Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

It's not very often that I read story that's so good I wish I could give it more than five yo-yos. I Am Legend is that kind of story. Unfortunately, this volume comes with a few short stories as a bonus, and not all of them are as good.

If you've seen The Last Man on Earth or The Omega Man, then you know the basic plot. Robert Neville is the last man on the planet. Everyone else is a vampire, and the story tells his struggle for survival. It's a very powerful story that causes us to question our own place in the universe.

The only problem is that the story is a bit dated in spots. It was written in the Fifties, but it's set in the Seventies. Unlike the real Seventies, this one still has radium painted clocks (cancer anyone?) and wind-up watches (OK, they might still have been around, but I doubt they were very common). Still, that doesn't detract from the story at all.

This volume also contains ten short stories. The only one I was familiar with was "Prey," and that was only because I remember seeing it adapted on television. I didn't like "Buried Talents" or ""The Near Departed" much at all. I liked "Witch war" a bit, mainly because I wondered if it was inspired by Charles Fort's idea of using Poltergeist Girls in war. "The Dance of the Dead" kind of sucked. I really liked "Mad House," which is about a guy with real anger management issues. "The Funeral" was pretty funny. "From Shadowed Places" and "Person to Person" were both pretty good stories.

I'd also like to add that I really liked the cover on this book. It was done by The Chopping Block, who have done quite a bit of work with They Might Be Giants, and actually have a TMBG song about them.

Despite some of the short stories being just so-so, this is still a damn good book. If you haven't read I Am Legend, you're missing out on one of the best vampire books ever written. I give it a very well deserved five yo-yos.

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