Straight outta Compton, another crazy ass vampireMore punks I smoke, yo, my rep gets biggerI m a bad vampire killa and you know thisBut the pussy ass ghouls don t show thisBut I don t give a damn, I ma make my snapsIf not from the garlic, from jackin the cropsJust like burglary, the definition is jackin And when illegally armed it s called packin Put a stake through a motherf Chorus City of Compton, City of Compton Damn that book was dope I know I ve used the whole edited lyrics as review before but I couldn t resist The story takes place in Compton and I need to build my street cred so Viola I m making secret gang signs at the monitor as I type this so yo On with the review.There are advantages and disadvantage to being the last man on Earth AdvantagesYou are your own moral compass.You can smoke in the house or anywhere else for that matter You can drink yourself into a stupor anytime you wantYou have plenty of time to try and work out a cureYou can park in front of fire hydrantsDisadvantagesLonely and isolated this book does an excellent job of depicting this Horny shameless hussy vampires play on this by being provocative Nightly attacks by vampires some are feral, some are lucid, none sparkly.You suddenly have to become Mr Science Guy and MacGyver all rolled into oneAll you have to listen to is classical musicThere have been three films made from this story, all with similar scenarios After apocalyptic nightmare that alters or kills the rest of humanity, hero is lone human survivor.The Last Man on Earth This one has Vincent Price giving his typical overwrought, fey performance It also has the undead moving about as fast as your Grandma using her walker It adheres to the plotline of the book closely than the other two.The Omega Man Charleton Heston, during his SciFi period Here instead of vampires, you have evil, albino mutants Their mutant ability being annoying.I Am Legend Will Smith, big budget, CGI zombies that move faster than Granma Watching the movie will not spoil the book.This book also contains some of Matheson s short stories Matheson also wrote teleplays, some for The Twilight Zone, so a few of these stories do have that kind of vibe Most notably Buried Talents, The Near Departed, Person to Person, The Funeral.Dance of the Dead and Witch War both take place in the distant future.Mad House, a standout, and Dress of White Silk would be classified as horror Mad House is set in the fifties, before the whole concept of anger management took hold Prey has an odd familiarity to it It reads like something you would have seen on Rod Serling s Night Gallery or a very special episode of Mr Belvedere.From Shadowed Places is smexy.George Romero, Stephen King and Anne Rice have all cited Matheson as an influence He wrote a Star Trek episode and his short stories and books have been made into a number of films including Duel, Hell House, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Stir of Echoes and Somewhere in Time If you have an interest in horror, fantasy or scifi, you should give this a read Yeah, that word again Using Anne s made up words will hopefully give me even street cred. There s not much to say about this story that hasn t been said about other reviews.The premise of this story was great It was well executed, stayed interesting, and I really liked the ending I have only two criticisms the first being about the story, and the second being about the edition that I read.1 It was too short This book would have been much better if he had taken the time to flesh out some of the ideas, stretch out the mystery his search for the cause of vampirism , character development the flashbacks about his wife and daughter, and info about Ben , etc This could have been so much than it was 2 Nowhere on or in this edition did it say that after I Am Legend was a collection of Matheson s other short stories The inclusion of short stories with this edition is fine that didn t bother me It was that I didn t know that half the book was short stories that irked me I was halfway through the book when all of a sudden the story ended and I was really caught off guard I kind of flipped through the rest of the book a couple times going, huh before I realized the story was really over Granted, there is a table of contents, but I assumed they were chapter titles I didn t take the time to analyze the page numbers and figure out that they were short stories ahead of time Maybe that s my fault, but it would have been nice if somewhere on the cover it had said I Am Legend and other short stories by Richard Matheson Or something like that Grr I did read a couple of the stories and they re fairly entertaining but predictable horror stories Maybe they were cutting edge when they were written they probably inspired a lot of the things I ve seen that now make them seem less original In short Great story, but be aware beforehand that it s very short about 160 pages and the rest of this edition is other stories This is technically a collection of short stories, but I am Legend is the centerpiece, masterpiece, main event, etc I am Legend truly is a great story, deserving of all the accolades and an inspired source of all the horror genre influence over the past 60 years, including Stephen King It s about vampires the same way Castaway, the Tom Hanks film, is about the South Pacific It s about a man dealing with stress, nightmarish circumstances and his will to not just live, but to survive Matheson tells a tale of isolation, desperation, perseverance and ultimately, absolution.The other stories are not even close, many just sketches, some are comical By far the best is Prey and I remember watching the short film in the early 70s and being scared as a child Mad House comes closest to evoking the same degree of anger and isolation as I am Legend, very dark and with an almost Kafka esque absurdist twist at the end.Most notable about my reading the title story, though, was a growing understanding about the vampire zombie fascination over the past few years Matheson summed up that whole sub genre here it s all about de humanization and isolation, a literary Edvard Munch screaming about who we are amidst an outside that we cannot understand nor be a part. 4.0 to 4.5 stars Okay, this rating is going to a take a little explaining Unfortunately, I don t have a slide show or any multi colored pie charts to assist me as a visual aid on this one so I will try to be as clear as I can Warning I will probably be required to use quite a few i.e. and e.g. to provide clarification to my statements as well as some targeted use of bold and italics given that I am reviewing here without the safety net of my usual visual aids I have also decided to throw in the occassional word in Spanishwhy you ask.why not I answer Okay, from a pure enjoyment standpoint e.g., Steve, while reading, looks down and notices his toes tapping involuntarily to the smooth, jazzy flow of the narrative , I would probably go 3 to 3.5 stars i.e., no toe tapping, but I did have the occassional feeling of warmth in my tummy.though that could have just been the tacos Richard Matheson is a terrific writer and, as with most of his work, this story is very well written i.e., I have zero complaints about the prose or the technical choices Matheson took in constructing the narrative My issue was really with the main character, Robert Neville who was not the most compelling or interesting character that I have ever come across Since the entire book is spent lollygagging around with Robby as he provides running jogging walking commentary, it subtracted a bit for me at least from the enjoyment of the reading experience So why the 4.0 to 4.5 stars Several reasons that are mucho importante Oh, yeahthat s right, I just turned this into my first bilingual review First Primero is the plot This book, written in 1954, was the genesis for EVERY zombie book that follows and provides the basic framework for most of the post apocalyptic undead fiction being produced today I would also point out that it is one of the best of these kinds of stories despite being the first Here is the basic plot or argumento Robert Neville is the sole survivor of a pandemic that struck the world and caused the infected to exhibit all the signs of vampirism vampirismo He spends his day gathering supplies, fortifying his house and killing the sleeping vampires and spends his nights barricaded in his house and fending off attacks from the walking dead Sound familiar Well this is the book that started it all and I felt that deserved some serious recognition for both for its originality and Matheson s being a trailblazer pionero of the zombie sub genre Second Segundo , is the back story and explanation of both the plague and the vampires which I thought was nothing short of EXCELENTE i.e., magnifico While certainly not good science in the sense that it can be analyzed objectively, the explanations given are compelling and very interesting reading I actually wish time had been spent on this aspect of the book because I thought it was just fant stico i.e.if you really need a translation of this that one, you need to put the crash helmet back on Third Tercero , is the end of the book which, in my opinion, is worthy of 5 stars all by itself I would say that goes double for the very last line of the book which I think makes it a 10 star ending, but I will have to go back and check my math Thus, Matheson being the superb writer that he is, not only invents a sub genre but then, over 50 years after the fact, still can claim to have one of the best written, most original examples of it That is pretty especial.Thus for all of the reasons motivos above, I am giving the book a rating of 4.0 to 4.5 stars despite not always enjoying the book as much as I would have liked However, if you haven t read this, I would highly recommend it as I think it has a lot going for it. I know there is a lot going for this book, in terms of popular opinion, influence, and originality, so you ll have to forgive me for interposing my body with the flywheel we ll see what s left at the end.In a discussion between Douglas Adams and Lewis Wolpert, the argument was made that the individual is unimportant in science, but is paramount in art Walpert proposed that scientific discovery is inevitable, as the confluence of ideas will tend to produce parallel developments, such as with Newton and Leibniz, or Darwin and Wallace.However, I would venture that this is equally applicable to the arts, which respond just as readily to shared influences and social pressures The process of an artistic movement developing is often geographically precise, and an indication of similar origins than of proselytism.The vast cited influence of this book, then, is less remarkable when looking at the movements and ideas surrounding it The themes of horror always follow scientific discovery, as the Industrial Revolution brought forth Frankenstein, or the Communist scare alien threats This book draws upon the same sources and brings in the idea of apocalypse newly popularized by the nuclear age to create something which is not altogether as insightful as it is inevitable.Apocalyptic literature was hardly new, whether in a modern vision like Shelley s Last Man or ancient religious eschatology The nuclear age personalized the apocalypse, so that it was no longer the result of chance or divinity, bringing it to the forefront in a way pervasive than the religious warnings of a nigh end which go unfulfilled every other year Yet Matheson s vision is not this new, personalized apocalypse, but a continuation of plage fiction.For his proto zombies, Matheson took influence from the Communist scare aliens and bodysnatchers of the pulps to create a force which is mindless, anti individualistic, and inhuman, combining it with the vampires of film One can look at this as an early recognition of the danger and power of viral memetics.These same ideas will contine to be carried on after this work, not only though the oft mentioned zombie stories, but also through speculative fiction as represented by the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits which Matheson wrote for Beyond this, you may see I Am Legend as prototypical of the standard gotcha ending on which these series came to rely and heavily.All these movements and ideas are rife with opportunity for writers looking for a paradigm shift, but I would argue that I Am Legend fails to take advantage of these plentiful ideas One might point out that it is an early example, but this alone does not save it, as we may point out earlier writings which tackle similar issues with a greater depth and sense of conceptual exploration.There is Shelley s The Last Man , Bierce s Can Such Things Be , or the works of Mann, Hesse, and Conrad, who explored similar themes of inhumanity, hopelessness, sex, death, loneliness, and plague and who did so much fully and with a sense of joy and artistry.There are many cases where pulp authors are later found to have overcome the simplicity of their genre, whether by sense of psychology, or character, or vibrancy, or theme Shakespeare was considered a populist, and in all his fart jokes, cliches, and story borrowing, we might compare him to Family Guy or The Simpsons the latter drawing allusions from 1980 s culture as he drew his from Greek Myth.But I digress Matheson as an author does not bear these strengths, and misses many opportunities to take advantage of the themes he explores, which may be new in their particular combination, but not without literary precedent.Matheson often lays open his characters psychological motivations His every statement of action or interaction is followed by an explanation of the thoughts and events which have just occurred However, his explanations do not expand our understanding of the characters Instead, the accompanying narration is so simple that one begins to feel that Matheson is simply telling you the same thing twice or even three times.If our protagonist asks a question, Matheson inevitably follows with he asked, incredulously It seems the fact that the character was both clearly incredulous and asking a question did not seem self evident enough Then again, nothing in the book is too self evident to prevent Matheson from painstakingly explaining it several times.He tells us what his characters are thinking almost constantly, despite the fact that it rarely offers any further insight One might achieve a similar effect by taking a Hemmingway story and having a high schooler add in how the character would be expected to feel after every piece of dialogue.Matheson doesn t have a flair for psychology, and so his characters reactions are often either unjustified or oversimplified Instead of writing characters who fit the story, Matheson seems to constantly change the characters or the story to try to achieve his authorial goals But then, how would one build an entertaining story around such shallow characters The protagonist is fond of lecturing the reader on behalf of the author, at which point Matheson seems to recognize his own transparency, deflecting by providing the character with sudden mood shifts before slowly creeping back Comparisons to Stephen King are apt another author whose storytelling is jumbled and rough despite the potential of the concepts driving it.It is not difficult to understand why this book was so influential in the process of reading it, I was constantly thinking of things I wished the author would do with the story Every time he overstated a point or underexplored a theme, I began to imagine how I might do it differently I pictured Romero closing the book having already built an entire movie in his head by simply extending where Matheson faltered.Indeed, the book often reads like a screenplay, complete with plodding character descriptions to keep the actors from getting lost At every turn, it breaks the rule of authorship that it is better to show the reader what is happening than to tell him Matheson s combination of ideas and influences should have been interesting, but his repetitive overexplaning mars the form of the story while his borrowed themes go unexplored for the sake of a gimmick ending.I will not deny that this work exists in a certain nexus along the development of some very important and interesting genres and works, but it is rough draft than groundbreaking original It is less an inspiring work than the one which revealed that there was a lot of space for other authors to re introduce old ideas by new means and methods If only Matheson had been able to take up this challenge himself, instead of making the void conspicuous by inhabiting it, we might remember this book not from where it happened to be, but from what it managed to do there. Richard Matheson 1926 2013 In Memoriam.Such is the low profile of some great writers that it s only now I discovered that this early sf favourite of mine died five months ago I discovered sf in my teens as you know, the answer to the question when was the golden age of science fiction is 14 and I Am Legend was the first novel I read all in one without a break because I couldn t do anything except read it, I was as hypnotised as a rabbit in the headlights of a big van being driven straight at my head Man, what a trip Those were the great days of reading when every page was like an explosion This short novel, if I remember right, is frighteningly bleak, there s not the slightest chance of any kind of happy ending It was the first apocalyse story I read Now they re as common as traffic cones How many times have you seen the Statue of Liberty s arm poking up out of a heap of rubble the engulfing waters a pile of corpses Very surprisingly, the latest movie version of I am Legend was pretty good, I thought, except for the usual audience tested fake ending I usually mentally discount the last scene of every big budget movie these days, it s the next to last scene which is the real ending It s a convention, they have to do it I did enjoy the head of the Statue being hurled into the street in Cloverfield which was a great little apocalyse movie, and one I could imagine Richard Matheson writing I gave that scene my Best use of the Statue of Liberty in an SF Movie award for that year The wonderful tv series The Walking Dead is son of I Am Legend and I hope RM enjoyed the first couple of series before he died and didn t come back again. Great book. Two points I want to make A the movie was crap, especially when compared to the book, and B this is so much than just a vampire novel First, the whole movie thing In both, Robert Neville is the last human on Earth and that is where all similarities end If you ve seen the movie, it won t ruin the book for you as the two are nothing alike The setting is different, the protagonist is different except for a shared name , the creatures are different vampires in the book and nocturnal zombie like creatures in the movie , and the plot points don t even get me started on the plot points I can understand why diehard fans of the novel were upset by the movie This is a case of film ruining a superior narrative Robert Neville s pain, perfectly captured by Matheson, just doesn t translate to the screen.Second, sure it can be classified as a vampire book, but the vampires are somewhat in the background What takes center stage in the book is Robert Neville s aching loneliness as he confronts the reality that he is destined to live the rest of his life without the hope of human contact or companionship what s outside his door at night isn t nearly as terrifying as that prospect The portrayal of his progression through the stages of acceptance is heartbreaking the dog chapter was almost than I could bear Moral issues abound what s the point in trying to survive if you know you re the last of your kind Does it matter if you live to see another day There are no easy answers, especially as his situation is given complexity by human nature s innate tenacity and stubborness There s a lot to think about here, which makes it satisfying than your run of the mill horror novel Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder Amazing E Book, I Am Legend And Other Stories By Richard Matheson This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book I Am Legend And Other Stories, Essay By Richard Matheson Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You Questions arising out of my reading of this book 1 Why have I never read Richard Matheson before 2 Why did no one ever tell me what an amazing storyteller Matheson is 3 How does someone channel such elegant prose, and such profound imagination, into a story with so much humanity 4 Why was I unaware of how incredibly influential Matheson s story has been on multiple genres, from post apocalypse tales, to zombie plagues and vampire ficion 5 Why did Will Smith and the Hollywood brain trust so completely alter the plot and ruin the spirit of the original 6 Why did no one get punched for the travesty mentioned in 5 above 7 Will I ever forget the haunting final words of this incredible story I think I know the answer to this one.
- 317 pages
- I Am Legend and Other Stories
- Richard Matheson
- 03 July 2019 Richard Matheson