“I Am Legend” is a powerful and amazing story that turns the vampire and zombie horror genres on their heads by flipping tropes that were not even tropes when it was written. The result is that it reads as a fresh take even today — at least the story and idea do. The character and the writing are so much a product of their time that there is no way around that.
The story is full of great atmosphere, and tension and paranoia on every page.
The book itself is somewhat diminished by the inclusion of other of Matheson’s stories. I’ve often felt that story collections are an excuse of authors to publish stuff they couldn’t get out any other way. The title story is usually the best and most popular and the rest range between terrible and okay.
However, the titular story takes up the bulk of the book and it is worth the price of admission to simply ignore the rest of the stories.
Matheson is a master of narrative and horror and does an interesting job of making the traditional vampire lore have a scientific background to it. The twist at the end is brilliant and makes a fascinating turn of events that I wish the movie had been courageous enough to use.