Vampirical Evidence

Read the first hundred pages or so of Richard Matheson’s I am Legend last night, so I guess I’m not that tired.
I’m glad I picked this up — Matheson thanks Henry Kuttner on the opening page, who you might know was a huge influence on Zelazny so, you know… connections.
It’s a good story, though the wording is sort of clumsy. I have a notion that he was going for the sort of sparse feel of The Thin Man and ended up with stoic instead. Stoic is fine for a character… it’s not so good for a book.
Still, a good read, and as the story progresses he gets more comfortable, forgets what he’s trying to sound like and things start coming across in a much more authentic voice — the bit about the dog kept me up and reading another 45 minutes longer than I’d intended to, which is all anyone really wants a reader to do.
It’s a new printing of the book, which actually includes a bunch of shorter things after I am Legend (the book’s 300 pages, and I am Legend is only 171 of it). I’m not as enthused about those as I might be — I haven’t decided if Matheson will write better stuff in a shorter format, or if he’ll treat each short story as an ‘exercise’: “With this story, I will not use any words with the letter ‘m’ in them.”
We’ll see.
(Oh, the premise of the book is that the protagonist is the last uninfected human in a world full of vampires. Touted as one of the 10 great ‘vampire’ books of all time. I can only name about… three or four ‘vampire’ books/series, so I’m not sure what kind of praise that is, but there it is nonetheless.)
Addendum: In that era, everyone smoked a hundred jillion cigarettes per hour… if they were cutting back. Just FYI.

2 Replies to “Vampirical Evidence”

  1. There was a b&w movie adaptation that, when I was a kid, I thought was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.
    It was also remade as (gag) The Omega Man.
    Matheson is best known (to me, anyway) as the second most prolific (and the first best) writer on The Twilight Zone. I think his short stuff may be better than his long.

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