Monday, March 31, 2008

Book: "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson 1954 (5/5 stars)

An absolutely fabulous book. It makes the recent movie attempt seem like a complete insult to the vision of this original masterpiece.

Richard Matheson is well known in science fiction and horror circles, but doesn't seem to pop up that often in discussions of classic science fiction. I have no idea why not.

He has the distinction of having a higher percentage of his novels being turned into movies than any other science fiction writer and you've heard of his work if not him. "I Am Legend" alone has been made into a movie three times, in 1964 as "The Last Man on Earth" with Vincent Price, 1971 as "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston and just recently in 2007 as "I Am Legend" with Will Smith.

Other movies that were based on his novel include:

Duel, Steven Spielberg's first movie.
What Dreams May Come
Stir of Echoes
and the up and coming The Incredible Shrinking Man

"I Am Legend" isn't just some vampire novel. It re-invented vampire novels and spawned a long string of books and movies for decades to come. A heart wrenching novel of loneliness and pathos that truly does take you through a roller coaster of emotions and gets into the head of someone who is slowly going insane.

I loved the book from the first page to the last and despite being copied again and again by author after author, has not, to my knowledge, ever been equaled by any other vampire novel.

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