Book Review: I am Legend - Richard Matheson



There are several different types of vampires.

There are the common vampire seen in the folklore.
There are those who were produced by books and movies.
There are several famous books about vampires.. Older books like The Giaour by Lord Byron in 1813 was the first, followed by The Vampyre of John W Polidori in 1819, Dracula of Bran Stoker in 1897.Then there is I am Legend by Richard Matheson.

Vampires... what do we know of vampire?We know of the fiction books and movies. But, there are something that almost every people does not know. Where do they come from? I mean, where were they created? There are many cultures and folklore tales that gives us insightful. I will put here something that will help understanding the grandeur the monster is.

The word (vampire) comes from the translation of the german word Vampir, who in turn comes from vaper in old polish which in turn comes from Old Slavic oper and opiri. The word Upir as a term for vampire is found for the first time in written form in 1047 in a letter to a Novgorodian prince referring to him as 'Upir Lichyj' (Wicked Vampire).

But throughout history there have been several beings in ancient mythology which gives us some insight. Since Lilu in early babylon demonology and even before Akhkharu in the Sumerian. These female demons were said to roam during the hours of darkness, hunting and killing newborn babies and pregnant women. Later one of them, Lilitu was later adopted by the Jew as Lilith. The mother of all vampires. In the ancient Egypt the goddess Sekhmet in one myth became full of bloodlust after slaughtering humans and was only sated after drinking alcohol colored as blood.In Homer's Odyssey, the shades that Odysseus meets on his journey to the underworld are lured to the blood of freshly sacrificed rams, a fact that Odysseus uses to his advantage to summon the shade of Tiresias. Roman tales describe the strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood. The Roman strix is the source of the Romanian vampire, the Strigoi and the Albanian Shtriga, which also show Slavic influence.In early Slavic folklore, a vampire drank blood, was afraid of (but could not be killed by) silver and could be destroyed by cutting off its head and putting it between the corpse's legs or by putting a wooden stake into its heart.
But enough of history or myth.

Well the book is called "I am legend".I bought this book 'cause of a metal band Stormlord (www.stormlord.net/). They have a music entitled "I am legend". I like the lyric so much that i search for the book. Now I've received it and start reading it. IT was one of the fastest times I've read a book. It was done in three times.

(the plot)


(the plot)The book takes place in the then-future of 1976–1979, and opens with the monotony and horror of the daily life of the protagonist, Robert Neville. Neville is apparently the only survivor of an apocalypse caused by a pandemic of a bacterium the symptoms of which are very similar to vampirism. He lives in a house fortified against nocturnal attacks by the roaming infected, and sallys forth by daylight to kill the sleeping vampires. Every day he also makes repairs to his house, boarding up windows, stringing and hanging garlic, and disposing of vampires' corpses on his lawn.
Neville's psychological disposition is a significant element in the novel, and his struggles with despair imbue the character with intensity and gravitas. The author emphasizes that he is an ordinary, flawed man trying to deal with an extraordinary catastrophe.
Much of the story is devoted to Neville's struggles to understand the plague that has transformed everyone he meets except for himself, and the novel details the progress of his discoveries. In this regard, the novel is unique in vampire fiction in that instead of asking the reader to accept a supernatural explanation for vampire phenomena, the author strives to offer scientific bases for such symptoms as aversion to garlic, craving of fresh blood, and resistance to bullets but vulnerability to stakes and sunlight. The aversion to mirrors and crosses (or, in the case of one vampire of Jewish origin, the Torah) is classified as psychological.
Eventually, Neville discovers that while he is the only person immune to the bacterium, he is not the only one still alive. Others who have been infected have discovered a means to hold the disease at bay. However, during the daylight hours, they appear to be fully involved vampires. Thus, along with the vampires, he has been killing these still alive persons. He becomes a source of terror to the still living, since he can go abroad in daylight (which they can't) and leaves their dead behind. Just as vampires were regarded as a legendary monster that preyed on the vulnerable humans in their beds, Neville has become the last of a dead breed; a mythical figure that kills both vampires and the infected living while they are sleeping. He becomes a legend as the vampires once were, hence the title.

In the all book there are two things that make me feel kind of squeeshy.. i don't know if this is the term.. I mean two things that made me feel kind of sad...
The first thing was the dog that Neville found after almost a year. (Bare in mind that nothing lived) He tried everything to befriend the dog and after days and weeks he catch the dog ('cause the dog was suffering with one of his leg) and he died. It was very sad... Here we see him fall again in depression...
The second it's his friend, or late friend Ben Cortman, which was turned into a vampire, and for three years he came to his doorstep call for him. In the end we care about him. He may be what he is but we care for him and Nevile too, and when the live vampires come to get Robert they kill Ben Cortman and we see Neville cry for him. It's sad... very sad indeed.

I would like to add two more things...
1. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good vampire story or a good psycological personage. Or anyone else who like to read a good book.
And I reccommend to my girlfriend which don't read much...
2. I would like to add here the lyrics of the music entitled I am Legend, by Stormlord.


Hear me! I'm the last one left
of a long gone kind,
I stand alone
But as sun sets and darkness falls with hundreds voices the air comes alive
And every night they're comin' out for me
With hate filled rage they try to force
their way inside
Knocking and banging they pound the door
And they thrash the windows' boards... the roof... the walls...

Listen! I'm the one your kids will be taught to fear, I'm a scary tale
'cause when sun shines the Earth is mine,
that's when by my hand you will die

And every night I fight a war that's lost
Aware that even if I'm killed I'll live in your minds
Forever and ever I'll haunt your dreams,
My memory'll be enough to chill your spine

One more night shatters my nerves, and shreds my sanity away
Starving they scream their hunger as they try to draw me out
One more sunrise breaks the spell, releases me from this hell
To cast me into a new nightmare where nothing I knew has remained

I'm what you'll never be again, one of a kind
I am your fear
... your hate
... your doom
I am legend

Hear me! I'm the last one left of a long gone kind, I stand alone
But as sun sets and darkness falls with hundreds voices the air comes alive
And every night they're comin' out for me
With hate filled rage they try to force their way inside
Knocking and banging they pound the doorAnd they thrash the windows' boards: the roof

One more night shatters my nerves, and shreds my sanity away
Starving they scream their hunger as they try to draw me out
One more sunrise breaks the spell, releases me from thishell
To cast me into a new nightmare
where nothing I knew has remained

8/10
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