Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New Maps of Hell - Kingsley Amis on I Am Legend

New Maps of Hell is a critical analysis of science-fiction by author Kingsley Amis, originally published in 1960 by Harcourt, Brace & World. Reprinted in 1961 by Ballantine Books (cover art by Richard Powers).

Speaking of the boundary between fantasy and science-fiction stories, Amis noted:
“... although vampirism is one of the staples of nineteenth-century fantasy, Richard Matheson’s novel I AM LEGEND makes brilliantly ingenious and incidentally horrifying use of the myth for science-fiction purposes, whereby every traditional detail is explained along rational lines: the wooden stake through the heart for instance, which put paid to Dracula and so many of his playmates, is necessary in order to maintain the dissension of the wound—bullets and knives are no good for that job, and the microbe which causes vampirism is acrophobic.”
More than a decade later, Amis would write an introduction to Matheson's The Shrinking Man, first appearing in the hardcover edition from David Bruce & Watson (London, 1973) and later reprinted in the Gregg Press edition (1979).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I Am Legend Reviewed - Galaxy 1955

I previously reprinted what I believe is the first published review of I Am Legend from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (November 1954). I'm back with another early review, this one from anthologist Groff Conklin, book critic for Galaxy Science Fiction. This ran in the January 1955 issue of that magazine.
For what I think is Gold Medal's first venture into the field of original science fantasies, it has chosen a weird and, I fear, rather slow-moving first novel* by a man heretofore known for his excellent short horror tales. 
I Am Legend tells of a disease that almost completely wipes out the human race, leaving behind only a handful of hideously changed creatures to attempt to revive civilization. 
It is "supernatural" science fiction, a horrid, violent, sometimes exciting but too often overdone tour de force.
*As most of Matheson's fans are already aware, I Am Legend was not Matheson's first novel. While it was his first genre novel, it was preceded by Someone is Bleeding and Fury on Sunday, both published by Lion books in 1953.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Additional Test Footage for Ridley Scott's I Am Legend

Followers of the blog will recall the video I posted last year of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff's practical concept work for Ridley Scott when he was developing the project.

The following video is also from the StudioADI YouTube channel, where you can check out the entire collection of Feature Film and Non-Feature Film Work from Amalgamated Dynamics Incorporated.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Am Legend Motion Comic

I Am Legend fan Marc Ihlow has created a motion comic using Elman Brown's artwork. Check it out:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Richard Matheson 1926-2013

Today I choose to celebrate the life and phenomenal body of work of the most influential writer in the world. Well, to this reader at least. And for anyone coming to this site, you probably share some affection for this amazingly gifted writer.

I have had the great honor of meeting many inspirational figures in my lifetime, and yet of them (ranging from George Lucas to Ralph McQuarrie to George Romero to Steve Jobs), none found me to be speechless. Only Richard Matheson. I must have fumbled out a few words as I held out my first edition paperback of I Am Legend, which he graciously signed to me (so somehow I must have gotten my name out). And on that evening in 1990, after he received the lifetime achievement award from the HWA (then Horror Writers of America, now Horror Writer's Association), I more comfortably walked over to congratulate him on this richly deserved honor, in my then 20 year-old estimation.
In 2007, I flew down to LA to attend what I imagined would likely be Richard Matheson's last book signing at Dark Delicacies, timed with the theatrical release of the latest version of I Am Legend. Though I had seen him a handful of times in the ensuing years, I wanted to take one final opportunity to say thanks. And I'm glad I did.

For Robert Neville and I Am Legend—a thousand times over. For Scott Carey and The Shrinking Man. For Richard Collier and Bid Time Return (which I read from at my wedding). For "Prey", and a hundred more truly amazing stories. For everything.

Matheson is a writer whose influence far surpasses his name recognition. Without even knowing it, millions have been touched by his gifts. Through The Twilight Zone. Duel. Somewhere in Time. The Legend of Hell House. What Dreams May Come. Any number of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. The Incredible Shrinking Man. The Last Man on Earth. A Stir of Echoes. The Night Stalker. Trilogy of Terror. And through each of these, and those adaptations yet to come, he will be fondly remembered, and continue to live on.

Richard Matheson had a clear belief about what happens when one dies. He wrote about it in his novel What Dreams May Come, and in his non-fiction book, The Path. As he embarks on that great mysterious journey, I hope he finds it to be everything he imagined and more.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking in the footsteps of Robert Neville

I encourage you to check out an interesting article by Geoff Nicholson from the Los Angeles Review of Books, in which he seeks out the actual locations where a number of books take place, including I Am Legend.
I, and others, have made attempts to find the number of the house where Matheson lived on Cimarron Street, and it seems he simply doesn’t remember. Cimarron is a long street, stretching from above the 10 to well below the 105, and there’s also a Cimarron Avenue and a Cimarron Way in Gardena, which actually fit better with the geography of the novel, and although I enjoy an aimless drift more than most, a dozen-mile expedition to an unspecified address in Gardena was too nebulous even for me.
That said, Nicholson was able to retrace the steps of Charlton Heston from a number of locations used in the filming of The Omega Man. You can read the whole article here.

New Maps of Hell - Kingsley Amis on I Am Legend

New Maps of Hell  is a critical analysis of science-fiction by author Kingsley Amis, originally published in 1960 by Harcourt, Brace &...