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I am Legend

Patrick Chapman's poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); an audio drama, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks; and an award-winning film, Burning the Bed (2003), which starred Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen.  He won first prize, story category, in the 2003 Cinescape Genre Literary Awards. With Philip Casey, he co-founded the Irish Literary Revival website. He lives in Dublin. His own website is at patrickchapman.net

I_am_legend

For many decades, people have attempted to make a film of I am Legend (1954), Richard Matheson's gripping and brilliant dystopian science fiction novel about vampires. Vincent Price starred in a version called The Last Man on Earth; Charlton Heston appeared in a loose adaptation called The Omega Man; Will Smith recently helped us suffer through a film with the book's name, which perverts the meaning of that title in its witless, cop-out ending. But that's Hollywood, sometimes. The book itself is a study in despair and loneliness, the story of Robert Neville, the last man on Earth after a plague has wiped out most of humanity and turned the survivors into vampires. By night, they come for him — howling his name and trying to tempt him with sex — while he holes up, terrified, in his fortified house. By day, they sleep — and he goes on the prowl, killing those vampires he finds until the coming of dusk forces him to retreat back into his house. It's a neat inversion of the usual vampire story. To say more will spoil the book. Let's just say that if you've seen any of the movies, you haven't yet seen the true I am Legend. Do yourself a favour and go directly to Matheson's source.

  • Here's wiki's page on the whole I am Legend phenomenon.
  • This is wiki's page on the author Richard Matheson.
  • Here's an interview with Matheson.
  • And this is a review of the book.
  • You can grab a second hand copy of the book from here.

And as a treat for all those who were forced to sit through the Will Smith "version" of the book:

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

THE OMEGA MAN

I AM LEGEND (well kind of...)

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Comments

David O'Connor Thompson

They did a good serialisation of I am Legend on the radio, Radio 4 I think. Good enough for me to keep an eye out for the book in my local Oxfam shop, (where else?), as I've never read the original.

Jon M

Read the original many, many years ago. Enjoyed The Omega Man, hated, hated the latest one for sooooooo many reasons!

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