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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2016
It's a short book (story) this one, but a great read, from the 1950s. It tells the tale of (seemingly) the last "human" alive on earth, Richard Neville, surrounded by zombie hordes. The book is as much a psychological study of the effects of extreme loneliness, loss and grief, as it is fighting off the undead. There are no gory descriptions of decapitation or mass battles, but the tension is real.
I really liked the fact that the zombies could "talk", (taunting him at times), and that, living in his old (fortified) house, he recognised his former neighbours as they shuffled about in the dark, or tried to kill him. That made it feel very personal and the isolation real.
Neville, over time, has learned to be self sufficient, resourceful and resilient. The arrival of a stray dog triggers a series of (emotional) events which lead to........well, I won't spoil the book.
Great little read.
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on 9 July 2017
An intelligent exploration of the potential origins and development of the vampire as seen through the eyes of the last man standing. A man who will himself assume the part of the fearsome creature of the night in the eyes of those he slays.
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on 20 July 2017
I loved this book, nothing like the film, better story & ending.
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on 26 June 2017
'Unputdownable' does not do this book justice. Brilliantly written and incredibly engaging. Quite short (circa. 160 pages), but what a story.
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on 4 February 2014
I watched the Will Smith film and promised myself I would read the original novel. I was so impressed, and such an amazing storyline. It was like Richard Matheson had come back from the future to write this book, it's ahead of its time. Written perfectly and details loneliness and isolation like no other novel I have read.
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on 15 June 2017
Very clever story and the depiction of a lonely man was unnerving. Highly recommended.
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on 27 February 2015
Great book, wish it had been longer though
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VINE VOICEon 17 January 2003
I suppose like most people I discovered this book after noticing the Charlton'vest on'Heston film Omega Man was based upon it.I remembered seeing the film and thinking how bizarre it was in that 70's kind of way,so I thought I would give it a go.Much to my pleasure I found it to be one of the best books I have ever read.I found I could not put the thing down,Neville got my complete sympathy and I just had to find out what happened at the end,and the end is,well,awesome!!I've since read most of Mathesons books and I must say I have found them miles better than the movies that have been based on them.He sure can write them.
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on 6 August 2010
It's hard to know what to say about this book without spoiling the unfolding narrative for future readers, so I'll keep it fairly brief! Robert Neville is the lone survivor of a mysterious plague that has killed everyone he loves and turned his friends and neighbours into vampires. He spends his days repairing his home, making garlic strings to protect his property, and staking vampires where they sleep. When darkness falls he must barricade his door and steel himself to a night of his neighbours calling to him from the garden, the men heaving rocks at his house as the women expose themselves in an attempt to lure him outside.

This book is many things. It is an accomplished, atmospheric and well-paced dystopian novel, in which Matheson excels at ripping the rug out from under the reader every time they become too complacent. It is a reminder of the ease in which a simple biological mutation could begin a pandemic with the ability wipe out a species and destroy humanity as we know it. It is a sly jab at the changing nature of society, in which one day's normality may become the next day's abomination. It is an exploration of loneliness, of the human need for companionship and the way the mind copes with enforced solitude. And it is a homage to courage, to the will to survive, and to the struggle for knowledge and understanding.

I'm not sure yet that this will be keeper for me - would it, I wonder, yield more on a second reading, or would it lose its sparkle with foreknowledge of the way the narrative unfolds? I'd definitely recommend it anyway, for anyone who enjoys a pacy dystopian thriller with some deeper questions thrown in for good measure...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 June 2016
This is a short yet excellent book - depicting an apocalypse. It appears that every human being on the planet has been infected by a contagion and died ... all but one. Robert Neville has survived. And now he's all alone on Earth. That is, aside from the hordes of vampires that come out at night, desperately seeking Neville's blood. This is the story of one man as he comes to terms with being the Last Man, after pandemic - causing vampirism - spread across the globe. Author Richard Matheson brought his 'horror' and 'sci-fi' talents to bear, creating a wonderfully original tale that stands as an equal to the very best in such genres. Matheson was a superb writer - providing us with such stories as 'Hell House' (1971) (filmed as 'The Legend of Hell House') and 'Bid Time Return' (1975) (filmed as 'Somewhere in Time'), as well as writing 16 episodes of 'The Twilight Zone. The novel 'I Am Legend' is amongst his best works - and it's been hugely popular ... so much so that it's been adapted to film at least three times: as 'The Last Man on Earth' (1964), 'The Omega Man' (1971), and 'I Am Legend' (2007).

It's unfortunate that none of the film version adequately express the vampire-apocalyptic storyline. In the novel, Neville - who suffers from loneliness, depression and alcoholism - decides to understand what is the cause of the affliction, and after much research he discovers a strain of bacteria that result in vampirism. Furthermore, he finds out why these creatures are affected by garlic, mirrors, and crosses ... And it's this process of discovery that's most interesting.

Neville's spends his days slaughtering the sleeping vampires. He systematically travels around the city destroying the undead - as they in a catatonic state during daylight hours. As the years pass, Neville becomes something to be feared ... he's the Man who stalks the day, who relentlessly kills those who sleep. From the perspective of the vampires, it's Neville who's a monster. And, as a new vampire society emerges from the ruins of the old, Neville is entirely out of place. And so, from his own standpoint, he realises what he has become: a legend.

It's excellently written, with a fast - too fast! - pace. While the vampirism is fascinating to read about (especially the way Neville discovers what's going on), it's the apocalyptic aspects - of the Last Man - that are most engaging. Neville is losing his mind ... almost driven to suicide by loneliness. Overall, it's a brilliantly executed story. I highly recommend it.
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