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I Am Legend Paperback – Unabridged, September 15, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read the original - I'd seen the Vincent Price, Charleton Heston and Will Smith film versions, and I knew they weren't exactly true to the original. Read morePublished 2 days ago by LT
Book was as good as it was the last time I read it. The book cover did not match what was shipped and I got the stupid one with Will Smith on it.Published 4 days ago by Bryan
it's not the Will Smith movie, so don't expect that. The Heston film was a better match. I'm glad I read the book for the additional perspective on the same storyPublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Before there was a Zombiepocalypse, there were vampires. It is interesting that this book spawned three different movies (four if you count Night of the Living Dead). Read morePublished 7 days ago by Shane C. Pruyne
Great story. I have found that when I watch a movie before reading the book for that movie, I always enjoy the movie better. And the same is true when I read the book first. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Just_Another_Customer
Can't believe it took me this many years--make that decades--to finally get around to absorbing Matheson's quick-read mid-century masterpiece. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Stigmata67
I thought it was good. I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't seen the movie. I kept trying to envision scenes from the movie as I read the book which never crossed within the... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Matt N