Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am LegendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmm, this was strange story. I can't really say that I enjoyed it, but then again I've never been much for vampire books. In learning a little more about the story itself, which has been published both in a collection of short stories and as a stand-alone book, it was an early foray into both vampires and dystopian stories. Given the popularity of dystopian stories, I can see how this has caught peoples interest again, both on film and in print.

I didn't like Robert Neville much. While he was in a tough situation, and obviously in a mentally straining situation, he also wasn't very deep as a character, so there wasn't much to relate to. His range was from grumpy drunk to raving madman. I wanted him to win, not for him, but because I wanted humanity to win.

What is slow about this book is that there is no real action or plot movement for a long time. Finally when Ruth shows up, things begin to happen. I wonder if that was necessary? Why wait? The story could have been roughly the same and about a third shorter... which is saying something since it is already a short story.

Finally, what did I like about this story? Well it was the prototypical English class short story. There are some obvious themes that you make you think about the world around you. How does change fit into our world? Does the new always have to replace the old? Is someone justified in hating, despising, or fearing the old ways? Or the new ways? How do we demonize those who are different from us? Are there people or things in life that seem patently evil at first, but which might not be what we think they are?

So, I'm not a fan, but I can see why this story has endured over the years. It will be interesting to see what it's place in literary history is in another 50 years.