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I Am Legend (RosettaBooks into Film Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Richard Matheson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,080 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.

I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was.

The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Burton Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American author and screenwriter working primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. Between 1950 and 1971, Matheson produced dozens of stories, frequently combining elements from the different genres in which he works, making important contributions to the further development of modern horror. Matheson wrote fourteen episodes for the American television series The Twilight Zone, including the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Notably, Steven Spielberg's first full length film (made for television) was based on the story “Duel,” for which Matheson also wrote the screenplay.

Matheson's first novel, Someone is Bleeding, was published in 1953. His thirty novels since then include The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, again adapted from Matheson's own screenplay), and a science fiction/vampire novel, I Am Legend (made into film as The Last Man on Earth, 1964, The Omega Man, 1971, and
I Am Legend, 2007).

A new film based on Matheson's story “Steel,” entitled Real Steel, is a major motion picture that was released in October 2011. His most recent novel, Other Kingdoms, appeared in March 2011.

According to film critic Roger Ebert, Matheson's scientific approach to the supernatural in I Am Legend and other novels from the 1950s and '60s anticipated the "pseudorealistic fantasy novels like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist." In 2010, Matheson was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and Stephen King has cited Matheson as a creative influence; his novel Cell is dedicated to Matheson along with filmmaker George A. Romero. Author Anne Rice has said that Matheson's short story, "A Dress of White Silk" was a primary early influence on her interest in vampires and fantasy fiction.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of the most influential vampire novels of the 20th century, I Am Legend regularly appears on the "10 Best" lists of numerous critical studies of the horror genre. As Richard Matheson's third novel, it was first marketed as science fiction (for although written in 1954, the story takes place in a future 1976). A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease, but the grim irony is that now he is the outsider. He is the legendary monster who must be destroyed because he is different from everyone else. Employing a stark, almost documentary style, Richard Matheson was one of the first writers to convince us that the undead can lurk in a local supermarket freezer as well as a remote Gothic castle. His influence on a generation of bestselling authors--including Stephen King and Dean Koontz--who first read him in their youth is, well, legendary. --Stanley Wiater

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The world's population has been obliterated by a vampire virus, though Neville has somehow survived. As he toils to make sense of it all and protect himself against the hounding vampires who seek out his life force, Neville embarks on a series of projects to discover the source of the plague and hopefully put an end to the vampires. In a tale that plays with the slippery slope of sanity, Dean makes the perfect choice for a narrator. His powerful performance proves chilling and haunting. As Neville teeters on the edge of sanity, Dean manipulates his tone, speed, emphasis and projection accordingly, making listeners tremble with his narration. While some might rebuke his narration for being too dramatic or providing too much interpretation, Dean's intensity adds to the book in a way that benefits listeners over readers. The visceral nature of his performance evokes the image of a foamy-mouthed Dean growling at a microphone with spittle flying. A Tor paperback. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1352 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (May 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00514HDNW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,355 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
424 of 457 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vampire novel second only to Stoker's November 24, 2001
Format:Paperback
I am Legend is arguably the greatest short horror novel ever written, and its influence on the horror genre has been profound. Stephen King and many other of today's masters rank this book highly in their personal top ten lists of favorites. It is a short novel that can be read in one sitting; it is hard to put down, building in intensity from start to finish. Matheson creates an entirely new type of vampire fiction herein. Transcending the traditional vampire tale, he adds science fiction elements to produce a refreshing new interpretation of Stoker's legend. The most fascinating part of the story is the protagonist's (Richard Neville's) attempts to explain the legendary aspects of the vampire myth in scientific terms. His discovery of a bacterium, which he dubs vampiris, as the true source of vampirism struck me anew reading the novel again after the events of September 11, 2001. Although we only get pieces of the story regarding the outbreak of the vampiric plague, including a reference to bombings, it can easily be seen as the fruits of germ warfare. Neville even conjectures that the Black Death of the Middle Ages was caused by this same vampiris germ, and he extrapolates facts and ideas from that history in his attempts to understand why such defenses as garlic, crosses, and stakes driven into the heart actually are effective against the hordes of undead creatures menacing his own time. He studies academic texts and conducts experiments with the blood of these creatures, which is the means by which he identifies the bacterium. The essence of garlic has no effect on the germ when injected into a blood sample, which initially he is unable to explain, but he later is able to explain garlic's effectiveness. Read more ›
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
SO BUY THIS BOOK!

This is where it all started. The pioneering work that later inspired George Romero's "Night Of The Living Dead" and Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" and every other tale of a normal human being fighting against the odds in a world gone mad with the hungry hordes of the undead.
Matheson, a TV writer (most notable work, "The Twilight Zone"), places us in a world where a mysterious virus has not only killed off virtually ever other man, woman and child but causes them to return as zombielike vampires intent on only one thing... to drain the blood of the living. Matheson's hero holds up in his old family home, now a battered fortress assaulted nightly by what were once his friends and neighbors and who have become the walking dead intent on taking hold and devouring him. He, in turn, waits until the morning light and searches out there hiding places in order to destroy the revenants when they are at their most vulnerable. A one man army, who is patiently, skillfully ridding his world of this vermin.
Fortunately, in one of his sweeps he finds that there is another who is doing the same thing. He is not alone in the world afterall.
Unfortunately, this other wants to destroy him as well.

Matheson wrote a thinking man's horror novel. He touches on that feeling of alienation and loneliness that pervades so much of our modern world. A world that places us as pawns, used (and often victimised) by the science and technologies of our own creation. However, Matheson also inspires in the reader a feeling of hope and fighting back even if the odds are staggeringly against us. He appeals to the survivalist instincts that every healthy, normal man and woman possess. He builds the anger in us to strike back and overcome the menace to our existence.
Read more ›
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154 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Legend January 27, 2000
By Nathan
Format:Paperback
This novel, although short, is absolutely outstanding.
While this book is advertised as one of the best vampire novels of all time, it is really not about the vampires at all, but about a man. This is the story of what one man can endure, what his limits are, how much he can accept, and what will happen when he goes too far.
Yes, there are vampires in the book, and yes, he does hunt them by day, but it's not an action story; the suspense is more pyschological. This is also one of the more different vampire books you will ever read.
Somewhat short and written precisely, words are not wasted here, and the beauty and simplicity of the language is part of the appeal that this book holds. Robert Neville is an amazingly real character, and the ending of this book is perfect. While I have not yet read the multiple other stories by Matheson in this volume, I Am Legend alone is worth the cover price.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorite books! June 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Matheson's I AM LEGEND has been made into three bad movies:

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH starred Vincent Price. Made back in 1964, it's the most faithful of the adaptations, but hindered by a very low budget.

THE OMEGA MAN starring Charlton Heston, 1971, could charitably be described as "based upon" I AM LEGEND. Worst of the bunch.

I AM LEGEND the big budget action movie starring Will Smith (2007) was reasonably faithful in an "amp it up and blow it away" manner, but continued the tradition of totally missing the ending. Hint: To see what Matheson was getting at with the ending, look at the title!

Anyway, the book remains one of my all-time favorites. It's still the only book I've ever finished and then immediately returned to page one to read again!

If you're expecting a "zombie gross-out" or anything along those lines, you'll be disappointed. There's suspense a'plenty, but mainly it's a personal drama as Robert Neville strives to find meaning in a world in which he no longer belongs.

Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This!!!
WOW!!! This book completely blows the movie out of the water. The deep meaning behind this is something that I am still processing in my mind. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pioneering Effort in the Vampire Genre
I wanted to enjoy this novella more, but it didn't engage me enough to keep me turning the pages. I would put the book down for weeks and then pick it up again, read a bit more,... Read more
Published 1 day ago by The philosopher
5.0 out of 5 stars I am glad I corrected that
I have see two of the three movies but somehow I never read the book.
I am glad I corrected that. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Cranky Buddha
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie stank
How could they make the movie so poorly, when the book was so good? I get they wanted to stay away from the name "vampire", but to TOTALLY miss the point of the book like... Read more
Published 5 days ago by S. Reed
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Disappointing.
Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars very good
A very surprising book and very good twist at the end. It was nothing like the movie, much like the book world war z is nothing like the movie. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Afld Manager
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
so-so
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars great book. nothing like the movie.
If u are expecting the Will Smith version u will be disappointed. I really enjoyed this book even with my preconceived notions on the story. Read more
Published 18 days ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still a great story even after decades of time.
Published 19 days ago by C1t1z3nz3r0
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
In great condition!
Published 21 days ago by Amy
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More About the Author

Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and subsequently filmed as The Omega Man (in 1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (in 2007), starring Will Smith. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man. The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone. He continued to write short stories and novels, some of which formed the basis for film scripts, including Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. A film of his novel What Dreams May Come was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. Stephen King has cited Richard Matheson as a creative influence on his work.

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