Thursday, June 12, 2014

I am Legend by Richard Matheson

It seems strange to find a 1954 vampire novel in Millennium's "SF Masterworks" classic reprints series. I Am Legend, though, was a trailblazing and later much imitated story that reinvented the vampire myth as SF. Without losing the horror, it presents vampirism as a disease whose secrets can be unlocked by scientific tools. The hero Robert Neville, perhaps the last uninfected man on Earth, finds himself in a paranoid nightmare. By night, the bloodthirsty undead of small-town America besiege his barricaded house: their repeated cry "Come out, Neville!" is a famous SF catchphrase. By day, when they hide in shadow and become comatose, Neville gets out his wooden stakes for an orgy of slaughter. He also discovers pseudoscientific explanations, some rather strained, for vampires' fear of light, vulnerability to stakes though not bullets, loathing of garlic, and so on. What gives the story its uneasy power is the gradual perspective shift which shows that by fighting monsters Neville is himself becoming monstrous--not a vampire but something to terrify vampires and haunt their dreams as a dreadful legend from the bad old days. From Goodreads.

I think I might repeat myself here from my review in 2012. 
Read the book, it is so much better than the film with Will Smith and the film is nothing like the book. In a scary way I like the ending in the book and find it more possible than the film version.
I am sure I will either read or listen to this book again. 

This book qualifies for:
2014 Audio Book Challenge
You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge 2014
Goodreads Reading Challenge 2014

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