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Book reviews of classic apocalypse novels - I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Reading old classics apocalypse novels

I felt the need recently to read a few dystopian/horror/sci-fi classics, especially after I read “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M Miller Jnr and I absolutely LOVED IT. I straightaway downloaded to my Kindle “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (eve though this isn't an old classic by any means it reads like one) a “Philip K Dick” collection, and “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

First up is I Am Legend

I saw the movie with Will Smith before I read the book. The concept is the same as the book: A lone survivor of a vampire plague who can’t venture anywhere further than a day’s round trip drive from his home. He’s driven mad with loneliness. He’s also intent on wiping out as many of these vampires as he finds. 

This is the only point on which the movie and the book agree upon. I was pleasantly surprised to read the book and discover a new ending, new characters, and a new story line. Had it been exactly the same as the movie I might not have enjoyed it so much. The book contains subtle humour as Robert Neville is constantly harassed by his neighbour, Ben Cortman in the book. By the end you begin to feel sorry for poor old Cortman. Especially his tragic demise at the end.

There’s something about these classics that makes for compelling reading. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and it's a compelling read. We hear so much about 'show not tell' but compelling reads like this show us what storytelling is about. 

Which version did I like better? I liked the movie but I LOVED the book. I’m looking forward to reading a few more classic sci-fi stories.


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