Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend

9780765318749.jpgI Am Legend, a short story collection from author Richard Matheson, was originally published in 1954. It has received much attention as of late due to Will Smith staring in a film based upon the tale from which the book gets its title. While the film and original story differ, both are worth taking in should you be a fan of vampires, monsters, and zombies.

Richard Neville, the book’s protagonist, has somehow survived a virus that has either killed or caused a vampire mutation to the entire population of the world. It took his family, friends, and neighbors and left him with nothing more than material possessions. Is he the only human left? Is there a way to cure the infected? These things he ponders throughout the story while attempting to evade a vicious pack of the infected that taunt him each night.

The book contains a few other short tales from Matheson; however, I Am Legend is clearly the centerpiece. Its take on the vampire is as fresh and new today as it was in 1953. Pick this one up if you’re in the mood for a scare.

– Wesley

Here’s another take on the book from Angie.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson is a wonderful book. I am not going to say much about it because it will ruin the story for someone else. When I first heard of the book, someone told me it was horror. I almost decided not to read the book because of this. I am glad that I decided to give it a try. I did not interpret this as a horror but more as a basic human need and evolution. In the book we see Robert Neville going through major changes trying to deal with the fact that he may be the last human on Earth. I as captivated by the depth of Robert Neville, the many faces of his character, the importance of his need that you felt just by the words written on the pages. The only thing that was lost to me was the appearance of the character. Matheson describes him as a Caucasian male with blue eyes and of German descent. From the movie previews I kept picturing Will Smith, go figure! Either way, the book is a very powerful statement of basic human needs and the fight for survival in a very bleak future. I would definitely recommend this book as it was superbly written, suspenseful, and awe inspiring. Throughout the book I was continually fascinated by Robert Neville and the insurmountable challenges he faces. I cannot wait to see the movie to see how true to character they kept Robert Neville. But, I already know the movie is not going to live up to the book.


A few words about one of my favorite authors


Deborah Smith (not to be confused with author Debra White Smith) is a true “storyteller.” Her novels engage the reader from the first page in her character driven plots usually with a Southern flavor as her native Georgia heritage. Her latest novel A Gentle Rain is set in Florida with some side trips to South America. To quote from her Smith’s website: “A Connecticut heiress. A Florida cowboy. His heart. Her secret. And the very special family she has come home to find.” You can read excerpts on the website. While reading A Gentle Rain, I felt I came to know Karen / Kara, El Diablo / Ben, Lily and Mac, wheelchair bound Joey, Mr. Darcy (a bird), Miriam and her sister (retired mermaids), and others. This wonderful story is told in the alternating voices of Kara and Ben – a style which usually irritates me, but fit this novel perfectly. The first Deborah Smith book I read Stone Flower Garden will no doubt remain my favorite of her writings, but A Gentle Rain is a very close second. Also very enjoyable are A Place to Call Home and Sweet Hush. Charming Grace was a long way from my favorite but I still consider it better than most popular contemporary fiction. – AW