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I Am Legend
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message 1: by Greg, Muad'Dib (last edited Mar 13, 2018 02:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 812 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the second book of the month, or group read, for March and it represents one of the two chosen themes for this quarterly themed read (horror in a sci-fi setting). Please remember to use the spoiler tags where necessary.

The other group read topic for this month (Hyperion) can be found here.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments I read chapter one today.


message 3: by Greg, Muad'Dib (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 812 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I read chapter one today."

What do you think of it so far?


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments It's hard to say because I saw the Will Smith movie, so I already knew what was going on. But I think, if I didn't already know the story, I would be intrigued. I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares with the movie.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Chapter two.

One of my favorite things about the movie is absent from the book: the dog. I suppose the dog was necessary in the movie to give Will Smith someone to talk to. It's been a long time since I saw the movie, but I really liked the first half a lot. It was a study in loneliness. I still recall the scene of Will Smith talking to the mannequin. It was subtle and really conveyed how the lack of human contact was affecting him.

I like stories that deal with a single character and explore the psychological state of that character. That's why I liked the first half of the movie better than the second. I had the same response to Ballard's Concrete Island and Stewart's Earth Abides~ I liked the first halves better because it was just the one character.


Jim  Davis | 48 comments Susan wrote: "Chapter two.

One of my favorite things about the movie is absent from the book: the dog. I suppose the dog was necessary in the movie to give Will Smith someone to talk to. It's been a long time ..."


You might want to look for another movie version of the novel. It's "The Last Man on Earth" from 1964. The production values, because of the year it was made and the budget, are far below the Will Smith version it still provides an interesting perspective. Both movies differ from the novel in certain ways but the changes aren't the same ones. It's a tough choice to say which one is closer to the novel but I think "The Last Man on Earth" has a slight edge even though the acting is better in "I Am Legend".


Thorkell Ottarsson | 209 comments Another film version is The Omega Man.


Thorkell Ottarsson | 209 comments I loved this book. It is so much better than the film versions. Beautifully written, dark and soaked in hopelessness. Loved the ending! So sad that the films have not had the balls to do this book justice.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments I have never seen "The Last Man on Earth" or "The Omega Man." Perhaps I will watch them after I finish the book.


Thorkell Ottarsson | 209 comments Susan wrote: "I have never seen "The Last Man on Earth" or "The Omega Man." Perhaps I will watch them after I finish the book."

Neither have aged well Susan, just so you know :)


message 11: by Greg, Muad'Dib (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 812 comments Mod
Thorkell wrote: "Susan wrote: "I have never seen "The Last Man on Earth" or "The Omega Man." Perhaps I will watch them after I finish the book."

Neither have aged well Susan, just so you know :)"


LOL That's useful to know!


Donna Rae Jones | 115 comments Susan wrote: "Chapter two.

One of my favorite things about the movie is absent from the book: the dog. I suppose the dog was necessary in the movie to give Will Smith someone to talk to. It's been a long time ..."


I'm missing the dog, too. Can't imagine Will Smith getting the same sexual urges over the vampires in the film version as Neville does in the book, either. So far, book and film versions seem like separate stories wrapped around a similar theme.

The same could be said for the film version of Vandermeer's Annihilation, which I watched on Netflix last night. Some of the novel's major elements were missing and the ending was completely rewritten. Authors must get so frustrated when filmmakers market their projects on popular book titles and then completely rewrite the storyline.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Donna Rae wrote: "Can't imagine Will Smith getting the same sexual urges over the vampires in the film version as Neville does in the book, either..."

I thought the exact same thing. It's only been five months. This guy is fighting loneliness and vampires daily. And the thing that is always on his mind is sex?

The movie was much more subtle on this point. Will Smith talks to the mannequin out of loneliness and the need for human contact, not merely sexual desire.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Chapter Nine.

The scene at the end of this chapter, with Virginia: I wonder if this inspired Stephen King's Pet Cemetery.


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Donna Rae ..."

Have you gotten to chapter 12 yet?


Donna Rae Jones | 115 comments Susan wrote: "Donna Rae ..."

Have you gotten to chapter 12 yet?"


I've just finished the novel, Susan. I think the book's ending is a truthful one, although I suspect anyone researching bacteriology to the depth Neville does would have realised sooner that it's only a matter of time before germs mutate. However, I really enjoyed the read. How about you?


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Hi Donna Rae. I just finished chapter 14. I'm starting to like Neville more. At first, he was all about sex and booze and anger, but watching him in chapter 12 yearning for a companion made me sympathize with him more, and now that he's seriously forming theories about the plague, I'm getting more interested.


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments I just finished it. I also liked the ending. It surprised me.


Donna Rae Jones | 115 comments Susan wrote: "I just finished it. I also liked the ending. It surprised me."

It's a good turnaround of Neville's perceptions, isn't it? Don't want to give out any spoilers, but (view spoiler)


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Donna Rae wrote: "It's a good turnaround of Neville's perceptions, isn't it..."

Yes, exactly. (view spoiler)


Donna Rae Jones | 115 comments Susan wrote: "Donna Rae wrote: "It's a good turnaround of Neville's perceptions, isn't it..."

Yes, exactly. Although I was enjoying the story, I felt that Neville's character seemed to be written from an adole..."


Well said!


message 22: by Thorkell (last edited Mar 27, 2018 02:20PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Thorkell Ottarsson | 209 comments SOMEWHAT SPOILERS! Donna Rae. Very well put. And this can even be seen as an allegory of race issues. A lot of racists are like Neville. They see other races like the "other" who will wipe out the "white race". I wonder how much of the book was influenced by such racist perspective of the "other".

EDIT. I just googled racism as allegory in the book and saw that it is a known interpretation.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments Thorkell wrote: "this can even be seen as an allegory of race issues ..."

I see your point, but to me, it seems more about species than race. The virus has mutated and the survivors have adapted. They are now a different species from Neville. The forces of evolution are at work. Neville is to the vampires what the neanderthal is to homo sapiens. Considering the ending of the story and Neville's anti-religious statements, it seems likely that the author believed in evolution.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments I just read "Prey" and I instantly recognized it from "The Trilogy of Terror." I saw that movie when it first aired on TV in 1975. I was just a kid and I remember how it scared me.

It reminds me of "The Invaders" from The Twilight Zone, another Matheson story, where Agnes Moorehead is terrorized by tiny aliens. I always thought this was the scariest of all The Twilight Zone episodes.


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 64 comments I read the rest of the short stories, but I wasn't crazy about them. I think "Mad House" was another episode of The Twilight Zone.

By coincidence, I saw an episode of The Twilight Zone a few days ago. It was "Mute" by Matheson. I don't recall ever seeing it before. (It was one of the hour long ones.)

I felt the ending was insincere. What the teacher did to the girl was cruel. What the foster mother did to the girl was downright criminal. She was selfish and motivated by her neurotic need to find a substitute for her own child. Yet everything's supposed to be okay because at the end the family friend makes a speech about how the girl now has love for the first time in her life? It's not love she has; it's a clingy hysterical woman who acted against the interests of the child to fulfill her own desires. If the girl had gone home with the friends of her parents, she could have kept her gift and had love, friendship, and the company of others like herself. Instead the girl was broken.


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