eah, you’ve seen that stupid Will Smith movie.
It isn’t that.
I am Legend is the title story of a collection of Richard Matheson works. He was doing cutting-edge stuff a few years before I was born, and he really deserves better credit than a plate of CGIed audience-rated bullshit that we got out of this. In the true version, the main character is one of the last humans left after a plague sweeps the Earth, turning everyone else into things resembling, well, vampires. We follow the hero’s mental craziness at this situation, his drinking, his ravings, all that. And during his more lucid moments, he’s actually working to figure out what parts of these legendary vampires are true. Aversion to light? Crosses? The stake through the heart? And just to keep a hobby going, he kills vampirilic nests wherever he finds them. And so it continues until a shocking outcome, one that will make you blink. In the end, there is a stunning reversal of worldview, from which comes that strange title (which makes no sense unless you play it out as the book does). Yes, it is quite the shocker.
But that’s not all! Wait, there’s more!
The rest of the collection carries though with a number of his other short stories, fantastic tales from the macabre to the murderous. Matheson shows no bounds to what he’ll cover, and a lot of it is superbly written. My favorite – a guy always wakes up at 3am to a ringing phone in his head. He’s scanned and checked and everything – still, it goes on. Finally his shrink tells him, “Have out tried answering it?” The next night, when the ring commences, he visualizes picking up the headset and saying, “Hel-lo!”
“Well, finally,” replies a voice.
So if you are looking for solid classical fantastic stories, look no further than this collection. It’s been around for a while and it still available from Evil Amazon. Good for a smile!