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I Am Legend

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Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has succumbed to the vampire plague, and they are hungry for Neville's blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

160 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 1954

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About the author

Richard Matheson

706 books4,063 followers
Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of whom (Chris, Richard Christian, and Ali Matheson) are writers of fiction and screenplays.

His first short story, "Born of Man and Woman," appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1950. The tale of a monstrous child chained in its parents' cellar, it was told in the first person as the creature's diary (in poignantly non-idiomatic English) and immediately made Matheson famous. Between 1950 and 1971, Matheson produced dozens of stories, frequently blending elements of the science fiction, horror and fantasy genres.

Several of his stories, like "Third from the Sun" (1950), "Deadline" (1959) and "Button, Button" (1970) are simple sketches with twist endings; others, like "Trespass" (1953), "Being" (1954) and "Mute" (1962) explore their characters' dilemmas over twenty or thirty pages. Some tales, such as "The Funeral" (1955) and "The Doll that Does Everything" (1954) incorporate zany satirical humour at the expense of genre clichés, and are written in an hysterically overblown prose very different from Matheson's usual pared-down style. Others, like "The Test" (1954) and "Steel" (1956), portray the moral and physical struggles of ordinary people, rather than the then nearly ubiquitous scientists and superheroes, in situations which are at once futuristic and everyday. Still others, such as "Mad House" (1953), "The Curious Child" (1954) and perhaps most famously, "Duel" (1971) are tales of paranoia, in which the everyday environment of the present day becomes inexplicably alien or threatening.

He wrote a number of episodes for the American TV series The Twilight Zone, including "Steel," mentioned above and the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"; adapted the works of Edgar Allan Poe for Roger Corman and Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out for Hammer Films; and scripted Steven Spielberg's first feature, the TV movie Duel, from his own short story. He also contributed a number of scripts to the Warner Brothers western series "The Lawman" between 1958 and 1962. In 1973, Matheson earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay for The Night Stalker, one of two TV movies written by Matheson that preceded the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Matheson also wrote the screenplay for Fanatic (US title: Die! Die! My Darling!) starring Talullah Bankhead and Stefanie Powers.

Novels include The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, again from Matheson's own screenplay), and a science fiction vampire novel, I Am Legend, which has been filmed three times under the titles The Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth and once under the original title. Other Matheson novels turned into notable films include What Dreams May Come, Stir of Echoes, Bid Time Return (as Somewhere in Time), and Hell House (as The Legend of Hell House) and the aforementioned Duel, the last three adapted and scripted by Matheson himself. Three of his short stories were filmed together as Trilogy of Terror, including "Prey" with its famous Zuni warrior doll.

In 1960, Matheson published The Beardless Warriors, a nonfantastic, autobiographical novel about teenage American soldiers in World War II.

He died at his home on June 23, 2013, at the age of 87


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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,413 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
2,790 reviews500 followers
March 23, 2020
Absolutely disturbing modern classic! Robert Nevile is the last human in town, maybe on earth. All others are infected and turned into vampires. You read how more and more got infected, how they were buried (this will give you nightmares). There was a pandemic (seems familiar in times like ours at the moment). Ben Cortman, colleague and neighbour who reminds him on Oliver Hardy (the comedian) shouts every evening he should come out. But Robert doesn't want to turn into one of them. He does research on the bacterium that transforms humans into vampires. He takes care of a dog. At some time a woman who calls herself Ruth, enters his dreadful life. Is she infected? At the end you'll come to know who says 'I am Legend' and what's the meaning behind. This is a fantastic, extremely well written book with a very serious message. I can highly recommend reading it. Great plot, great prose, compelling and several movie adaptions!
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
April 25, 2023
"I am legend". These words make me shudder. But if you have only seen that Will Smith movie that went 180 degrees on the book's message, the soul-crushing impact of these words will be lost on you.

To quote Stephen King, "I think the author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson." This was enough of a recommendation for me to go and dig up this book. And it's great.
Robert Neville, as you may already know from the countless cinematic adaptations of the story, seems to be a sole survivor of a vampirism-like pandemic. (The old-fashioned burn-in-the-sunlight stake-through-the-heart vampirism, none of that newfangled emo sparkliness.) Neville stakes vampires by day, and researches the cause of the plague in his spare time. The long segments of the story are devoted to the relentless monotony of his scientific pursuit of the vampirism mystery - which he does figure out, by the way. And it's quite neat.

We witness the years of deep depression, alcoholism, and the suffocating isolation, loneliness and despair. Then one day he meets Ruth who may be another survivor of the pandemic. And that's where any similarities to the movie stop, and the story becomes less of a lone-hero-tale and more of the soul-crushing-hopeless-revelation-tale.
The story of the lone righteous hero, the brave vampire hunter has a sure guaranteed readers' appeal (I, for instance, adore Stephen King's Salem's Lot). Matheson, however, brilliantly decides to take the road less traveled and turns the legend on its head. He introduces an unexpected perspective that forces the protagonist and the reader look at things in a new - and shocking - light. After all, the line between a hero and a horror is very thin, and usually very subjectively drawn.

This is not a traditional vampire story in any shape or form. There is no supernatural element - unless you think so of germs. Instead it involves evolution - of the hero and the monsters alike, and not in the ways that are comforting to the reader. The horror lies in its unsettling revelations about the human nature. It is also a story in which happy ending is impossible by default - which Hollywood, of course, promptly 'fixes'. At least Will Smith got a blockbuster out of the butchered story.

Given the number of the cinematic adaptations of this book, it continues to fascinate Hollywood. I'm just waiting for the day when they make one that actually captures the intended impact of Matheson's story.

The writing is a bit dry, the science sections drag on a bit, and the protagonist is rather unlikable, but I forgive all this for the punch-in-the-gut impact the story had on me. 4 stars.
Profile Image for F.
294 reviews252 followers
February 10, 2017
I loved this book! Was very creepy to read.
I thought it was brillant from beginning to end.

One of my favourite books of all time ever!
That ending! WOW
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
April 7, 2022
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

It was influential in the development of the zombie-vampire genre and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. Robert Neville appears to be the sole survivor of a pandemic that has killed most of the human population and turned the remainder into "vampires" that largely conform to their stereotypes in fiction and folklore: they are blood-sucking, pale-skinned, and nocturnal, though otherwise indistinguishable from normal humans. Implicitly set in Los Angeles, the novel details Neville's life in the months and eventually years after the outbreak as he attempts to comprehend, research, and possibly cure the disease. Swarms of vampires surround his house nightly and try to find ways to get inside, which includes the females exposing themselves and his vampire neighbor relentlessly shouting for him to come out.

Neville survives by barricading himself inside his house every night; he is further protected by the traditional vampire repellents of garlic, mirrors, and crucifixes. Weekly dust storms ravage the city, and during the day, when the vampires are inactive, Neville drives around to search them out in order to kill them with wooden stakes (since they seem impervious to his guns' bullets) and to scavenge for supplies. Neville's past is occasionally revealed through flashbacks; the disease claimed his daughter, whose body the government forced him to burn, as well as his wife, whose body he secretly buried but then had to kill after she rose from the dead as a vampire. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه نوامبر سال2017میلادی

عنوان: من افسانه‌ ام؛ نویسنده: ریچارد ماتیسن؛ مترجم: پریسا کاروند؛ ویراستار نرگس حسنی؛ تهران: انتشارات پریان‏‫، سال‏‫1395؛ در263 ص؛ شابک9786009331666؛ داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م‬‬

این کتاب یکی از نامدارترین رمان‌های خون‌آشامی سده بیستم میلادی است؛ و هماره در فهرست ده خواندنی انتقادی برتر ژانر وحشت بوده است؛ کتاب نخستین بار در سال1954میلادی نگاشته شده؛ اما داستان در سال1976میلادی (یعنی بیست و دو سال پس از نگارش) رخ می‌دهد، و به‌ همین‌ برهان در طبقه‌ بندی علمی‌و خیال انگیز قرار گرفته است؛ «من افسانه‌ ام» در سال2012میلادی جایزه‌ ی «برام استوکر» را از آنِ خود کرد؛

شخصیت نخست این داستان، «رابرت نویل»، تنها فرد زنده‌ ی روی زمین است...؛ اما او تنها نیست؛ طاعون درمان‌ناپذیری، همه ی افراد جامعه‌ اش را، به موجوداتی شب‌رو و تشنه‌ به‌ خون، بدل کرده، که میخواهند، او را نیز نابود کنند؛ «رابرت نویل» روزها به شکارچی بدل می‌شود؛ کسی که ویرانه‌ های متروکه‌ ی تمدن را، در پی خون‌آشام‌ها جستجو می‌کند، و شب‌ها در خانه‌ اش پناه می‌گیرد، و برای برآمدن خورشید انتظار می‌کشد...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 17/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews943 followers
March 7, 2018

Honestly, this is a tough book to review.

I did like the story, but one of the biggest bothers for me here was not fully understanding why the world has gone to shit & why everyone is now a vampire.

The book just drops you right in the middle of Robert Neville's situation, which is a day to day existence of killing vampires during the day & hiding in his house during the night.

I'm the kind of SF reader who likes a bit of depth to be given to the cause of disaster, and this story largely glosses over the "Why?"

But I'm coming at it from the angle of a reader who has exhausted the zombie/vampire/virus genre. For the time it was written, this probably struck readers in a much different way.

If you're basing your opinion of this book solely off your knowledge of the movie, I'd ahead and throw that idea out the window because this book is nothing like the Will Smith, good-guy-out-to-save-humanity, crying-over-his-dog, self-sacrificing version Hollywood has created.

This is much darker.

In fact, I imagine a group of important movie folks came to the conclusion that Matheson's story is "pretty nifty, but how about we throw out all the deep, scary conclusions about human nature & amp up the action x1000 & also we need a German Shepherd in there so Smith comes off as even more relatable & wholesome."

Robert Neville is not necessarily squeaky clean protagonist, and that realistic quality of his character is essential to the observations Matheson is making here. By the end, you aren't 100% sure what outcome you're rooting for & for me that is one of the most powerful aspects of how the story is told.

But again, I'm not sure I'm fully on board with the details of why & how Neville has managed to survive for years under these conditions.

Neville has brick- & rock-proofed his home against the vampires that are constantly trying to get in with a reliable supply of garlic. He sound proofs his house, has a gas generator that he keeps running by way of a nearby gas station, and an ungodly amount of alcohol, cigarettes, and wine in his home.

I guess a scenario where all of those things exist in Neville's possession isn't outlandish but the story itself wasn't long enough to explore any sort of break down of these proofs, and thus it felt a bit unrealistic to me.

Even so, Matheson does well in capturing the absolute lowest levels of human desperation, taking us down deep into the terrifying subconscious of a secluded man on the brink of losing his ability to be compassionate & remember what it means to be human.

The pro here is, if you're curious about this story, it's short & will only take a bit of time to consume. If you don't love it, no big loss. If you do, well now you know!

Unfortunately I didn't love it, but I appreciate the concepts here & I definitely enjoyed the last 1/4 a lot more than the first 3/4. Worth a read!

This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books822 followers
January 10, 2021
This was a heartbreaking, yet innovative story. You really felt for Neville, as he struggles with the new normal that he is forced to live in. Each and every time you feel like there is some hope for this character, it is is stripped from him, in ways that you wouldn't expect. And you join him, as he falls deeper into a depression and state of hopelessness. This isn't a long story, and I felt could have had some more detail in certain areas, but it was a solid character-driven book. I also really loved the depth of the scientific rationale, as it pertained to the vampires.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews937 followers
October 14, 2020
Apocalíptico, desolador y con más drama que la película.

Sin iniciar este libro ya estaba informado de que la película protagonizada por Will Smith en el 2007, era muy diferente a la historia original presentada por Richard Matherson. Y sí, claro que hay cambios importantes, pero al comparar y analizar con minuciosidad notaremos que la diferencia no es tan drástica como inicialmente parece. La adaptación cambió el argumento original, pero mantiene los temas claves que el autor expresó en su nóvela. Soy leyenda, es una excepción, donde tanto el libro como la adaptación tienen argumentos con gran desarrollo y bases bien definidas; sin importar el triste porvenir que nos es presentado, disfrutaremos de esta historia sin dudar.

La elección de vampiros en la novela y zombies en la película es correcta, debido a que los miedos que siente el público pueden variar dependiendo de la época. Así como en el siglo XX los vampiros gozaban de fama por el horror que causaban, en la actualidad muchos temen a los zombies por tantas películas apocalípticas. Si las criaturas escogidas hubieran sido otras quizás ni conoceríamos la historia.

Respecto a la novela, Richard nos presenta una historia con matices dramáticos muy interesantes, que nos hace imaginar cómo sería el mundo en caso de la propagación de una enfermedad que amenaza la extinción de la raza humana. ¿Cómo el coronavirus? Si, algo así, pero más fatalista. Acompañaremos a Neville, el protagonista, en su tristeza, soledad y desesperación por enfrentarse a la cruel realidad. Neville sentirá que no tiene motivos para seguir viviendo y constantemente sufrirá por su lamentable estado a lo que llama vida. Por la pandemia que estamos viviendo en este 2020, podremos fácilmente “ponernos en los zapatos” de Neville, entenderlo y leer hasta el final su historia sin perder el interés. Soy leyenda, es una excelente opción para leer en estos tiempos de pandemia.

La aventura de Neville fue interesante, la explicación del origen de la enfermedad fue correcta y me gustó que el autor nos contara la historia del pasado y el presente simultáneamente. También es muy destacable la capacidad de esta historia de hacerte reflexionar y preguntarte: ¿Qué harías si fueras el último sobreviviente de la humanidad? ¿Te esconderías en tu casa y vivirías con indiferencia el resto de tus días? ¿Buscarías formas de curar la enfermedad que el mundo sufre? ¿Asesinarías a todos y te convertirías en el rey de un mundo solitario? ¿Te rendirías? ¿Qué harías? Cada quien reaccionaría diferente, y la premisa de esta obra te da mucha curiosidad por conocer el desenlace de este panorama tan desesperanzador. Sin embargo, a pesar de las cualidades de esta obra, dos grandes defectos evitaron que calificara este libro con las cinco estrellas.

El primer defecto fue la narración: Fue horrible y pésima. No todo el que crea historias sabe contarlas y Richard es un ejemplo de ello. Leer su redacción fue agobiante e insoportable. ¿Cuál fue el problema? Los signos de puntuación. Es incomprensible que en la mayor parte del texto no apareciera una coma, un punto y coma, etc., sino solo el punto y de forma muy repetida. Incluso en algunas partes, aparecen párrafos de diez o más renglones y cada dos palabras nos tropezamos con un punto. Eso me pareció desesperante y se asemeja a cuando vamos en el transporte, hay muchos vehículos y vamos avanzando diez metros por minuto. Sin exagerar, es la peor narración que he leído en mi vida.

El otro defecto fue Neville. Comprendo a Neville, su situación, trastorno, aislamiento y el infierno que estaba viviendo, pero a pesar de ello, fue muy desagradable estar leyendo a un borracho que se quejaba a menudo por la impotencia de no tener sexo. ¡Que pereza de protagonista! Por Neville nunca sentí compasión o cariño y si vivía o moría no fue algo que realmente llegara a importarme. Creí que a medida que avanzarán las páginas la adrenalina de la supervivencia dotaría a Neville de rebeldía y ganas de batallar por la humanidad, pero no, que decepción de personaje. Todo el tiempo fue un perdedor depresivo y esa es la imagen que me queda de él. No sé en quien se basaría Richard para la creación de este personaje, pero en mi opinión, se equivocó completamente con la elección de las características de su protagonista. Lo irónico es que esa personalidad habría sido perfecta para un personaje secundario, ¿por qué? Porque cuando Neville entabló conversaciones su conducta ayudaba a sobresalir a los demás personajes. Es algo muy extraño, y repito que no estoy exagerando, pero sentí más curiosidad por todos los personajes, incluso el perro, que por Neville. Fue rarísimo.

Respecto al final solo expresaré que fue perfecto e inesperado por lo que sin importar los defectos y la falta de acción, este libro vale la pena terminarlo: Se los garantizo. Libro muy recomendado.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,530 reviews978 followers
August 18, 2015

I was going to rate the book a lukewarm 3 stars, but then I looked once more at the date of publication (1954) and reconsidered. A bit of historical perspective, of literary context elevates this novel to the well deserved 'genre classic' status. At the time Matheson published his science-fiction take on the gothic vampire myth, the market was a lot different from today's oversaturated landscape that has largely trivialized the subject and gave it a curious teenage romance slant. Even bringing in the scientific method of study for the phenomenon and its associated paraphernalia ( the bloodsucking, the garlic, the cross, the wooden stake, the fear of light, the sleeping underground, the bullet invulnerability) was probably a novel approach to a dusty theme:

Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages. Something with no framework or credulity, something that had been consigned, fact and figure, to the pages of imaginative literature. Vampires were passe, Summers idylls or Stoker's
melodramatics or a brief inclusion in the Britannica or grist for the pulp writer's mill or raw material for the B-film factories. A tenuous legend passed from century to century.

I didn't much care for the prose: it is concise and clear in its presentation of the main themes but I found it lackluster and unconvincing when it tried to delve deeper into emotional intensity for the main character. I could also complain about the lack of action, but I believe this is more a novel about ideas than a high octane action thriller. To finish with the grumbling, I would have liked a more rigorous attempt with the scientific speculations. Most of the ideas are sound, but the way they are fitted together seems fishy, with some of the argumentation incomplete. Let me give you a few examples :
- vampires are destroyed by sunlight, yet when they are hidden in deep cellars and dark places during the day they are still handicapped
- the transmission is supposed to be airborne, yet two other theories are given equal importance : direct contact with open wounds and insect bites (mosquitoes)
- bullet wounds are instantly healed (didn't they have exploding ammo in 1954?) yet knife cuts are still bleeding
- the disease affects the brain, but in a curious way : speech is unimpeded yet the use of tools is lost and social interaction is lost.

The last one is the one I struggled with the most. Other reviewers noticed also that the monsters are closer in behaviour to zombies than to classic vampires. Cesar Romero cites the book as a primary source, Stephen King alsao makes reference to it.

On the positive side, two aspects of the novel stand out and will probably come to define it for me in later years as the actual details of the plot will fade from memory:
- the psychological pressure of being the last man on earth : Richard Neville is utterly alone, he has nobody to turn to, has lost his wife and kid in horrible circumstances, yet he must find the resources inside himself to go on living from day to day. His heavy drinking, his episodes of paranoid depression and self destructive rage are painfull to watch, as are his efforts to organize his daily routines with checklists and his obsession in hunting down his afflicted neighbours when they are incapacitated during the day. The episode of the feral dog is probably the best written part of the whole novel.
- the implications resulting from the demotion of humanity from the top of the food chain, something that I have remarked upon in another classic I read earlier this year (The Day of the Triffids). Normalcy was a majority concept, the standard of many and not the standard of just one man. exclaims Neville towards the end of the novel, when he realizes that the monster from the fairytales is in fact himself. The future of the human race might well be carried on by people with wings or by people who use photosynthesis instead of eating solid food or by vampires who drink blood and go out only at night.

[edit] for spelling
Profile Image for Ginger.
789 reviews375 followers
November 16, 2021
Is it a good idea to read a book about a deadly plague during a pandemic?!

This is so much different than the movie!!
"In fact, I much prefer the book to the movie." - said almost every book enthusiast out there.

I Am Legend has been on my list of books to read for years. I knew that I'd likely enjoy it since it's about vampires, but I was not prepared to like it as much as I did.

Robert Neville is living alone among a deadly pandemic. Everyone has died or turned into vampires.
Robert is the last of his kind hunting down vampires during the day, stocking up on essentials (likely toilet paper...ha!), and tries to ignore the screams and taunts of the monsters at night.

It's this day-to-day life existence that gets to you.

What Richard Matheson does so well in this book is showing the isolation of Robert Neville.

He battles depression. Alcoholism. Loneliness.
He tries to save a stray dog.
He just keeps on keeping on...

As a reader, you start to question too on why he keeps on living.
While reading this book, there where times that I thought he should just open up the door.
Just let them in and kill him.
I felt bad for Robert and didn't know if I could live in this type of existence either.

There's not a ton of action in this book but I was fine with that. It was more of a slow build up to that ending.

And the ending is fantastic in my opinion.

As I'm sitting here thinking about how the book ended last night, I love where Matheson takes this plot and character.

You crafty bastard you.
Bravo Matheson! Bravo!
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
April 26, 2016
I’m not much of what you might call a “vampire guy.” By which I mean both that I am not a vampire, or a guy who likes vampires or vampire-themed endeavors. Thus it stands to reason that I never would have read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend had not the wildcard of my book club chosen it as this month’s selection. Frankly, I was a little underwhelmed by the choice. The critical “blurbs” did not help matters along. Dean Koontz said it was the “most riveting vampire novel since Dracula,” which is great, except my last – and only – vampire novel was Dracula. Another blurb called it one of the “ten all-time best novels of vampirism.” If I loved vampires, this would be meaningful. But really, I’m vampire-neutral. Maybe even slightly vampire-negative. (I mean, with the whole Twilight thing). I wholly support zombies, however.

But really, I Am Legend isn’t strictly a vampire book. (At 170 pages, it barely achieves book status at all. It's really closer to a novella). Instead, it straddles genres, stubbornly refusing to be one thing or another. Perhaps this is the reason people keep trying to turn it into a satisfying film. It is a potent canvas ripe for many different kinds of tales.

The main storyline is pure apocalyptic fiction. The novel opens with our protagonist Robert Neville as the putative last man on Earth. It is 1976, which stands in for the future since this book was first published in 1954. There has been some sort of war/disease combo that is elliptically alluded to in a short flashback. The human race is either dead or turned into vampires (Or both? Are vampires undead? I suppose I could look this up...). The exception, of course, is Robert.

Woven into the end-of-days context is an old fashioned cast-away story, akin to Robinson Crusoe or The Swiss Family Robinson. I Am Legend begins well into the vampire apocalypse, introducing Robert as a man who has learned to survive. It takes us through a typical day: waking up; eating breakfast; making repairs to the house; leaving the house to kill sleeping vampires or pick up supplies; returning home; making dinner; listening to music; getting drunk; trying to ignore the vampires outside your house who are taunting you both verbally and – in the case of the female vampires – sexually. (Because anything having to do with vampires has to touch on the repression of sexual urges in some manner).

I Am Legend is also, and most fascinatingly, a grim kind of character study. Matheson makes a rather daring literary choice in not giving Robert anyone or anything to play off of. There is not another human to talk to. There is no pet. There is not even an inanimate object like Cast Away’s Wilson to act as a sort of muse. There is only Robert. He is an angry, bitter man, which is altogether understandable. He is also a high-functioning alcoholic. Also understandable. The novel's high points are a couple powerful sequences in which this hard, down-to-basics shell is peeled away to surprisingly moving effect. (If that ambiguous sentence leaves you scratching your head, I have succeeded).

One thing I found entirely missing, other than people, is any semblance of lightness or joy. Robert – who lives in the LA-area – never has any fun with his sanctified status as last living avatar of the human race. He doesn’t go into a museum, take all the famous artwork, and then use it to decorate his bedroom. He never goes to an adult bookstore and takes all the porn. I suppose this is closer to a realistic response to losing your family, friends, and the rest of the world. Still, we can all use a laugh now and then, right?

Matheson tells this story in the third-person limited. The point of view is strictly confined to Robert and what he is seeing, feeling, thinking. The result is a constricted, almost claustrophobic atmosphere. Robert’s world is as small as it is empty. Matheson makes you feel the cramped confines of Robert’s fortress-house. He is also good at suggesting the creeping madness that comes along with that confinement.

I can’t say much more without venturing into spoiler territory, and I don’t want to do that. So instead of dancing around themes or vaguely hinting at plot-points for another 1,000 words (which is actually my first inclination), I'll just wrap this up. This is a quick, surprising little novel with a slammer of an ending.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
February 16, 2021
This is a hard book for me to rate. On one hand it’s a gritty and harrowing exploration into the mentality of extreme loneliness and isolation but on the other it’s an almost cartoonish horror that actually made me laugh when it was supposed to be haunting.

Now let me try to explain a little: there’s just something overwhelmingly ridiculous about naked vampires lurking outside Robert Neville’s house trying to lure him outside with the prospect of sex. They try to tempt him with their bodies, so they can drink his blood when he has left the safety of his home. It just seemed too comical. And to be honest, it is quite a clever move on behalf of the otherwise moronic vampires. It shows that they are cunning and manipulative; yet they still cannot figure out how to get into his house by force. It makes little sense.

Realistically it is not that hard to break into someone’s home. So, this did not sit well with me considering how ordinary and dull Neville is. His house is not fortified with any real defences. He frequently goes outside to tackle a mob of vampires with nothing but a basic pistol and somehow survives some insanely close encounters. It just took way some of the realism. And that is one of the key concepts behind the book: it is supposed to feel real.

This is not some Hollywood blockbuster. It is not about the action. It is about survival. And it’s about a degrading and miserable mind faced with the complete annihilation of society. These elements were powerful and even moving. I felt for Neville because he was so ordinary. He’s just a normal guy in a terrible situation and his skillset is very limited. He has somehow managed to survive like this for months when everyone else seems to be dead. As the book begins it is clear he is unhinged and this only gets worse, but the vampires themselves let the story down.

For me, this is one of those books made popular because it has a fantastic concept behind it, but for the horror elements need a bit of work.

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Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,041 followers
November 17, 2014
I just re-read this after watching some of the movies based on it. It's truly a chilling book. It's an apocalyptic novel. The vampire plague has destroyed our society. Much of the book focuses on our hero's loneliness. When he finds an uninfected dog, his attempts to befriend it are almost pathetic & truly heart-wrenching. It's well worth reading.

There are 3 movies that I know of that are based on this book.

The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price in the mid 60's. This follows the book pretty closely.

The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston in 1972 is very loosely based on the novel, but a great look at the 60's & 70's attitudes.

I Am Legend starring Will Smith in 2008 or so is the one I haven't seen yet. I caught the first 5 minutes & it bore no resemblance to the book & had really horrible CGI. Looked like a video game. I expected to see a Toon driving, not Will Smith.
Update: I did finally see this movie including both endings. It was incredibly bad. The happy ending was ridiculous.
Profile Image for María.
192 reviews86 followers
December 9, 2020
Me dijeron en un comentario que este era un librazo y eso es justo lo que me he encontrado.
Yo que pensaba que iba a leer la historia del último superviviente del planeta rodeado de vampiros y este libro es mucho más que eso.
Richard Matheson aprovecha esta historia para hablarnos de cómo somos los seres humanos como sociedad y de lo que es la normalidad en este contexto, cómo la mayoría marca lo que es normal y si no te unes, si no cambias o evolucionas en definitiva, si no te adaptas a lo que esta mayoría considera normal en cada momento pues estas j*****.

"Yo soy el anormal ahora. La normalidad es un concepto mayoritario. Norma de muchos, no de un solo hombre".
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
674 reviews4,302 followers
January 15, 2019
"The strength of the vampire is that no one will believe in him."

Robert Neville is the last man on earth...or is he? Following the outbreak of an incurable plague that has mutated every other human on earth into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures, Robert Neville must scavenge for food and supplies during the day, whilst hiding in his boarded-up, vampire-proof home at night. Living a solitary life for so long is not easy, and so he is constantly on the look-out for fellow survivors...

This was a buddy-read with my bestest friend, Abbie. We chose this because she is literally a speed-demon and if we had chose a long book, I would be lagging behind for too long! Turns out, I did lag behind anyway because even though we both finished I Am Legend pretty close to each other, my edition also had a selection of short stories written by Richard Matheson. So I'm only now "finishing" the entire book.

I had watched the movie I Am Legend a number of years ago. All I can remember about it is Will Smith and a dog... and that's it. Although what I've found really weird about my reading experience is that I did not cast Will Smith as the role of Richard Neville in my head - Abbie said she did.

I really liked this book, which was surprising to me given that its basically focused on one character. Usually I would find the lack of dialogue and conversation quite boring - although we did get some flashbacks to before the plague, which I particularly enjoyed, with some scenes being quite chilling. Similar to what Abbie said, the constant drinking and throwing whiskey around and smashing glasses did start to grate on me after a while. I understand his alcoholism - I'm pretty certain I might succumb to addiction myself if I was the lone survivor of some plague, but it just gets repetitive after a while. What was disturbing to me was his weird fascination with the female "vampires" - DUDE. What the fuck is wrong with you!!

Okay, so I feel like the last paragraph had a lot of complaining, so I'll talk about what I loved. I loved the SCIENCE. I was geeking out over Richard's thoughts about what possibly caused the plague. He was basically conducting his own research and it was like reading my day-to-day experiences in the lab - disappointment after disappointment. A theory that seems so promising quickly dispelled. Microbiology and bacteria are my forte, so his research around this area had me nodding along in agreement. So that was awesome. The "vampires" themselves were pretty damn scary. I got confused at times because I was like "Are they vampires or zombies? Or a mixture of both?" There were different types and it just wasn't explained very clearly at times.

As for the ending...WOW. I was blown away. One of the best endings I've ever read in a book. It felt completely out of left-field and left me a bit gobsmacked. AMAZING. I Am Legend was a great, quick read and I have to give it 5 stars out of 5. Matheson's writing is simply outstanding and I want to read more.

With regards to the short stories, some were great and some were not so great. Prey was a brilliant short story, it reminded me of Battleground by Stephen King. Dance of the Dead was also pretty eerie. I didn't really include the short stories when giving my rating for this book, as I simply wanted to rate I Am Legend as a standalone book.

But yes! More Richard Matheson is definitely on my radar. Now for another buddy read with Sadie, Mindi and Ashley from bookstagram - can't wait!
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews197 followers
May 21, 2021
'La fuerza del vampiro reside en que nadie cree en él'.Gracias, doctor Van Helsing, pensó Neville dejando a un lado su ejemplar de Drácula...
En efecto. El libro era un compendio de supersticiones y convencionalismos simples pero esa línea decía la verdad. Nadie había creído en ellos, ¿y cómo se podían luchar contra algo inverosímil?
Y antes de que la ciencia hubiese destruido la leyenda, la leyenda devoraría la ciencia y todo lo demás"

"Muchas veces había imaginado que se encontraba con alguien, se había concedido esa licencia. Pero a menudo intentaba resignarse
a la inevitable realidad. El, Robert Neville, era el único superviviente del mundo. Por lo menos, del mundo que conocía"

Podemos decir que Matheson es uno de los amos y señores del subgénero vampírico. Representándolos en sus historias de diferentes formas y con muy diversos enfoques. Y esta sería su obra cumbre dentro de ese subgénero. No es necesariamente la mejor(subjetivo), pero indudablemente es la de mayor alcance e influencia.
En esta oportunidad el eje principal no es el "horror", ni las criaturas propiamente dichas .Aunque tiene una muy interesante justificación con respecto a estos seres(un punto medio entre ciencia superstición,religión/miedo a su respectivo dios). Pero el enfoque principal son los efectos de la soledad, caminar por la cornisa de la locura, el instinto de supervivencia/adaptación. Una critica social con respecto a los parámetros de normalidad y la relación a lo desconocido/diferente.
Es curioso y llamativo cuantos bebieron de esta obra. Principalmente plantando la semilla de otro subgénero y criaturas. Historias de apocalipsis, zombies. Por ejemplo en las películas de George Romero, Walking Dead, etc. Es muy evidente la influencia en diferentes aspectos
Profile Image for Morgue Anne.
205 reviews22 followers
May 24, 2012
I just finished reading this book. Completely different from the movie (The 2007 version), I wish they would have gone with this story instead. The reader spends the whole story (Which is really only 170 pages) following the last man on earth as he fights for his survival against vampires (and yes, they are vampires). He boards up his house, stocks up on canned goods, and researches a way to combat this disease. He is not a doctor or a scientist, just a regular man stuck in an irregular situation. But, as Matheson so beautifully states, "Man can get used to anything", and so he does - burning corpses left on his doorstep by his vampire "friends", gathering fresh garlic, and fixing up his house for them to come back each night and try to drag him out.
Robert, the main character, spends years in this manner. He breaks into a nearby library and gathers an armload of books on anything and everything he thinks will be useful. In this way, Richard Matheson gives us the first realistic look at vampires from a scientific standpoint. Some vampires are afraid of crosses because of experiences in their pre-infected life. None can stand garlic - but it must be fresh and strongly scented. The reason they turn to dust? Well, read and find out. Learning the few ways there are to destroy them, Robert makes an attempt to kill a handful each day.
What he doesn't realize is that these creatures are not mindless zombies. They have emotions and desires beyond that of fresh blood. While Robert spends his nights locked away in his home, the infected have set about creating their own society. The most heart-wrenching moment (A phrase I do not use lightly) comes when a female vampire looks at Robert and tells him "I had a husband. You killed him while he was sleeping." They are not the blood-thirsty monsters he believes them to be. In fact, in their world, *he* is the monster, and that is where the book gains it's title. "I Am Legend" is like saying "I Am Boogeyman". A fantastic look at who the monsters of this world really are.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for carol..
1,575 reviews8,230 followers
August 17, 2013

There are some excellent reviews out there. I know I was complaining about sqeeing and gifs recently, but I can't help but think a classic book like this could use a little modern reviewing.




I'm a little mixed in my reading reactions to a novella that feels more like a self-conscious allegorical tale than truly innovative storytelling. The short, choppy prose suited the narrator, but gave a more limited ambiance to the setting. Given the protagonist Neville's relatively easy ability in moving around the world (seems to take a little siphoned gas and he's go to go), I felt like it was an incomplete story that left me with many questions about the world.

I do appreciate the sophisticated way Neville's personal history is blended in to the current experience, an impressive contrast to many writers who feel the need for long expository paragraphs, but I would have liked more. The limited description leaves something lacking, perhaps the extent of the devastation. Is it enough that Neville feels isolated? Do we need the steps of how he got there? What does 'humanity' mean if you are the only human? Why try to survive? I'm not sure, and as Neville poses these questions, I found myself wondering what he had done to find other survivors, the timeline of catastrophe, the extent of the world breakdown. The spare depiction make me feel like it was more of a metaphorical tale, a study in the psychology of the individual and his coping with isolation and meaning without context of society. In this respect, the movie was more able to give the visual sense of complete loneliness and the frustration of working for a potentially futile goal.

It was also hard to have sympathy for Neville. Truly an Everyman, he drowned his emotion in alcohol as often as he attempted to control circumstance. I didn't admire or respect him; he was dogged but not creative or thoughtful. The lapses into existential questioning only reinforced the emotional distance.

The ending was a surprise; perhaps more likeable than that of the movie, but also more self-conscious and created. There wasn't much build to the ending; there was very little sense of the "types" of vampires through the story--I had more of a sense of Neville's drinking preferences than the vampires. Still, it is a classic, so I'm glad I took the time to read it, but it feels a little too much like reading The Metamorphosis for my taste.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Bel.
106 reviews143 followers
May 24, 2012
Four fifths of the way through and the only thing on my mind was how incredibly boring and one-dimensional Robert Neville is. You would think that someone forced into solitude and surrounded by death and insanity would have a wonderfully colourful and twisted mind - if you're going to have a book revolving around a single character, make him a really good one. So, it wasn't until he began chasing, abusing and kidnapping a woman in the name of science (everything in this book was tunnel-viewed 'in the name of science' and dismissed any other possibilities and ways of thinking) that I let my imagination take over the plot.

I Am Legend is actually unintentionally Nabokovian. Robert Neville is a delusional psychopathic woman killer safe in his fantasy world of vampires and violence where he presents himself as the last vestige of rational thought. Closing himself off and leading a hermitic life, he spends his time dreaming about killing the filth of humanity who haunt his dreams and bitterly reflecting on his "wife", a woman who he was unhealthily obsessed with and murdered when she became a "vampire" ie he realised that she was not his misogynist vision of an inferior, man-worshipping, overly-emotional cretin lower than a dog (who he treats with more respect). One day, he finds, abuses and kidnaps a woman and locks her in his bedroom and she tries to win her freedom through seduction (though in the end finds that hitting him over the head is more effective). He gets arrested and is made to face what he has done, his victim even developing Stockholm syndrome, but further retreats into the safety of his self-deceptive mind where he twists the conventions of the world to point himself out as a legend, the last macho, narrow-minded, patriarchal"real" man.

I give this book an extra star from all the fun I had trying to salvage something interesting and in the wise words of The Smashing Pumpkins: "The world is a vampire, sent to drai-ai-aiiiiiin"
Profile Image for Fernando.
685 reviews1,127 followers
March 30, 2020
-¿Cómo sabrías si tu fueras el último hombre sobre la Tierra?
-No creo que lo supieras. Simplemente lo serías. Nadie lo sabría.
-No habría diferencia. Cuando mueres es lo mismo que si cualquier otro muriera también. Cormac McCarthy, La carretera.

Desde que Mary Shelley publicó "El último hombre" en 1826, las novelas apocalípticas o post-apocalípticas siempre se han caracterizado por contarnos una historia incómoda, no deseada e inquietante.
Las novelas de este tipo se emparentan con aquellas que conocemos como distopias, puesto que poseen varios puntos en común, como lo son el futuro no deseado, la destrucción, la incertidumbre y fundamentalmente la aniquilación de la vida humana sobre el planeta.
Con el correr del tiempo fueron apareciendo novelas que nos contaban acerca de estos desastres de distinta índole, ya que se producían por guerras, epidemias o desastres ecológicos y así, Julio Verne nos contó su historia de la destrucción del mundo en "El eterno Adán", Jack London se encargó de pintarnos la primera novela post-apocalíptica en donde estas posibilidades de destrucción eran realmente tangibles, como lo narra en "La peste escarlata" de 1912, y más adelante en el tiempo podemos leer esa conmovedora y tristísima historia de un padre y un hijo que Cormac McCarthy ideó en "La carretera" y de la cual tomo uno de sus diálogos como epígrafe.
Seguramente, hay muchas más, pero yo siempre tengo estas como más presentes. Tal vez podría sumar "La guerra de los mundos" de H.G. Wells por la naturaleza del apocalipsis que en este caso proviene de Marte. En fin... ejemplos sobran.
Cuando comencé a leer "Soy leyenda" tuve que realizar un gran esfuerzo para sacarme de la cabeza a Will Smith, protagonista de la película basada en este libro que se estrenó en el año 2007. El sólo hecho del contraste entre el Robert Neville de Matheson, rubio y de ojos celestes con Smith ya era uno de los aspectos con los cuales lidiar. Por otro lado, Matheson también nos cuenta su historias con marcadas diferencias que el lector, si ya vio la película, tiene que saber aceptar.
Puntualmente me refiero al compañero de Neville, el perro, que aparece sólo en un par de capítulo en contraste con el de la película desde que es cachorro hasta bastante avanzada la cinta. Además, la inclusión del personaje de Ruth a cargo de Matheson es ya un ingrediente completamente distinto y que le da a la novela otro tenor, especialmente en base a los objetivos de supervivencia que le quedan a Neville.
Matheson escribió su novela en 1954 y en este libro no son zombies los que persiguen a Neville. Son vampiros.
Un extraño germen que procede de Europa y Asia devasta todo Estados Unidos y por una cuestión que no pienso contar, Neville es inmune a eso y no es infectado, mientras que su esposa e hijas sí muere (él lo cuenta rápidamente), así también como sucede con su amigo Ben Cortman cuya única línea dialogo en la novela siempre es ¡Sal, Neville!, dado que es ya un vampiro convertido cuyo único objetivo es matar a Neville.
El nivel de desolación, destrucción y abandono con el que Matheson describe la ciudad de Neville es asombroso y también cabe destacar la manera en la que construye la psicología del personaje de Neville, un hombre abocado a la bebida, perseguido por el doloroso recuerdo de la muerte de su hija Kathy y la doble muerte de su esposa Virginia hace de este personaje, más allá de la crudeza y violencia que utiliza para masacrar vampiros, un hombre frágil, desolado y abatido.
Por momentos sólo quiere matarse con la bebida, en otras ocasiones, quiere dejarlo todo y dejarse atrapar por los vampiros, pero su soledad lo obliga a seguir adelante, puesto que considera que es el último hombre vivo no infectado sobre la tierra que se ilusiona con encontrar otros como él.
A partir de la mitad del libro, se darán un par de situaciones que cambiarán la naturaleza de la historia, y la harán más atractiva aún, ya que Matheson nunca permite que esta caiga en el aburrimiento o la inacción.
"Soy leyenda" está escrito como los dioses. Matheson es convincente y nos mete de lleno en toda esta desolación e infierno de vampiros, pero a la vez nos plantea el dilema de hacernos preguntar qué haríamos nosotros en si estuviéramos en los zapatos de Neville: ¿lucharíamos por la supervivencia?, ¿claudicaríamos?, ¿enloqueceríamos? Difícil saberlo, pero es una situación angustiante encontrarse en esos aprietos y a ese nivel de incertidumbre.
El Neville de Matheson también investiga una cura a partir de sus encuentros con los vampiros a la luz del día. Trata de entender por qué razón el ajo y las cruces les produce el mismo efecto que al mismísimo Drácula y sabe que tiene en el sol a un aliado, cuando sale a cazarlos con afiladas estacas, hasta que una serie de giros en la trama también le darán pistas para llegar a una posible solución, mientras intenta darle una salida a su atribulada vida.
Cabe destacar que la acción está ambientada entre enero de 1976 y enero de 1979, a diferencia del modernismo de la película protagonizada por Will Smith.
Esta edición de Editorial Minotauro también incluye el guión completo de "Las criaturas de la noche", escrito por Matheson en 1957 y que según el autor es el que debería haberse tomado para filmar la potencial película basada en su libro, algo que los estudios de cine desoyeron, incluso también el que filmó la película protagonizada por Smith. El autor se quejó de las libertades tomadas por los directores de las tres películas que en realidad se filmaron basadas en su novela y ninguna de las tres lo convencieron nunca.
Es muy difícil a veces para el cine respetar fielmente al libro, en especial a este, tan vertiginoso, tan crudo y descarnado, tan duro por momentos y que nos deja una sensación de desasosiego, impotencia y desesperanza (especialmente en sus líneas finales) y en donde volvemos a preguntarnos qué sería de cualquiera de nosotros si supiéramos que somos el último de nuestra especie en todo el planeta.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,512 reviews857 followers
July 9, 2017
This was creepy and sad too. I don't think I would have lasted long as the last person alive. I would have just given up and let myself get caught! The vampires of this story are quite zombie like, I thought. How events turn out in the end surprised me.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,207 reviews1,330 followers
March 25, 2020
I'm not sure if reading about a global pandemic that wiped out most of the worlds population was really wise at the minute, but the fact that they turned into vampires was a welcomed twist??

With sole survivor Robert Nevillie spends most of his days in isolation as he battles to find a cure, felt so devastatingly real.
As the main theme of loneliness and repetition soon leads to depression shows how much we crave human interaction.
Learing the fate of Robert's wife and daughter is even more tragic.

The vampire's added a nice monster element to the narrative that otherwise would seem so bleak, Robert's urge to find a solution does at least offer some hope.

This is without doubt a classic, but some might find it too upsetting at the moment.
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
644 reviews130 followers
January 26, 2023
Rating: 3.90

Film adaptations vary, and those that star Oscar winning actors are creatively 'adjusted' for marketing purposes; such is the case with this one.

We must first look at the book's time period, 1976-1979 which may come as a shock to those who saw the movie. An unusual plague strikes the world resulting in unprecedented death tolls and fear of going out at night by the dwindling number of the uninfected. Among the Los Angeles survivors is Robert Neville, husband, educator and above all else, human. Holed up in his home where windows are boarded and doors bolted he dotes over his wife Virginia who's battling the plague. With no cure, vaccine or medical help, she passes soon after.

The nature of the virus is about as strange as they get. Once infected, it causes the individual to hunt for blood turning him or her into a 'vampire'. But this is NOT the creature of folklore and over time Neville comes to realize this. Over the course of the three year period, he studies anatomy and disease and begins testing infected subjects with cures. On a daily basis, Ben Cortman, an infected former friend and colleague comes to his door to bate him. Neville becomes frustrated due to the virus' evolution and turns to alcohol. On days when he's not drinking, he roams the area hunting for equipment and supplies to study the virus. In the process, he discovers a blood test that will detect it.

A couple of years later, when scouring the desolate area for food and supplies in the daylight, he stumbles across Mary Lou, a weakened woman and against his better judgement takes her home. As he cares for her, flash backs of his wife surface while dreams provide details of the past. Lonely and destitute he hesitates to test Mary Lou's blood and eventually her health slowly returns. Rather than spoil the plot, the author throws an unexpected curve ball as the story draws to a close.

Engaging from the beginning, the author's skill at character development, premise and pacing result in a compelling story. And while the film incorporates elements, it differs in numerous ways. Recommended for film buffs like myself who enjoy seeking out the actual story and comparing it.
Profile Image for Justin.
284 reviews2,303 followers
September 18, 2015
1. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of the Will Smith jokes. It's going to be difficult, but I will refrain from including him in this review.

2. Stuff I liked - Matheson does an amazing job in describing the situation Neville has deal with as the only person left in the world. The scariest parts for me where when Matheson deals with themes like isolation and loneliness. That stuff was much more terrifying than the vampires (more on them later). There were entire chapters of the book describing Neville's fruitless attempts to find companionship. Those chapters along with the glimpse into Neville's past with his family were really, really good. Being alone like that is much scarier than....

3. Stuff I didn't like - vampires. Yeah, I get it. They add another level of fear to the story, and that's fine. I just felt like when the story was really taking off, it would hold itself back by getting too technical with what these creatures were, how to kill them, how to test their blood to see if they were infected, whatever. I wanted to hear more about Neville's family and how he is struggling to survive and less about what he reading at the library. Also, I'm not really huge vampire fan anyway. I'm more of a ghost story, monster in the closet, things that go bump in the night kind of guy, I guess.

4. (Don't do it, Justin. You said no Will Smith jokes this time.... don't.... do.... it............Click "Save", Justin. Get outta here.)
Profile Image for Kat  Hooper.
1,584 reviews404 followers
August 28, 2014
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I don’t like vampire novels much, so I wasn’t planning to read Richard Matheson’s classic vampire story I am Legend which was published in 1954, is also known by the title The Omega Man, and is, of course, the basis for the movie I am Legend.

But then I recently read and was enthralled by two other books by Matheson: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Steel and Other Stories. I realized that The Incredible Shrinking Man wasn’t really so much about a man who was losing his height as it was about a man who was losing his manhood. Likewise, the novella “Steel,” the titular piece of Steel and Other Stories and the premise for the movie Real Steal, isn’t so much about a fighting robot as it is about a man who, similar to the shrinking man, is fighting to keep his position in life. The psychological aspects of these stories fascinated me and I began to wonder if perhaps I am Legend wasn’t really about vampires after all.

As I suspected, it’s not. Well, on the surface it is. Robert Neville is the last human being on Earth. Everyone else has been infected with a virus that causes vampirism, but for some reason, Robert is immune. He spends his daytime hours securing his house, staking vampires, and trying to discover a cure for the virus. At night he hides indoors while the vampires, some who are his former acquaintances, try to break in. During the story there are flashbacks which show the gradual loss of Robert’s family and friends to vampirism.

I was fascinated by Robert’s preparations and daytime activities, and his studies to find the cause and cure for the virus. The thought, for example, of having free access to anything you want, including cars, jewelry, clothes, houses, art, scientific equipment, and every book in every bookstore and library in the world is exhilarating... until you realize that there’s nobody to share it with. All those things are almost meaningless outside of their social context.

So, this is Matheson’s gut-wrenching focus — what it means to be the last human on Earth, especially when you’re fighting for your life. We all know that humans are social creatures, but none of us has actually experienced a total lack of companionship. What would it mean to rule the entire world alone? And yet, as depressing as that is, why, when there’s nothing to live for, do we still cling to life so desperately? Matheson writes so powerfully about these emotions. I ached for Robert Neville and a few of Matheson’s scenes had me in tears.

The story is called I am Legend because Robert Neville gradually comes to realize that vampires, the creatures he thought were only legend, are real. Now, Robert Neville, the elusive human being who vampires fear, has become the legend.

I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version of I am Legend which is perfectly read by Robertson Dean. This is one I will listen to again. By the way, I am Legend is not a full-length novel, so some versions include additional stories in a collection called I am Legend and Other Stories.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.
Profile Image for Alvarohernandez_81.
71 reviews69 followers
September 24, 2022
Si lo que esperabas es una adaptación de la película de Will Smith como protagonista, este no es el libro. Si es cierto que tiene algunas similitudes, pero no tiene nada que ver. En mi humilde opinión, la película no le llega ni al dedo corto del pie al libro.

Es difícil reseñar este libro sin entrar en detalles sobre la trama, pero sin duda, es una novela que da un giro radical a las leyendas de vampiros clásicas, en muchas ocasiones hasta románticas. También es un libro muy existencial, ya que profundiza en conceptos como la soledad de las personas y lo que significa el colapso de una civilización.

Siendo un libro bastante cortito, 180 págs en la edición que yo tengo, nuestro protagonista Robert Neville consigue movilizar un montón de sentimientos hacia el lector y su autor Richard Matheson nos guarda una gran sorpresa para el final.

Me despido sin poder contaros mucho más, por no destripar el libro. Lo que si puedo es recomendaros totalmente su lectura. A mí me ha encantado.

Espero que lo disfrutéis y tengáis una feliz lectura. 🧛🧟

"La normalidad es un concepto mayoritario".
Profile Image for Ana Cristina Lee.
666 reviews271 followers
February 11, 2022
Clásico imprescindible si te gusta el postapocalipsis, los zombies-vampiros, los héroes solitarios, los perros, las ciudades abandonadas y pasar un poco de miedecico. También es un libro muy existencial, ya que profundiza en conceptos como la soledad de cada persona y lo que significa el colapso de una civilización.

Todo esto tiene más mérito porque está muy bien escrito y es un precursor - escrito en 1954 - que contiene muchas ideas que se han desarrollado posteriormente en el cine y la literatura. Y sí, vale la pena que lo leas aunque ya hayas visto la peli, creo que el libro es mucho menos convencional.

Más que recomendable!
Profile Image for Toby.
836 reviews331 followers
September 16, 2012

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
Profile Image for carlos carroll.
166 reviews297 followers
July 12, 2020
Ésta sería la segunda mejor novela de vampiros que he leído después de Drácula. El protagonista, Robert Neville, busca una respuesta científica a eso que se llama "vampirismo" eso es algo que me pareció súper original. Da sus ideas de por qué mueren con el sol, o no soportan el ajo, o mueren clavandoles una estaca. Pero siempre que plantea esa idea, se ve interrumpida por algo como: ¿Por qué mueren con una cruz o agua bendita? Ver ese esfuerzo que hace Neville por buscar soluciones lógicas es lo mejor del libro, eso y los vampiros, claro.
El libro también está lleno de acción, de aventura, de sorpresas y mucho más.
Los pocos personajes que haya están muy bien descritos. Nos muestran su pasado, y sus pensamientos.
El final es supremamente genial, te deja pensado. No es un final feliz, pero solo por no ser feliz signifique que sea malo.
En fin, mi segundo libro favorito de vampiros. Ojalá lo lean.
Pd: esta historia no se parece en nada a la película.
Profile Image for Aitor Castrillo.
Author 1 book885 followers
April 27, 2021
Breve, intensa y mucho más profunda que su última adaptación cinematográfica protagonizada por Will Smith.

Me ha sorprendido mucho (para bien) esta novela porque si el mundo fuera una prenda de vestir Richard Matheson consigue darle la vuelta sin que se vean las costuras. El punto de partida de colocar a un único humano en un mundo de vampiros es muy original, mientras que el día a día de Robert Neville, su acercamiento paulatino a la ciencia y los flashbacks recordando una vida que jamás volverá culminan en un desenlace que me ha parecido brillante.

"Allí estaba, sin futuro y sin presente, pero todavía se mantenía en la brecha".

Porque ya seas un humano rodeados de vampiros, un vampiro rodeado de humanos o incluso un humano rodeado de humanos hay momentos difíciles en los que hay que mantenerse en la brecha... y sobrevivir.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,851 followers
June 13, 2017
This is another one of those times when there are people who if they could would give this book far more than the allowed 5 while if I were rating it on "enjoyment alone" I'd be looking to give it negative stars. I realize this is one of the "classics" of science fiction (or science fantasy)and I don't care. I read it years ago and while I find the writing in places rates my recognition of it's quality...I don't care for the book.

Like some of Matheson's other works there are some questions that (to me) are so glaring as to be blinding while the story simply goes along it's merry way doing it's best to ignore them

Please don't get upset if I have dissed one of your favorite books...it happens to me here all the time. I just am really "underwhelmed" by this book, especially considering the "buzz" it always seems to get. If you enjoy it, I'm happy for you, it is however not one I like. I think 2 stars are generous.
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