Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Another RIP Book completed! I finished I am Legend by Richard Matheson. If my Bookman had not insisted I read it for the challenge I never would have. He is an enjoyer of all things vampiric and I am rather indifferent (thought I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Our copy is a 1954 book club edition with an appropriately pulp-y cover. A man, presumably the hero, stands atop something we cannot see, a wooden stake raised in one hand, his other reaching out toward the viewer. Below him, trying to grab him, are a crowd of people we will soon find out are vampires. Behind all of this is a blazing fire and behind the fire a background in gradient bands of purple representing ground, horizon, sky. The person who designed the cover must just have graduated from graphic design school because everything is neatly and obviously geometrical. The vampire crowd makes a tidy pyramid with the hero at the apex. The fire behind is also a pyramid, slightly offset from the people pyramid. Both fire and people pyramids are off center. The background gradient bands are nicely proportioned and perfectly straight. The artist gets an A for compositional balance. I had the book at work the other day to read at lunch and it caught my boss's eye. She got strangely excited, wanted to know what I was reading since I always read such good books. I wanted to run away because I was so embarrassed by the cover. I showed her the book and she nearly squealed with delight. In one sentence I told her what the book was about, sure it was not her type of reading. But to my surprise she was quite excited about it and hurried away to her office to write down the title and author before she forgot it. I am normally not like this about books I take to work, but there is something about the cover that makes me want to hide it. The story itself turned out to be pretty good. It is short and reads very fast. It is also one of those books where the writing is terrible but the story is compelling enough you are willing to overlook the defects of the clunky sentences. Robert Neville, perhaps the only man left alive, tells how everyone has turned into vampires. The only man in town, Neville has turned his house into a fortress since the vampires, especially his former neighbor, love to come and stand on his front lawn and taunt him every night. The book is a story of survival in a number of ways. I want to say more, but will refrain because I don't want to give anything away for others who might be reading the book. I will say, however, the reader is left to wonder what s/he would do in the same situation. I'm pretty sure I would have made some different choices, especially at the end. If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, you will just have to read the book and find out. This weekend we are planning on watching the movie, Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and, if we can find it, The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. Both are movei adaptations of the book. Should be fun.