“Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.”
― Richard Matheson
Why I’m Reading this Book?
I’m a fan of Stephen King. So one day I was browsing who is the favorite writer of Mr King and in one article I came across the name ‘Richard Matheson’.
I’m deeply surprised that before that I was not aware about his name. I’ve seen his episodes in Twilight Zone but didn’t know he was the force behind him. So, now I’m on the journey of catching up with everything he has written. First in line is this book and I’m excited about the movie too. (I didn’t even watch that!! What rock I was living under? Sigh!)
Humanity is at the brink of extinction save the exception of Robert Neville. He is learning new ways to live with this new reality and coming to the terms with it. He thinks there is no intelligent being left alive, but is it really the case? Can these vampire/zombies think?
Robert Neville is living this new bizarre life after the outbreak of a pandemic wiped out whole human race. He also lost his wife and daughter in this crisis. But he is somehow immune to this bacteria/virus. In front of his eyes, very rapidly, structure of civilization crumbled. Before anyone could do anything or accept what was happening, everyone was infected.
This disease turns a living man into a vampire, who slinks away during day-time and comes back in the night with full capacity of a blood sucking infecting being. Many are alive with limited thinking of sustaining themselves on blood and eventually they wither and die.
With few occasional suicidal thoughts, Neville is starting to adjust in this new life, where daily chore means searching and killing vampires in daylight, hanging garlic to keep them away during night, putting up boards on all windows for nighttime, researching on what happened and formulating theory and making his life as comfortable as he can.
He is living this nomad life until he sees a girl, a living girl, after years of thinking that he is the only one alive. Hope spurts like a chasm of water in desert. But years of conditioning has made him a doubtful person and he is thinking what if vampires are thinking a little bit more and sent a spy to finally kill him.
And then story continues with looming question whether Neville will leave his inhibitions and trust this new person and finally will find solace in this lonely world or he would be the victim of his own mind and kill the girl. And end is mind-blowing and unique.
Story is written beautifully narrating loneliness, power of human mind and the horror of a pandemic. It is particularly terrifying read in the times of COVID-19. This is the great amalgam of science, superstition and humanity. It’s a must read and I’ve heard movie is equally good. That is going in my ‘to watch’ list.
There were other short stories in the book; Buried talents, The near departed, Prey, Witch War, Dance of the dead, Dress of white silk, Mad house, The funeral, From shadowed places and Person to Person. My favorite ones are Prey, Mad house and Person to Person. I even watched Prey in ‘Trilogy of terror’ and was immensely satisfied.
Richard Matheson is truly a great writer, he evokes horror in simple things and you can feel palpitating tension of story in real. He is not just a horror writer, he writes about other emotions also so well that you would laugh, sneer, smile, be sad and angry and dismayed all in the span of one book.
My Rating — 5
On the scale of: (1- Hate , 2- Neither like nor dislike, 3- Like, 4- Love, 5- Gaga)
I loved this book and more importantly I loved the writer. Now I’m going to hound him like I do Stephen King. 🙂
Why anyone else should read this Book?
If you’re horror/mystery/thriller aficionado, I don’t even have to say anything.
Like the name of his book, Matheson is a legend. I don’t think he need any convincing. His work is immortal and relevant even today. While some horror books of past may be too easy to stimulate us, his book doesn’t disappoint and is as new as they come.
Stay home, Stay Safe!!!
What are your views of this book? How did you like it? Or are you planning to read it? Share them here. Till next time, Happy Reading Folks!!!