I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 22 March 2012

I Am Legend

Author: Richard Matheson

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

Richard Matheson has had a huge influence on the horror and science fiction genres, both in written word and also because of the many film adaptations of his work, ranging from Stephen Spielberg's Duel to What Dreams May Come featuring Robin Williams. I Am Legend however has had many adaptations such as the Vincent Price classic The Last Man On Earth, The 1970s The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and the latest (and worst) also titled I Am Legend featuring Will Smith.

The story tells of the isolated Neville. Surrounded by vampires, he can only leave his home fortress during daylight. Outside each night he hears the vampires call for him to join them. The setting is either claustrophobic or vastly open but both lonely. Neville sturggles to maintain his sanity and only the fight to retain his humanity (in the form of an antidote that will cure his people from this disease) keeps him going.

The pages turn rapidly as we team up with Neville, we are by his side, we support him, we are secluded with him and we also hear the voices of vampires at the window. We struggle with him right until the last, when in the end, we both come to a dark but liberating realisation.

The book is scary, tragic and a far too cult for the amount of popular work it has inspired. One of the few other Vampire stories to hold up against Dracula because it borrows little from Bram Stalker's work but like it, has been much borrowed from.