Richard Matheson's 'I Am Legend' Named Vampire Novel Of The Century
Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the story of a lone human surviving a world overrun by vampires, has been named the Vampire Novel of the Century by the Horror Writers Association.
The award was created in conjunction with the Stoker family estate, to mark the 100-year anniversary of Dracula creator Bram Stoker's death. Some of the other books in contention for the prize were Stephen King's Salem's Lot and Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire.
Matheson, who is 86 and was unable to travel to accept the award, issued an acceptance video, in which he said:
"I am certainly honoured and delighted that you have chosen I Am Legend as the vampire novel of the century, which is a rather dubious but interesting distinction. When I was a teenager I went to see Dracula with Bela Lugosi and at that time, even as a teenager, the thought occurred to me that if one vampire is scary, what if all the world were full of vampires?"
I Am Legend is a great vampire novel, and also one of my favorite books ever. Don't judge it on the 2007 Will Smith movie (the first half of which is amazing, the second half of which is an embarrassment to the source material). Nor should you judge it on the other three film adaptations, which are all pretty dodgy. This is a great book, and very deserving of the award--it's a very cool, scientific deconstruction of the vampire mythos, with a noir-ish slant.
Also, Badass Digest recently did a very cool piece on Matheson. He's an interesting guy. All your favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone? Probably written by him.
Anyone else share my abject love for this book? Or do you think there was a better vampire novel that should have been picked? Let's discuss!
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