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See What Famous Book Just Won “Vampire Novel of the Century”

At the annual Bram Stoker awards last week one author’s book was named the vampire novel of the century!  But who was it? Was it Stephenie Meyer and the ridiculously popular Twilight? No. Was is Anne Rice and her innovative Interview with the Vampire? Nope, not even her. It was Richard Matheson’s story of a world overrun by the undead, I Am Legend, that has been named vampire novel of the century. Congratulations to Richard Matheson!

The prize was created by the Horror Writers Association in conjunction with the Stoker family estate to mark the anniversary of Dracula creator Bram Stoker’s death. Dracula expert Leslie S Klinger oversaw the choice and picked Matheson’s 1954 novel over titles including Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. The 86-year-old author could not attend the Bram Stoker awards ceremony in Salt Lake City this weekend due to health concerns, but sent a video message thanking his fellow horror authors for the award, and sharing how his story of one man against countless vampires was first inspired by Stoker’s own story.

“I am certainly honored and delighted that you have chosen I Am Legend as the vampire novel of the century, which is a rather dubious but interesting distinction,” said the author. “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?”

Matheson read Stoker’s novel, he said, on nightly trips to the latrine while he was a soldier. “When I was in the army and the infantry during basic training I would go down to the latrine at night while the other soldiers were sleeping, and I would sit there reading Dracula: why, I don’t know. I was pretty tired, I should have gone to sleep,” he said. “I enjoyed it at the time, never knowing I was going to write a book about vampires and certainly not that it would be derived from the idea I had when I first saw Bela Lugosi.”

Anne Rice congratulated Matheson on her Facebook page, describing his novel as “legendary”, and saying the writer had “been an inspiration to me and to so many. He is a legend himself”. She added that didn’t mind losing “to a man whose stories were inspiring me when I was still a kid writing everything with a ball point pen in a school notebook”. Stephen King has previously said that Matheson was “the author who influenced me the most as a writer”, and that I Am Legend was “an inspiration to me”.

Congratulations again to the wonderful Richard Matheson!

What are your thoughts on I Am Legend winning vampire novel of the century?

– Moonlight

i am legendrichard mathesonVampire BookVampire Novel of the Century

Moonlight • April 5, 2012


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Comments

  1. Halek April 5, 2012 - 8:35 am Reply

    There was no other possible choice. Only Interview With The Vampire is a contender since it gave us the vampire as remorseful, sympathetic protagonist (with precursors in Dracula’s Daughter and Dark Shadows), and it’s still a distant second. Salem’s Lot is essentially the Dracula plot transposed to contemporary small town America, which had been done earlier with the 1958 movie The Return of Dracula.

    Not only has the novella been adapted thrice (Last Man On Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend), any work positing an undead apocalypse (Stake Land), vampire-dominated world (Daybreakers), or even just a vampire horde (30 Days of Night) has probably been influenced by it. Franchises in which vampirism is viewed scientifically rather than mystically and/or vampirism is spread by a biological entity like a virus or bacterium generally owe something to I Am Legend. With some exceptions, virtually the entire modern zombie genre is a spin-off of it, including Romero’s ‘Dead’ series, The Walking Dead, and 28 Days Later. Current bestselling vampire novels The Strain series and The Passage are obviously derivative.

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  9. David July 17, 2012 - 1:15 am Reply

    I’m sorry, but Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is one of the books that I am currently reading, so I feel the need to comment on this. Okay, vampire novel of the century at the Bram Stoker Awards. Well, I’m not going to say that I Am Legend is a bad book, but I am going to say that it is a little overrated. Especially if you are going to declare it “vampire novel of the century”.I don’t mean to sound cruel here but I just don’t agree that they should have chosen that one. It’s an alright book but…not the best of this century. I feel that Anne Rice, Stephen King, or so many others areso much more deserving.I think I would give I Am Legend maybe two and a half..or to be generous..three stars out of five. It’s a good book but not that good. I don’t know, I just feel that there has been so much vampire litereature that has come out over the years and it seems like it has gone unoticed if they chose that one as the best. I do think it was good of Anne Rice to praise Richard Matheson, she was a good sport about it. Also, everyone already knows how Stephen King feels about him, after all the guy talks about him all the time! LOL.I don’t know what else to say here, I guess based on my current experience with the book it’s deserving of that award. I’ve actually always wanted to see a vampire apocalypse done, but don’t think that Matheson handled at well as he could have. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel about the book. However, I congradulate Matheson on his award. And thank God they didn’t pick Twilight, that is the wors vampire novel EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

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