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I Am Legend

Posted by phduffy on 2006-12-18 22:36:16
So I was talking to Seth, and he suggested that we needed more book reviews here. I realize that one of the problems with using the review section here to find good book suggestions is that they may not be from a genre you're interested in. That's fair, but I'm not really sure of the suggestion. I'm reviewing a horror novel here, so it's a bit off what I'd normally put up, but not that much.

So. I Am Legend and Richard Matheson. The back of this book carries the following Stephen King quote:
"I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me"

The novel is about Robert Neville ("terrible novel"), a man who believes that he's the last man on Earth. The rest of the world has died/been attacked, and turned into vampires. Some of the infected die and come back as the living dead, while some become infected and appear to be 'living' vampires.

Richard spends his days reinforcing his house against attack, via garlic and mirrors. If he doesn't have to do alot of work, he spends his days outside, killing sleeping vampires, and getting drunk while thinking about his dead wife.

So the inside cover has a quote that calls Matheson one of the masters of terror fiction. I didn't find this story particularly terrifying... I mean, there's one guy. I don't think he's going to die 50 pages before the end of the book. He spends a large portion of the book looking for clinical solutions to the vampire problem, ignoring the mystic, which is interesting. How would someone respond in the face of absolute horror?

Vampire stories can be very interesting, or they can be absolute cheese. I Am Legend falls into the interesting category, and I thought it was excellent.

If the plot sounds familiar, a very loose version of this story was used for The Omega Man with Charlton Heston. And Will Smith is making a movie based on this next year.