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March Books 3) I Am Legend

3) I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

A brilliant short novel: what would things be like if the vampires actually won? The horror of the situation, of the loneliness of the last remaining human, his desperation, his bitter disappointments, superbly well portrayed. I saw someone on my f-list recommend this a couple of weeks ago; I heartily endorse that recommendation.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I thought it was terrible. I mean, yeah, the idea is good, but the writing and characterisation left me cold. It was the worse sort of old skiffy and I couldn't understand why it was considered such a classic.
Mar. 3rd, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Reasonable people, of course, can disagree on this. As a matter of interest, do you like Lovecraft, whose pacing Matheson seemed to me to be emulating to an extent?
Mar. 3rd, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Non-nuclear Z for Zachariah, eh?
Mar. 3rd, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Yep, that's the one!
Mar. 3rd, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I remembered enjoying Z as a schoolboy (with 1984 and Brave New World, the only SF that I studied at school), but it left me cold as an adult.

They're both first-person post-catastrophe narratives, but Z now strikes me as straightforward and rather didactic (which is probably why we read it at school). Legend, on the other hand, has the twist that the narrator comes to find that what he'd taken to be a straight us-and-them situation is anything but; he's more of a monster than the vampires. The characterisation in Legend is pretty spare though, and there's little to empathise with, but that's part of the set-up for the finale, I suppose.
Mar. 3rd, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
It is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Also very different from the Charlton Heston Omega Man movie adaptation. I haven't seen the recent Will Smith version, but I believe it is different again. It is my understanding there is a pre-Omega Man movie called I am legend>/i> which I have not seen either.

Mar. 5th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
The most annoying thing about the new movie adaptation is that, right up till three-quarters of the way through, it looks like it could actually turn out to have the same point as the novel. And then, no. Utterly pointless movie, can only disappoint if you even know about the ending of the book, and even if you don't I can't see much point to the ending of the film.
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Your comments support what I've heard from anyone else who's seen it.

Did you see Sweeney Todd, and, if you did, what did you think if it? (My views are on my LJ.
Mar. 7th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Mine also - I admit I haven't read the originally novel (was it a penny dreadful?) but I love the musical incarnation. I love the way it makes the traditional heroes bit-parts and the grotesque villains the heroes, and there's no such thing as too much gore when it comes to this kind of story. I think what redeems the anti-heroes in this is less their tragic past than their comedy value.
Mar. 7th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
(was it a penny dreadful?)

Yes indeed. The introduction to my copy of The String of Pearls gives an interesting description of the way the story was serialised and who may, or may not, have been the author, or, possibly, authors, of the various episodes that appeared over a number of issues.

By the way, I loved your posting, and the juxtapositioning of film reviews with a hair dying discussion was a masterstroke. (I love your idea of the purple hair with the silver streaks; but I agree, it does sound like a lot of effort.)
Mar. 3rd, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
I also very much enjoyed it, particularly the ending.
Mar. 3rd, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
I re-read that last year and enjoyed it.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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