Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Am Legend

Sunday, I saw previews for the forthcoming Will Smith movie, I Am Legend. I recognized the title, so I picked up Richard Matheson's book, copyright 1954. Despite a few details in the book that might not be familiar to many of today's readers, such as the reference to Edgar Guest, it's still a powerful book. It did seem strange that civilization as we know it came to an end in 1975, the year I graduated from high school.

I Am Legend starts in 1976, when Robert Neville has lost his wife and daughter to a plague. The plague hit the world after a war. Following the war, the earth was hit with dust storms, mosquitoes, flies. People became sick, and, before he knew it, Neville was the only person still living. The only PERSON still living. He was surrounded by vampires who had taken over the bodies of people he knew. Neville barricades himself inside his house, uses a generator, and leaves occasionally to find gas and supplies.

At times, he finds reasons to build up hope that he can defeat the vampires, find someone else alive, successfully survive. Despite his situation, he fights on, killing vampires and burning bodies. I Am Legend is a suspenseful story of one man's day-to-day survival against terrible odds.

It's a short, powerful book. I'll probably never see the movie, but I'm glad I read the book.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Nelson Doubleday, Inc., ©1954, 151p.


Liz Clifford said...

Neato! I have never heard of this book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. My favorite "last people on earth" is Robert Taylor's ADRIFT IN A BONEYARD, from 1947. It is thought provoking and funny at the same time.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Liz! I'll have to see if I can find Adrift in a Boneyard. Appreciate it!

Movieman990 said...

I saw this movie the other night and enjoyed it thoroughly. Dr. Neville had is first (I believe) theatrical rendering at the hands of Charleton Heston in The Omega Man.

In the 60's I read Adrift In A Boneyard and it stayed on my parent's shelves for many years. Where is it today?

Finally, from the 60's the film The World, The Flesh and The Devil. Another world end with some extra twists. I forget who played the white male, the the black male was Sidney Poitier and the girl was Inger Stevens (my brother dated her in Manhattan, KS of all places before her movie career).

Whoops, one more finally. Read Farham's Freehold for a time-warp, end of world and back story. It's a good one too.

Lesa said...

I've been afraid to see the latest version of I Am Legend. It didn't sound as if it did justice to the final scene, according to what a friend said. The final scene was so powerful in the book.

But, then, there haven't been too many movies that held up to the book, in my opinion.