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It seems strange to find a 1954 vampire novel in Millennium's SF Masterworks classic reprints series I Am Legend though was a trailblazing and later much imitated story that reinvented the vampire myth as SF Without losing the horror it presents vampirism as a disease whose secrets can be unlocked by scientific tools The hero Robert Neville perhaps the last uninfected man on Earth finds himself in a paranoid nightmare By night the bloodthirsty undead of small town America besiege his barricaded house their repeated cry Come out Neville is a famous SF catchphrase By day when they hide in shadow and become comatose Neville gets out his wooden stakes for an orgy of slaughter He also discovers pseudoscientific explanations some rather strained for vampires' fear of light vulnerability to stakes though not bullets loathing of garlic and so on What gives the story its uneasy power is the gradual perspective shift which shows that by fighting monsters Neville is himself becoming monstrous not a vampire but something to terrify vampires and haunt their dreams as a dreadful legend from the bad old days I Am Legend was altered out of recognition when filmed as The Omega Man 1971 starring Charlton Heston Avoid the movie read the book David Langford


10 thoughts on “I Am Legend and Other Stories

  1. I liked this book a great deal and with all books where I see the movie first I liked the book better I have liked post apocalyptic stories since I first read The Earth Abides and Dhalgren I was thirteen years old when my mother dropped me at the theater and I watched Omega Man with Charlton Heston Loved the concept loved the movie which stayed with me for days afterward Fast forward to current day when I read the book I Am Legend which the movie was based on The book is well written with details and close point of view that makes the story come alive The story does not follow the movie story lines in the Charlton Heston movie version or the Will Smith version The ending is different and unique I read anything that is well written no matter the genre and would recommend this book to readers who enjoy this topicDavid Putnam Author of The Bruno Johnson series