Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

(pb; 1954: novella)

From the back cover:

"Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood.

"By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

"How long can one man survive like this?"


This is Matheson at his best. Neville is one of fiction's greatest anti-heroes. He vacillates between emotional extremes, sometimes tender, often brutal and gruff, as he struggles to survive, and ultimately understand, the whys of his situation.

Grim, black-humored and sometimes ironic, this is a must-read for any science fiction fan: one of my all-time favorite books.

Check this out.

The novella has been filmed three times.

The Last Man on Earth was released stateside on March 8, 1964.

Vincent Price played Dr. Robert Morgan, the film equivalent of Robert Neville. Giacomo Rossi-Stuart played Ben Cortland.

Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow shared directing duties, co-scripting the film with William F. Leicester and book author Richard Matheson (billed as Logan Swanson).

The second version, retitled The Omega Man, was released stateside on August 1, 1971.

Charlton Heston played Robert Neville. Anthony Zerbe played Matthias, the film equivalent of the novel's Ben Cortland. Rosalind Cash played Lisa.

Boris Sagal directed the film, from a script by John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington (billed as Joyce H. Corrington).

The third version, titled I Am Legend, is scheduled for stateside release on December 14, 2007.

Will Smith plays Neville. Salli Richardson plays Ginny. Paradox Pollack plays Alpha. Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, plays Marley.

Francis Lawrence directs, from a script by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman.

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