I am Legend by Richard Matheson Tor, HK$120 End-of-the-world tales never go out of fashion; the best keep returning as new and 'improved' movie versions as fans try to augment previous takes. Consider Richard Matheson's I am Legend, first published in 1954. Filmed as The Last Man on Earth (starring Vincent Price) and The Omega Man (Charlton Heston), it was also the inspiration for George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Why all the fuss? If you haven't already seen Will Smith in the latest remake (now showing in Hong Kong), read the book first. A classic science fiction novel recently re-released, it centres on Robert Neville, possibly the sole survivor in a population of vampires. Borrowing from the common idea of disease wiping out humankind, the best-selling author also heaps on the gore as Neville drives stakes through the living dead by day and hides in his home at night when they come out to claim him. Dog lovers hoping Smith's handsome German shepherd plays a major part in the book may be disappointed: the dog that befriends Neville is a mongrel that doesn't stick around for long (although it is crucial for a soppy moment). Readers may find inconsistencies in the book, but it matters little when there's so much bloody fun to be had.