I don’t read a lot of books. I’d like to, but I struggle to concentrate and am constantly thinking of other things I could be doing.
That said, I’ve read a few in the past and after watching I Am Legend (2007) I decided to get the book and see how the two differed. They’re very different!
In fact, the only similarities are the character’s name, the near extinction of man and the title.
In the book, published in 1954 (but set in the 70s) it’s a vampire virus that has swept over the earth.
Humans have been all but wiped out and are now nocturnal blood sucking versions of their former selves.
During the day Robert Neville searches for vampire nests and destroys any vampires he finds.
In an attempt to understand the virus he regularly visits the library and studies science in the hope that he can somehow understand it and hopefully even develop a cure.
At night he locks himself in his house while vampires wait outside, taunting him to come out.
I really like the film but I was disappointed that they went with CGI “infected” characters rather than real actors. It’s the only thing that still bothers me when I watch it.
In the book the “infected” are vampires, retaining their personalities and intelligence, only now needing blood to survive instead of food. It makes the whole thing that much more interesting as they are calculating and intelligent.
There have been a few film adaptations of Richard Matheson’s novel, most notably The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971). It was also the inspiration behind George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968)
If you like the film I’d definitely recommend the book. It’s a great read and gives a very different perspective on the story without ruining the enjoyment of the Will Smith blockbuster.