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Vampires

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Title: I Am Legend
Author: Richard Matheson
Year:1954

Some people think that there is something dark, mysterious and romantic with people who live off other people’s blood. Personally, I’ve never felt the slightest attraction to the concept of vampires (possibly with the exception of Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett); I find them boring and often bound by too many clichés, and I’m usually more scared by the fans of this genre of fiction rather than the stories themselves. So why read I Am Legend, which at least by some is viewed as one of the more important works in the genre, popularising the concept of an apocalypse brought about a vampire/zombie generating epidemic. I decided to have a look mostly because the book was quite short and I had heard some good words about Richard Matheson, the author.

Even though this books was written more than fifty years ago, it still manages to deliver something that a variety of films and other products (such as role-playing games) have been unable to produce, namely a story with vampires I think is worthwhile. The plot is straightforward, fast-paced and quite entertaining. Matheson’s use of black humour to tell the story of a lone man trying to survive in a world of vampires makes me smile often, but without making the book frivolous or comical in itself; it’s still apocalypse and it’s still a tragedy.

I like this book a lot, mostly because of the fluency with which the story is told and the spectrum of emotions and effects the author is able to induce in me as a reader. Admittedly, the plot itself is mediocre and actually not very important, but this fails to have an major impact on my perception of the book. In other words, the fight against the horde of vampires is there, but my dislike for the creatures doesn’t make the book worse (it goes without saying that it doesn’t make the book better either, but still). The fact that the novel is only 160 pages long and very few passages feel long-winded and/or further improves the overall impression. I didn’t expect this much, but I’m prepare to read more of Richard Matheson’s books. This one receives an astounding four and a half snails!

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