Richard Matheson · 317 pages
Rating: (107.3K votes)
“After a while, though, even the deepest sorrow faltered, even the most penetrating despair lost its scalpel edge.”
“That's what was wrong with drinking too much. You became immune to drunken delights. There was no solace in liquor. Before you got happy, you collapsed.”
“But it was hard to keep his hands still. He could almost feel them twitching emphatically with his strong desire to reach out and stroke the dog's head. He had such a terrible yearning to love something again, and the dog was such a beautiful ugly dog.”
“Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. He knew he did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed. And, abruptly, the concept came, amusing to him even in his pain. ... Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.”
“The vampire was real. It was only that his true story had never been told.”
“But are his needs any more shocking than the needs of any other animals and men? Are his deeds more outrageous than the deeds of the parent who drained the spirit from his child? The vampire may foster quickened heartbeats and levitated hair. But is he worse than the parent who gave to society a neurotic child who became a politician? Is he worse than the manufacturer who set up belated foundations with the money he made by handing bombs and guns to suicidal nationalists? Is he worse than the distiller who gave bastardized grain juice to stultify further the brains of those who, sober, were incapable of progressive thought? (Nay, I apologize for this calumny; I nip the brew that feeds me.) Is he worse, then, than the publisher who filled ubiquitous racks with lust and death wishes? Really, no, search your soul, lovie--is the vampire so bad?”
“A man could get used to anything if he had to.”
“In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming. Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, and he realized it now, understood it at long last. And understanding it seemed to give him a sort of quiet peace, a sense of having spread all the cards on his mental table, examined them, and settled conclusively on the desired hand.”
“Really now, search your soul, lovie-is the vampire so bad?
All he does is drink blood.”
“Let the jagged edge of sobriety be now dulled.”
“... And suddenly he thought, I'm the abnormal one now. Normalcy was a
majority concept, the standard of many and not the standard of just
Abruptly that realization joined with what he saw on their faces --
awe, fear, shrinking horror -- and he knew that they were afraid of
him. To them he was some terrible scourge they had never seen, a
scourge even worse than the disease they had come to live with. He was
an invisible spectre who had left for evidence of his existence the
bloodless bodies of their loved ones. And he understood what they felt
and did not hate them. His right hand tightened on the tiny envelope
of pills. So long as the end did not come with violence, so long as it
did not have to be a butchery before their eyes...
Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. He knew he
did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was
anathema and black terror to be destroyed. And, abruptly, the concept
came, amusing to him even in his pain.
A coughing chuckle filled his throat. He turned and leaned against the
wall while he swallowed the pills. Full circle, he thought while the
final lethargy crept into his limbs. Full circle. A new terror born in
death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of
I am legend.”
“And, before science had caught up with the legend, the legend had swallowed science and everything.”
“For him the word 'horror' had become obsolete.”
“He turned away from the bar as if he could leave the question there. But questions had no location; they could follow him around.”
“I don the robe of hermit without a cry.”
“No, by God, he had no intention of going on like a blind man, plodding down a path of brainless, fruitless existence until old age or accident took him. Either he found the answer or he ditched the whole mess, life included.”
“A surfeiting of terror soon made terror a cliché.”
“The foraging for food and water, the struggle for life in a world without masters, housed in a body that man had made dependent on himself.”
“She sounded angry. That was the way she'd been as long as he'd known her. If she became ill, it irritated her. She was annoyed by sickness. She seemed to regard it as a personal affront.”
“She felt all right. Her heart was like a drum hanging from piano wire in her chest, slowly, slowly beaten. Her hands and feet were numb, not with cold but with a sultry torpor. Thoughts moved with a tranquil lethargy, her brain a leisurely machine imbedded in swaths of woolly packing.
She felt all right.”
“When Morton Silkline reached the hall, his customer was just flapping out a small window. Quite suddenly, Morton Silkline found the floor.”
“You bastard, he thought, almost affectionately, watching the minuscule protoplasm fluttering on the slide. You dirty little bastard.”
“[...] Pero luego el silencio cubrió las cabezas, como una manta pesada. Todos volvieron hacia Neville unos rostros pálidos. Neville los observó serenamente. Y de pronto comprendió. Yo soy el anormal ahora. La normalidad es un concepto mayoritario. Norma de muchos, no de un sólo hombre.
Y comprendió, también, la expresión de aquellos rostros: angustia, miedo, horror. Tenían miedo, sí. Era para ellos un monstruo terrible y desconocido, una malignidad más espantosa aún que la plaga. Un espectro invisible que había dejado como prueba de su existencia los cadáveres desangrados de sus seres queridos. Y Neville los comprendió, y dejó de odiarlos.”
“All right, little boy, he tried kidding himself, calm down now. Santa Claus is coming to town with all the nice answers. No longer will you be a weird Robinson Crusoe, imprisoned on an island of night surrounded by oceans of death. ”
“In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming. Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, and he realized it now, understood it at long last.”
“The man is mollified. The systematic juices leave off bubbling, the fires sink, the coals are scattered.
But the anger is still there, apart. Energy is never lost; a primal law.
“Watching him is intoxicating. I couldn’t dream up a more beautiful man.”
“I failed my way to success. —THOMAS EDISON”
“The greater benefits earned by a few could be justified, I realized, if the inequality improved the situation of the worst-off.”
“Good and evil have nothing to do with gods. It has to do with us.”
“Axel and Fable, their father was a woodcutter, and they live in a Candy House? Axel is always hungry, and eats too much candy, and Fable is fond of eating bread. It doesn’t get easier than that to know who they really are.”
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