[Ebook] ➦ I Am Legend and Other Stories By Richard Matheson – Dolove.info


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Like Lucy, this rating is gonna take some splainin. Unfortunately, I don't have a slide show or any multicolored pie charts to provide visual assistance on this one, so I will try to splain it as clearly as I can, but I will be using quite a few "i.e." and "e.g." to provide supporting clarification for my commentary given I am performing this review without the safety net of visual aids. Please, do not try this at home.

Oh, I've also decided to throw in the occasional word in Spanish...why you ask?....because I just watched some old I Love Lucy reruns and am getting in touch with my inner Ricky Ricardo.

Okay, from the standpoint of pure smilespreading enjoyment (e.g., while reading, I look down and notice my toes tapping involuntarily to the smooth, jazzy, melodic flow of the narrative), I would probably rate this 3 to 3.5 stars (i.e., there was no visible toe tapping, but I did have the occasional feeling of warmth move through my tummy....though that could've just been the tacos). Richard Matheson is a terrific writer and this story, like his others, is a quality product and I have zero complaints about the prose or the technical choices he made took in constructing the narrative.

My issue was really with the main character, Robert Neville. He just wasn't very compelling or interesting. He certainly wasn't the most engaging character I have ever come across. This is a bit of a problem since the entire book is spent lollygagging around with Robby as he provides running jogging sauntering commentary about the world around him. This was a negative for me and detracted from the number of happy units I was able to mine from the reading experience.

So why the 4.0 to 4.5 stars?

I shall splain as there are several reasons that are mucho importante (Oh, yeah...that's right, I just turned this into my first bilingual review). How cosmopolitan.

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 postapocalyptic undead fiction being produced today. Amazingly, it is also one of the best of these 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 outward signs of vampirism (vampirismo). He spends his days 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 its originality and Matheson's being a trailblazer (pionero) of the zombie subgenre.

Second (Segundo), is the worldbuilding/backstory and Matheson's 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 superb theater. I actually wish more time had been spent on this aspect of the book because I thought it was just fantástico (i.e....if you need a translation of this, please stop reading and go put the crash helmet back on).

Third (Tercero), is the end of the book which, in my opinion, is worthy of 5 HUGE 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 MEGANORMOUS star ending if my math is correct). Thus, Matheson being the superb writer that he is, not only invents a subgenre but then, over 50 years after the fact, can still claim to have written one of the best, most original examples of it. That is pretty especial, no?

Thus for all of the above reasons (motivos), 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.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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 multicolored 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 Spanish...why 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, yeah...that'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 postapocalyptic 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 subgenre.

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 more time had been spent on this aspect of the book because I thought it was just fantástico (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 subgenre 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.
Straight outta Compton, another crazy ass vampire
More punks I smoke, yo, my rep gets bigger
I'm a bad vampire killa and you know this
But the pussy ass ghouls don't show this
But I don't give a damn, I'ma make my snaps
If not from the garlic, from jackin the crops
Just 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 editedlyricsasreview 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”:

Advantages

You 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 want
You have plenty of time to try and work out a cure
You can park in front of fire hydrants

Disadvantages

Lonely 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 one
All you have to listen to is classical music



There 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 more 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 more street cred.
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 Kafkaesque 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 subgenre here: it's all about dehumanization and isolation, a literary Edvard Munch screaming about who we are amidst an outside that we cannot understand nor be a part.

description 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), more character development (the flashbacks about his wife and daughter, and more info about Ben), etc. This could have been so much more 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 more 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! “Come out, Neville!”

Of the vampire books, there are few I choose to read these days. That section of horror was inundated years ago, much like the zombies shuffled their way into an entire genre, and the the postapocalyptic craze too. The weird thing in saying this, is realizing how I Am Legend is a combination of all three (only a token bit of zombie actually). But it's far better than most of those others, likely because it came before them. While reading, I found its influence apparent upon those I'd read before. Matheson's hero, Robert Neville, is a conflict in anger. Being the last living man, can he be blamed? But he is methodical in his search to find an answer, and persevere if only to find it. “What's the purpose of it?” is something he asks himself almost daily. With good book titles, I often wonder the reasoning behind the words. Why I Am Legend? Does it speak of the vampire? Yes and no. Reading the book you find it in Neville's status. Where once the vampire was a tale to be told, a silly myth, a legend to be believed or not believed, man has taken his place. Robert Neville. The last. Once gone, only a tale to speak of.

P.S. My copy of I Am Legend is actually an “and Other Stories” version, something I didn't realize until after completing the following short story, Buried Talents. I thought I'd only entered another chapter, but couldn't help but wonder what it had to do with Robert Neville. Ah, stupid memy plight for always avoiding the table of contents. If I had, I would have seen that I Am Legend ends half way through the book. A mere, but terrific, 160 page novella. Mostly, it meant that I wasn't ready to leave Neville's story behind, and in a nutshell that says it all.

Ten short stories comprise the “and Other Stories” here. Prey is one with its maniacal Zuni fetish doll. Anger pervades every facet of a man's waking hours in Mad House. In PersontoPerson the sound of a phone ringing is heard every night at 3am. He answers. It could be a government device implanted inside his head, or complete imagination. When reading, Matheson always makes me wonder. It's his gift. Je Suis Une Lgende Film,WikipdiaJe Suis Une Lgende Roman WikipdiaJe Suis Une Lgende FilmAlloCin I Am Legend Deutschland Soy Leyenda Espaa Top Actus Cin De La Semaine NEWS Culture Cin Lundidcembrelesmeilleurs Films De Science Fiction De La DcennieI Am LegendIMDb Robert Neville Will Smith Is A Scientist Who Was Unable To Stop The Spread Of The Terrible Virus That Was Incurable And Man Made In This Post Apocalyptic Action Thriller Immune, Neville Is Now The Last Human Survivor In What Is Left Of New York City And Perhaps The World I Am Legend Nautiljon Drama I Am Legend, AnneJun Seol Hee Vit Un Enfer Depuis Son Mariage Avec Un Riche Avocat De Renomm National Mal Mene Par Sa Belle Famille Avec Une Cruaut Sans I Am Legend Reboot FilmAlloCin Dcouvrez Toutes Les Informations Sur Le Film I Am Legend Reboot, Les Vidos Et Les Dernires Actualits I enjoyed reading this one. The story was solid and flowed nicely. The character was welldeveloped and played great into the story. From the beginning we see he was very human: he had emotions of despair, depression, and even quite possibly an alcohol addiction. I mean, what else would you expect from a man who lost everything and wound up being the last man on Earth? His purpose in this new world would be to remain alive for as long as possible.

The concept of the "vampires" (explained in the book), his mission to destroy them, his daily living, healing from the trauma of losing his family, and the pseudoscientific explanations all gave to a topnotch story. The ending was a good wrapup!

The 1964 Vincent Price film 'The Last Man on Earth' almost follows this book to the letter. The 2007 Will Smith version 'I Am Legend' takes a different approach but was still a good movie in my opinion.

The 11 other stories in this were decent and showcased Richard Matheson as a talented storyteller. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good story. Thanks! Richard Matheson (19262013) 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 audiencetested fake ending. I usually mentally discount the last scene of every big budget movie these days, it's the nexttolast 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 sonofI Am Legend and I hope RM enjoyed the first couple of series before he died and didn't come back again. 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 more 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 apocalypsenewly popularized by the nuclear ageto 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 more 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 protozombies, Matheson took influence from the 'Communist scare aliens' and bodysnatchers of the pulps to create a force which is mindless, antiindividualistic, 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 oftmentioned 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 more and more 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 more 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 fartjokes, 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 selfevident enough. Then again, nothing in the book is too selfevident 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 highschooler 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 more 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 reintroduce 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.