after seeing Will Smith. Price holds his own very well, after all these years.


message 6: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Noran wrote: "Vincent Price stars in it; many critics consider it the best version of the book. I did watch it again this year, after seeing Will Smith. Price holds his own very well, after all these years."

Ah, I adore the wonderful Mr. Price - I shall double my endeavors! :-) Thanks!


message 7: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I adore him as well! Have you seen Laura and Let Heaven Have Her? Both great roles for him, based on interesting books. Let Heaven Have her is rather dark-more so in the novel. He is not the lead in either film, but strongly effects the film with his presence and acting talents!


message 8: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Noran wrote: "I adore him as well! Have you seen Laura and Let Heaven Have Her? Both great roles for him, based on interesting books. Let Heaven Have her is rather dark-more so in the novel. He is not the lea..."

No, haven't - are they public domain as well? I may have to take a day off from reading to watch some of these...


message 9: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I do not think so. I own my copies, bought when first released. AMC/TMC show them a couple times a year. Rebecca is another great film, though not Mr. Price. They are dark films-no vampires,but still send chills down your spine. I got the books used via Amazon. I saw these first as a child, with my father.


message 10: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy We don't have TV here - can't afford the cost or the wasted time - but if I can find them on-line, either for DVD or via download somehow, we can watch them on a computer :-) I like movies like that.


message 11: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I hope you enjoy them!


message 12: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Noran wrote: "I hope you enjoy them!"

I'm sure I will when I get the chance. :-) Dunno when it'll be as I'm having trouble with my eyes, but I've made a mental note to track some of them down as soon as I am able.


message 13: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby wow I go away for an hour and this happens!

Thanks for the compliment on the mosaic, I like to put a little something extra in for the reviews featured on my blog and the free tools available online make doing it so much fun. I recommend picmonkey.com for it.

As for The Last Man on Earth whilst it was obviously an accurate (or more accurate) adaptation I just couldn't get in to the B-movie aspect of it all. As for the other movies recommended by Noran, I must second them. Especially Laura.


message 14: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy *laugh* Well, I absolutely love B-movies, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it. It's a guilty pleasure of mine :-) My 2nd husband and I used to watch them for hours - the cheesier the better.

And see what happens when you leave online? You miss all sorta stuff...


message 15: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby I can't very well stay online all day and night, sadly, although sometimes it seems that way. When would I ever get all this wonderful reading done?


message 16: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Tfitoby wrote: "I can't very well stay online all day and night, sadly, although sometimes it seems that way. When would I ever get all this wonderful reading done?"

True... I just have everything open while I'm editing, so can hop in here and answer right away during the week, but during my weekend when I'm reading I'm only online a few times a day. :-)


message 17: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby multitasking ftw!


message 18: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy OMGoddess, my husband has no idea who Vincent Price is! I've been seriously remiss these past 10 1/2 years! I must educate him!


message 19: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby Vincent Price used to endorse the "host your own murder" game series. We have 4 or 5 with his face and signature on them.


message 20: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Tfitoby wrote: "Vincent Price used to endorse the "host your own murder" game series. We have 4 or 5 with his face and signature on them."

Sweet! :-) I have to forgive D; he did grow up in USSR, so doesn't have the rich heritage those outside the Iron Curtain grew up with ... then again, he has his own fun stuff to share; old Russian movies. They're really fun. :-)


message 21: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby Im personally intrigued by the ussr/communist take on westerns.


message 22: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Tfitoby wrote: "Im personally intrigued by the ussr/communist take on westerns."

Hmmm ... he doesn't like them, but when he's awake again, I'll ask and see what he says.


message 23: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington Great review, I read this a while back and your review definitely points out the aspects I loved about it!


message 24: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby Thanks jonathan. I was really surprised by the quality of the book, not sure why.


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington I was as well, I suspect I expected something 'pulpier'.


message 26: by Richard (new) - added it

Richard Love the book covers as well as the review.


message 27: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten The Night Watch trilogy keeps popping up on my radar. I think I'm just going to have to give in and read them. Excellent review Toby!


message 28: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby @Richard - I know they say don't judge a book by its cover but there's so much beautiful cover art out there that I can't resist highlighting it on the reviews I feature on my blog.

@Jeffrey - I wasn't overly fond of The Night Watch as a novel, preferring the movie (partly linked to seeing it first, partly due to being a lot tighter in telling the story) but as an exploration of the evolution of vampires/vampire myths alone it's worth the read. Not to mention post-communist Russia.


message 29: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy Jeffrey wrote: "The Night Watch trilogy keeps popping up on my radar. I think I'm just going to have to give in and read them. Excellent review Toby!"

Oh, do, I loved those books!!!


message 30: by Shovelmonkey1 (new)

Shovelmonkey1 Very good, specially loving the colourful book cover collage. I like the first cover (purple and white) and the third cover on the top line.


message 31: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby I think I may be biased but I like the Penguin in the top right corner. There's something about the Penguins from that period that appeal to me. Probably something as simple as the font on the white background. I also have a softspot for the traditional Gollancz yellow and purple.


message 32: by Michael Fierce (last edited Sep 17, 2012 07:07PM) (new)

Michael Fierce The book cover collage is cool.

Seen all the movies many times.

My favorite is The Omega Man w/ Charlton Heston though I've always thought the zompire robes could've had a less Halloween Spirit store look to them - they needed to rub those robes in some dirt and grease or something!

I haven't read the book yet but one thing I can look forward to when I do is no comedian actor / lead role and no cgi zompires either.


message 33: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby You're in for a treat when you do.

The blood effects also left a lot to be desired in Omega Man i think.


message 34: by Michael Fierce (new)

Michael Fierce What blood effects? :)


message 35: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby Theres a raid on his house and red paint gets everywhere im sure.
Oh wait, sarcasm?


message 36: by Michael Fierce (new)

Michael Fierce sarcasm ;)


message 37: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King Excellent review Toby!


message 38: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby Why thank you. An oldie but a goodie.


Mohammed Abdi Osman I didnt know you had read this great SF/horror novel. I wish there were more books like it that take a Science fictional take, trying to scientifically understand a supernatural element like vampirism.


message 40: by Toby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toby It would be nice. There are some non-fiction books that tackle the ideas of things like vampirism and almost anything in the x files for example.


Mohammed Abdi Osman Tfitoby wrote: "It would be nice. There are some non-fiction books that tackle the ideas of things like vampirism and almost anything in the x files for example."

Yeah but there must be more books like this. Darker than You Think by Jack Williamson an werewolf book in Fantasy masterworks series also did the same for werewolf. The writer, the story tried explore what happens when people become one.


message 42: by Michael Fierce (new)

Michael Fierce Mohammed wrote: "I wish there were more books like I Am Legend. "

Yeah but there must be more books...that take a Science fictional take, trying to scientifically understand a supernatural element like...Darker than You Think by Jack Williamson a werewolf book did..."


Mohammed, I couldn't agree more! Maybe you'd even like to read my review of it here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


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