Book Report: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954, 1995)

A better title for this book would have been I Am Legend And Other Stories, as the book contains the 170 page novel that served as the source for the Will Smith movie as well as The Omega Man. However, I thought the whole book was the title story, which meant I expected the title story to extend the whole 300 some pages. When it ended at page 170, I was a little disappointed since I thought the book would carry on for another 130 pages of plot twists. Still, a decent book and worthy of making two films, although I bet neither of them end the way the book itself ends.

In addition to the title story, we get some other tales of varying length. An interesting note: one of the other stories, “Prey”, also made it to the big screen in the film Trilogy of Terror. Of course, true fans of Matheson already knew this, but when I make connections like this between unrelated bits of knowledge in my head, I feel clever.

A good book, and I guess Matheson is well known for his work. It’s punchy prose from horror pulp, and its terseness is quite different from Stephen King, which means it’s a quicker read and just as rewarding. I’ll have to monitor book fairs for more of Matheson’s work, which is the second-best compliment I can give to a writer.

Books mentioned in this review: