Thursday, March 4, 2010
Richard Matheson wrote a book called I Am Legend a few decades ago, and then last year they apparently made a Will Smith movie out of it with the same initial premise, but a very divergent story (if I'm to believe the trailers and Wikipedia). Matheson's tight book about Robert Neville, the last man on earth taken over by vampires, is an enjoyable horror novel that verges on sci-fi and stays well away from fantasy. These vampires are much more like current cinema zombies and much less like the Twilight/True Blood fanged model types. I thought there was enough new and interesting material, especially for a book written that long ago, that it kept me interested and fulfilled the hype that caused me to read the book in the first place. I particularly liked how Neville, the main character, is a scientific man, and approaches trying to figure out what's wrong with these people that so resemble vampires from nightmare. He starts to experiment, tries theories, and eventually reaches a very natural conclusion. Matheson takes the story to a different place that Hollywood appears to have been afraid to go. I'm glad I gave it a shot.