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review 2020-05-06 14:32
I Am Legend
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

by Richard Matheson


Vampires have taken over the world and only one human, Robert Neville, is left, trying to survive night after night while the local vampires taunt him and try to lure him out of his fortress. This is a post-apocalyptic story that reminds me of zombie stories, where a lone survivor scrounges the shops and homes of a deserted world to find food and materials to stay alive. One man against the monsters.


The difference is the vampires can only attack at night and Robert takes advantage of their daytime sleep to kill as many as he can. The trouble is, this distracts him from getting other things done.


Sometimes I've thought he's being stupid with some of his decisions and his dependency on a wind-up watch to know when to get back home to his safe fortress. If it were me, I'd be moving daily and making it harder for the vampires to find me. There's plenty of room in his station wagon to carry a generator and a lot of materials.


Some of it didn't ring realistic, especially the first close encounter with fighting the vampires. Too much luck against too many numbers. That one should have been his fatal mistake. I wouldn't have even gone home once I'd worked out it was late, but holed up somewhere else. It doesn't take that long to board up a few doors and windows.


One thing I did find very interesting is when he tried to research the various folkloric methods for repelling vampires, to find a scientific basis for how it works (if it does).


Despite the character's mistakes, I found it a good read. Survival against the odds well-written generally makes for a good story.

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review 2019-09-16 14:27
Great Horror Book, but Definitely Dated
A Stir of Echoes - Richard Matheson

I really enjoyed reading this one! I watched the movie starring Kevin Bacon when it came out and I thought it did a great job with updating this source material into modern times. They do keep some of the same elements here and there, though they change the person who was murdered and why. I liked that since I then went into this book cold and had no clue who did what to whom or why. I will say though that this book was published in the late 1950s and you feel that throughout. The woman in this story are wholly dependent on their husbands and you get a claustrophobic feeling after a while in this suburban community where everyone knows each other and sees each other for dinner parties it seems like every week. 


"A Stir of Echoes" follows Tom Wallace. Tom is happily married to his wife Anne. They have a toddler named Richard and are expecting another baby. He works at a plant and seems content with his life. When his brother in law comes to visit, they all go to their next door neighbor's home. Eventually things turn into a discussion of hypnotism and then Tom agrees to be hypnotized. His brother in law telling him to let his mind be "free" seems to have awakened something in Tom. Now Tom is seeing ghosts and is able to sense and see what others are feeling and doing. With Tom getting increasingly ill due to his newfound abilities and wanting to rid himself of the ghost that seems to call nightly, things get stirred up in the sleepy suburban community that is not all that it seems. 


Tom I thought was a great narrator. We find out that he loves his wife and feels ambivalent or indifferent to most of their neighbors. When his mind gets to be "free" though he becomes more attuned to them and sickened by their behavior. He feels trapped anytime he is near one of the women in the community who berates her husband and seems up for having an affair. The other neighbors definitely have a toxic marriage. The husband hates his wife for getting pregnant and talks of having affairs. I think that Matheson does a great job of contrasting Tom with them, but also showing how many people had marriages like this and you didn't see it because even when things were said and done in front of you, you ignored it.

Tom's wife Anne is a partner in this. She is angry and resentful of what this new ability is doing to Tom and turns away from him at times. I can see why after a while. This has to be alien to her. Her husband is supposed to provide for the family and protect them and now she is scared of what he may see that he chooses not to tell her.

The writing I think was pitch perfect for this time period. The flow works from beginning to end I thought and I didn't have a problem with where the story was going. 

The setting of the late 1950s and early 1960s I think makes sense for this book since I don't know if the things revealed in this book in a contemporary time would matter? Or I don't think it would work without it taking place in a suburban community from this day and age. I like the contrast of things in this new type of community not being as shiny and new and wholesome as one would think. 

The ending was definitely a surprise and I liked how things got resolved with Tom's ability. 




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text 2019-09-12 21:01
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
A Stir of Echoes - Richard Matheson



Image result for a stir of echoes gif


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review 2019-09-07 03:05
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

The reader suspects that Matheson has issues. Big ones. With women and anger, primarily. But, as the Spouse pointed out, the first two thirds of "Legend" are brilliant. Neville teaching himself science in order to figure out the world he now lives in, that's quality stuff. His own obtuseness, however, sheesh

The other stories are intense and clever, but I don't recommend reading them all together. Matheson's world is a miserable place.



Library copy

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text 2018-10-25 17:03
Audible Halloween $6.95 Sale!
Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons
The Collector - John Fowles
Joplin's Ghost - Tananarive Due
Secondhand Spirits - Juliet Blackwell
Thornwood House - Anna Romer
The Lottery and Other Stories - Shirley Jackson
FantasticLand - Mike Bockoven
Hell House - Richard Matheson
They Thirst - Robert R. McCammon
Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell

Oh boy, I took in a huge book haul. Just when I'm fed up on horror and mystery and ready for nothing but non-fantastical fiction for a while. But oh, well, these will keep until I'm ready for chills and thrills again. 

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