Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scary Book 2009, Take 2

Well, The Dead Zone was a bust.  It's a decent novel with an interesting premise and maybe a few too many pop culture references,* but it just plain wasn't scary.**  At least not in the way that I wanted to be scared.  I want the kind of book that makes me scared to turn the light off.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe just because it's Halloween.  Ray Bradbury has pulled it off, and Stephen King has pulled it off before.  But I'm not going to either of them for Jeremy's Halloween 2009 Scary Book Extravaganza.  No, sirs and ma'ams, that honor goes to golden-age-of-science-fiction author Richard Matheson.  I really enjoyed What Dreams May Come last summer, though I can't remember if it made me scared to turn the light off.  I do recall the movie having some chilling scenes.

OK, OK.  Without further ado, here is Second Chance Sam's Second Try at Being Scared for Halloween 2009:

I Am Legend (Millennium SF Masterworks S)

Sure looks scary, eh?  One early edition touted it as the scariest science fiction tale you'll ever read.  I shall be the judge of that, my friends.

*While I firmly believe in looking up words I don't know, I get annoyed having to look up a pop culture reference---for the eighty-third time---because I'm reading the book thirty years after it was published.  We sometimes forget that people down the road might not know everything we know as intimately as we know it.  If you want proof, play any version of Trivial Pursuit from before 2000.  And . . . 5 points for anybody who knows who Arthur Bremer is.

**Some might argue that it would be scary to be in Johnny's position.  Meh.  I hate it when people say things like, "The scariest part of 'Salem's Lot was how everybody knew something terrible was happening but nobody did anything but run away."  Bah, humbug.  The scariest part of 'Salem's Lot was when Jimmy, Ben, and Mark go vampire-hunting.  Well, really, any Mark-centric passage.


Anonymous said...

I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. I thought that it had great premise and some interesting parts, but it fell really flat when the main character is wailing about how there's no one left for him to have sex with (!), and the ending just annoyed me.

But, to be fair, I read a good part of it while waiting for an interview at a job fair at UT last year, so the atmosphere might have spoiled it for me.

Also-also, when I bought "the novel", I discovered that I am Legend is only about the first half of the book, really a novella, and the rest is other short stories from the same author. I don't know if your edition is the same, but holy crap on a stick, some of THEM were really disturbing.

Jeremy Masten said...

We may have the same copy. Mine has 160 pages of I Am Legend and then 130 or so of short stories. Right now, I'm about halfway through, and I like it a lot. He's just taken matters into his own hands, trying to figure out how to fight vampirism.

I was going to put in my post that Stephen King claims Richard Matheson in general and this book in particular as a huge influence, and Anne Rice got into vampire fiction because of "A Dress of White Silk" (which is included in my edition).