I Am Legend

I Am Legend

4.1 355
by Richard Matheson

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Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.

I Am Legend was a…  See more details below


Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.

I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was.

The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.


Richard Burton Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American author and screenwriter working primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. Between 1950 and 1971, Matheson produced dozens of stories, frequently combining elements from the different genres in which he works, making important contributions to the further development of modern horror. Matheson wrote fourteen episodes for the American television series The Twilight Zone, including the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Notably, Steven Spielberg's first full length film (made for television) was based on the story �Duel,� for which Matheson also wrote the screenplay.

Matheson's first novel, Someone is Bleeding, was published in 1953. His thirty novels since then include The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, again adapted from Matheson's own screenplay), and a science fiction/vampire novel, I Am Legend (made into film as The Last Man on Earth, 1964, The Omega Man, 1971, and
I Am Legend, 2007).

A new film based on Matheson's story �Steel,� entitled Real Steel, is a major motion picture that was released in October 2011. His most recent novel, Other Kingdoms, appeared in March 2011.

According to film critic Roger Ebert, Matheson's scientific approach to the supernatural in I Am Legend and other novels from the 1950s and '60s anticipated the "pseudorealistic fantasy novels like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist." In 2010, Matheson was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and Stephen King has cited Matheson as a creative influence; his novel Cell is dedicated to Matheson along with filmmaker George A. Romero. Author Anne Rice has said that Matheson's short story, "A Dress of White Silk" was a primary early influence on her interest in vampires and fantasy fiction.

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Publication date:
RosettaBooks into Film , #1
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Barnes & Noble
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2 MB

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I Am Legend (and Other Stories) 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 355 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After seeing the movie, I wanted to know more, so I picked up the book. I discovered this is actually a short story & was totally different than the movie.
Like a lot of books, the story starts out in the present. However, Matheson did not delve into the past's details & when he did, it wasn't quite the chronology I was expecting, which sets this novel apart. Also, I think Matheson portrayed the main character wonderfully! I love that he was so rough & flawed, but this also made the character more real to me. I also enjoyed the sporadic dialogue the main character had with HIMSELF. The dialogue kept the book from being monotonous. Thought-provoking read with enough emotional & scientific-based depth to keep me interested. Not a disappointment.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1976, the pandemic plague devastated the earth. Most people died while those who survived were biologically altered into nocturnal blood drinking in-humans. That is everyone except for one remaining purebred Robert Neville never changed as he apparently was immune to the plague. He is the last surviving Homo sapiens, but the converted see him as being different as the monster tied to the dead legendary past who must die. He endures his ordeal through alcohol, but his loneliness is driving him insane as each night he considers giving up until he meets his first non vampire friend since the disease, a dog fearful of him.-------------- This book actually contains a reprint of the 1954 classic novella I AM LEGEND in conjunction with an upcoming movie (note that Vincent Price starred in the 1960s film The Last Man on Earth based on this tale) and ten short stories that are entertaining and well written, but feel like padding to almost double the size of the book. Readers will understand why some of the great horror writers like Stephen King consider this novella one of the best ever as it crosses science fiction with horror yet holds up well because the bottom line is this is a character study of the human need for companionship as well as a Frankenstein like question as to just who is the monster?------------- Harriet Klausner
Vivian_Metzger More than 1 year ago
There were some things I really loved about I Am Legend. First, it is number one on my list for most scientific books about vampires I have ever read. I was surprised to see the book was very different from the Will Smith movie, but I loved this version too. The thing I liked most about the novel (especially compared to the movie) was the ending. The events of the ending portion of I Am Legend really came out of left field for me. I wasn't expecting what happened, at all. It is very much the most important part of the novel. It leaves us with a message, questioning what we have known and what we believe. I thought it was poignant and powerful, and it certainly left me thinking. A superb book, filled with such powerful emotions when pondering the existence of humans. Yes, this book is Legend.
steelyshan More than 1 year ago
As an avid horror fan and zombie junkie, I totally loved this book. I was at first disappointed by the fact that it was really nothing like the Will Smith movie that was TOTALLY AWESOME! This book is just as great and has a deep insight into the human psyche and what truley being alone could do to it. There was a little bit of everything in this book and at times I found myself terrified, laughing, and even shedding a tear. I highly recommend this book to horror/zombie fans and anyone who likes a good psychological journey as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lone survivor by the name of Robert Neville lives in present day New York, New York. As Robert Neville survives by himself in New York for the last couple of years. He is trying to find a cure for a plague that had killed everyone and turned them into almost vampire creatures. Every single day is a struggle as he tries to survive against these creatures. As the book goes on his life becomes more and more uncontrollable and he himself starts losing his mind. There are many books for people who enjoy action. Some which include some of Stephen Kings writings and many others. My favorite character out of the book would probably be the main character Robert Neville only because everything he goes through in the whole book. Secondly he thinks everything out throughout all of his research and just thinking about it. So as Robert goes on everyday and struggles through his life and as you read on you will find out what happens to Robert himself. So I challenge you to go to your local library or get the book online and read his life. Read his legend. I would recommend this book to others who love and enjoy action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best vampire novels. One of the best apocalyptic stories. One of the best horror/sci-fi writers ever. He is Legend.
Adams1369 More than 1 year ago
So much better than the movie. Hollywood just can't do anything justice anymore.
modestindecisiv More than 1 year ago
I first watched the movie, I am Legend with Will Smith. After reading the book, I am now disappointed in the movie. For those who liked the movie, I will warn that the book is much different...but for the better. I enjoyed the little twist at the end of the book. I found I am Legend to be thrilling, frightening, and nicely written. I found it amusing at times, frightening at times, and intelligently written. Richard Matheson is a famous horror story writer and his stories are great. The main character is easy to relate to and the ending is perfect. I recommend this book to people who love horror books and those who enjoyed watching the movie. Warning: if you liked the movie before and read this, you might be disappointed int he movie afterward (I was). It's an easy read and entertaining. There are also a few short stories in the back of this edition. Some I really liked and other were okay. This book will be in my permanent library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, I am Legend the movie is my favorite movie. I waited four years to read the book, and am pleasantly surprised. Matheson obviously put a lot of research and thought into this novel, and it shows. If you liked the movie, you need to read the story as well! They are very different though, like most movies and books of the same title.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best vampire story ever, hamds down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible read I   saw the movie first then read the book next.  Some things were changed in the film and I  actually liked  the book better.  I will be reading a lot more of Mathesons books.
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TrentM13 More than 1 year ago
If you're deciding to read the book because you liked the Will Smith movie then you may be disappointed. The movie great but is very pathetically based on the book and in my opinion shouldn't bare the same name. That being said, the book is a good read. I enjoyed following the psychological change of a lone survivor's mind as time went on. One gripe I have that has nothing to do with the story itself is that I purchased and read this on my NOOK before viewing the website and I noticed that the book is supposed to have 320 pages where my ebook only has 149. This may be an oversight on my part but I'm slightly disappointed that I didn't get the short stories after the main novel. If you're reading this review on your NOOK beware.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie! My brother keeps on asking me to buy this book so he can read but i said no becaise i do not want to waste my money because i have already read it. I mean who hasn't?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is an exclent story you will love as you join nevill in this emostional post apocoliptic setting puts you at the end of your seet with tissues taking up 50% of your trash can
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This reminded me more of the old movie Omega Man than the Will Smith "I Am Legend". Though it greatly differed from the movie I completely enjoyed the story.
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