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A strange ‘I Am Legend’ experience

October 11, 2008

I finished I Am Legend last night – rather unexpectedly soon. After learning all about Robert Neville’s post-apocalyptic world, his methods of survival and a little about his past, I had last stopped reading at a pivotal point in the story – when Neville discovers a woman, the only other plague survivor that he has seen in three years. I was excited to pick the story up again last night, and was about halfway through the book when the title was explained. It’s just getting good, I thought. Time for Part II. 

Then, as I kept reading, absolutely nothing made sense. It was like I had started a whole new story…which I had…which I finally realized. The book consisted of I Am Legend followed by a handful of Richard Matheson’s short(er) stories. 

This is the book I was reading:

Titled, both on front and spine, I Am Legend. Not, I Am Legend and other stories. The back cover also had a blurb entirely about I Am Legend. After discovering this strange publishing choice, I found a table of contents at the front that I had overlooked. Though, even if I had seen it before beginning, I might have thought it distinguished chapter titles rather than stories.

Funny how this reading experience left me feeling cheated. I liked the few short stories I read, but I was expecting I Am Legend to be much longer. I wasn’t ready for it to end. It’s different than simply not wanting a book to end. I felt unprepared. 

Anyway, I did like the story. You’ll probably like it too, if you liked the movies Children of Men and 28 Days Later, or Stephen King. I’ll have to rent the movie now, though at least I have clear expectations for that.

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