I don’t read a lot of horror. Well, modern horror, anyway. I’ve read Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Gustav Meyrink, and other, proto-horror. Plus some quasi-horror by people like Ray Bradbury, Chuck Palahniuk, Michael Crichton, and Scott Smith. But Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, no, not a one. (Well, not their horror novels; I did read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, and Anne Rice’s fetish novel, Exit to Eden, published under a pseudonym). It’s a bit surprising, I guess, since I love horror movies, but I digress ...
I just finished reading Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Somewhere between horror and science fiction, but closer to the former, it’s not only a creepy thriller, but an extremely well-written novel. Taut, exciting, inventive. With some very original things to say about vampires. And though written fifty years ago, it doesn’t feel at all dated — which in itself is quite an amazing accomplishment. Give it a look, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I saw a trailer for the upcoming film version, starring Will Smith, which looked quite good. So when I learned the film was based on a novel, I got it from the library. If a movie I’m interested in is based on a book, I’ll usually read it first (as with Jurassic Park, Big Fish, Little Children — to name just a few). Invariably, the novel is better, and I’m sure this will be true of I Am Legend also.
Has anyone else read it? Or other Matheson?