Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - Review

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Amazon.comI Am Legend (Movie), Kindle Edition) - my review
4 stars
More nuanced and complex than the movie
Reviewing a book by comparing it to its movie is not the ideal thing to do, but I did watch the Will Smith movie first, which itself was not the first movie adaptation of the book - The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man both were based on the novel and came out more than 30 years ago, and only more than a year later read the novel.
Robert Neville's character in the book is more complex, more prone to weaknesses, and more fallible than the movie character.
In a post-apocalyptic world where a bacteria has killed most of the world's human population and turned the survivors into blood seeking vampires that stalk Neville's house at night, Robert Neville must live and survive, though seemingly without purpose. He frequently succumbs to bouts of drinking, frustration, and rage. He wages a lone, sometimes gruesome, and what often looks like a pointless battle against the vampires. Company comes in the form of a dog, that brings back to him a modicum of humanity he had long forgotten he had, and then in the form of a young woman who has just lost her husband to the vampires. The end is bleak and quite unlike the movie.
This book is supposed to have inspired such legends, so to say, of the field as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Not to mention its influence on a whole genre of gore-filled zombie infested movies of the 70s and 80s.

Kindle e-book excerpt:

© 2012, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.