PDF / Epub ☀ I Am Legend Author Richard Matheson – Tactical-player.co.uk

I Am Legend Robert Neville May Well Be The Last Living Man On Earth But He Is Not AloneAn Incurable Plague Has Mutated Every Other Man, Woman, And Child Into Bloodthirsty, Nocturnal Creatures Who Are Determined To Destroy HimBy Day, He Is A Hunter, Stalking The Infected Monstrosities Through The Abandoned Ruins Of Civilization By Night, He Barricades Himself In His Home And Prays For Dawn It s a short book story this one, but a great read, from the 1950s It tells the tale of seemingly the last human alive on earth, Richard Neville, surrounded by zombie hordes The book is as much a psychological study of the effects of extreme loneliness, loss and grief, as it is fighting off the undead There are no gory descriptions of decapitation or mass battles, but the tension is real.I really liked the fact that the zombies could talk, taunting him at times , and that, living in his old fortified house, he recognised his former neighbours as they shuffled about in the dark, or tried to kill him That made it feel very personal and the isolation real.Neville, over time, has learned to be self sufficient, resourceful and resilient The arrival of a stray dog triggers a series of emotional events which lead to..well, I won t spoil the book.Great little read. Robert Neville is the only human left in his neighbourhood and possibly in the world It s some months since a devastating plague swept through humanity, killing many and turning the rest into vampires For some reason, Neville alone seemed to be immune Now he spends each night barricaded into his house, surrounded by all the traditional anti vampire weapons garlic, crosses, mirrors while a growing horde of vampires gathers outside howling for his blood By day, the vampires go into a coma like sleep and Neville uses this time to fight back the only way he can by killing as many of them as he can find.Put away your anti vampire fiction prejudices for a moment The book is sci fi in the sense that it s set in a near future and involves a plague, Neville s world is about as dystopian as you can get and there are passages of great horror writing But Matheson combines all these genres to produce something that is fundamentally about humanity about loneliness, prejudice and the overwhelming will to survive.The story is told from Neville s perspective, though in the third person, and begins by showing his day to day existence checking his house is still secure, making good any damage the vampires have done the night before, collecting any supplies he might need from the abandoned grocery stores Then if there s enough daylight left, he takes his stock of wooden stakes and hunts for vampires The horrors of the plague are never far from his mind, though, and it s through his memories that the reader learns what happened at that time And Neville hasn t given up all hope yet, either that there might be other people who escaped with their humanity intact, or that by studying the medical books in the abandoned libraries he might be able to fathom out the cause of the plague and develop a cure.The quality of the writing is very high, not always a given in sci fi Where a modern day writer would doubtless waffle on for a stultifying 500 pages and throw in a love triangle, yes, I am bitter , Matheson cuts to the chase and packs a huge amount into a relatively small space The search for a cure is done interestingly, with Neville taking the usual vampire story tropes one by one and testing them out to see which ones are true, then speculating on possible scientific causes for why they should work Why garlic Why do they only go outside when its dark Why wooden stakes But when evening comes and the shouting and howling begins, then we see the utter loneliness and despair that haunt his nights, with memories of his happy, normal life before the plague constantly reminding him of all he has lost It s at these times that he questions what it is that makes him go on day after day, why he is driven to continue with the futile task of killing vampires when he knows that he ll never be able to make even a tiny dent in their overwhelming numbers Would it not be easier to give up, go outside and join them But he is disgusted by them, a visceral, instinctive disgust at their very nature, a disgust that comes as much from hatred of difference as from fear.The descriptive writing is spare but very effective in building an atmosphere of fear and tension, with occasional gleams of hope serving only to deepen the pervading darkness of despair Neville isn t a super hero he s just a normal guy, meaning that the reader empathises with him But what pushes this book beyond good and towards great is unfortunately the thing that cannot be discussed in a review without major spoilers Suffice it to say that, when you have finished reading, you will probably find that you feel very differently than you expected to, and might well be left pondering the very nature of what it means to be human Intrigued Then read it I nearly didn t buy this book until I realised that the 2007 film starring Will Smith was only loosely based on Richard Matheson s novel, which is all together a much darker creation.This is a simple story, thoughtfully planned and well executed, which straddles the horror and SF genres Robert Neville, the sole human survivor in a world where the rest of the population have become vampires, makes the most of the now deserted library to research possible cures as well as methods of repelling and killing vampires and puts his new found knowledge to use in the experiments he conducts in the vampire proof stronghold which is his home This is not only practical but also a way of giving purpose to his solitary life, which, like his character, is convincingly portrayed throughout the book.I did have one moment of feminist anguish about his attitude, but by the end of the book, I felt that this insight into Neville s thoughts was there for a reason I shall refrain from giving further details since I prefer reviews without spoilers.

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