I Am Legend… Wait For It… Dary. (By Richard Matheson)

October 10, 2012 Dystopian, Vampires 12

Happy Halloween Month, Bookworms!

I’m gearing up for The Walking Dead premiere next Sunday, so I decided to read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. I saw the Will Smith movie, and while not overly impressed, it was certainly tolerable, and since books are always better than their movies, it seemed like a good bet. This book was awesome. But it was about vampires, not zombies. Luckily, Matheson’s vampires aren’t sexy, sparkly, or suave, so they may as well have been zombies. Zombies that can sort of think. Terrifying.

This book was crazy good! I could not put it down, I seriously read the whole thing in a day. Here’s the doomsday scenario- the population of earth is crippled by a mysterious disease. This disease slowly kills the hosts and they rise from the dead looking to consume fresh blood. Robert Neville, as far as he can tell, is the only man left in Los Angeles. He’s immune to the disease for whatever reason. He’s tormented by loneliness and the loss of his wife and young daughter to the disease.

Neville has a pretty sweet setup, he’s got a generator and plenty of food. He’s got a fortified home, a greenhouse full of garlic, and a collection of records (Yep. Records. This apocalypse was in 1975.) He’s also got a lot of whiskey, and nobody can blame him for drinking too much. I mean, what do you do without a soul to talk to? No family, no friends, no network of weirdos to talk to online. Every living being (living being a relative term) is trying to kill you. I’d be mainlining whiskey too.

Like I said earlier these Vampires aren’t like your traditional vampires. They’re not like zombies either. There is a distinct difference between Vampires that are “alive” and those that are “dead.” The fully dead vamps are pretty zombie-esque. But the living ones? They’re something else entirely. Though they have become reliant on human blood for nourishment, they haven’t gone entirely catatonic, brain-wise.

I’m going to shut my face right now, because I don’t want to ruin this. If you like zombies, vampires, dystopias, or a combination of the three, read this book. It’s an awesome read and totally seasonally appropriate. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! Also, if you don’t watch The Walking Dead, you need to start. And you can start on Sunday.

12 Responses to “I Am Legend… Wait For It… Dary. (By Richard Matheson)”

  1. didibooksenglish

    I think I saw a bit of this movie but wasn’t thrilled about. Not sure I4d enjoy it but since you’ve suggested it I’ll put it on the to be checked out list. 🙂

    • Words for Worms

      Don’t feel obligated to read it just because I liked it. If you don’t think it’s your cup of tea, skip it. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings… Unless you stop reading my blog. Then I might cry.

      • Words for Worms

        Awww thanks Jelly Bean. I know you were bummed that I wasn’t as huge a Chelsea fan as you are, but dude. I took your recommendations TWICE in one weekend.

  2. Matthew Bradley

    FYI, the Will Smith movie was neither the first nor the most faithful version of this classic novel, which–as you beautifully demonstrate–remains as gripping as when it was published in 1954. Both of those honors go to THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964), with Vincent Price, which despite being filmed on the cheap in Italy is quite faithful, and along with the book was an obvious influence on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). Matheson’s script was rewritten by another scenarist, so he substituted his Logan Swanson pseudonym on the screenwriting credit. Charlton Heston starred in the remake, THE OMEGA MAN (1971), and in fact, the Will Smith version credits both that film’s script and the novel as its sources. For further information, see my book RICHARD MATHESON ON SCREEN (http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-4216-4).

    • Words for Worms

      Thanks for the information. I’d heard of the Vincent Price version and that this was the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead… I should thank Matheson for popularizing zombies for my viewing pleasure!

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