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I Am Legend

Critique • Text • At the movies

I Am Legend first editionFirst hardcover edition
By Richard Matheson
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication

Literature form

Science fiction, horror

Writing language

Author's country
United States

Approx. 25,000 words

Notable lines

First line

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.


Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, and he realized it now, understood it at long last.

Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages. Something with no framework or credulity, something that had been consigned, fact and figure, to the pages of imaginative literature. Vampires were passé; Summers' idylls or Stoker's melodramatics or a brief inclusion in the Britannica or grist for the pulp writer's mill or raw material for the B-film factories. A tenuous legend passed from century to century.
Well, it was true.

Sometimes he had indulged in daydreams about finding someone. More often, though, he had tried to adjust to what he sincerely believed was the inevitable — that he was actually the only one left in the world. At least in as much of the world as he could ever hope to know.

His sex drive had diminished, had virtually disappeared. Salvation of the monk, he thought. The drive had to go sooner or later, or no normal man could dedicate himself to any life that excluded sex.

On the phonograph, music played, quiet and unhurried.
Outside, the vampires waited.

Last lines

Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever.
I am legend.


Critique • Text • At the movies

See also:

Robinson Crusoe

I, Robot


Fondly Fahrenheit

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