So in my tradition of reading the books that inspire the movies I like, I bought I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. I've seen The Omega Man and I Am Legend, and I was curious to see how the original story goes.
Matheson has written for such TV shows as The Twilight Zone, so I had high hopes. I bought the book and began.
I can see why Matheson makes a good screenwriter: his ideas are interesting and have clever little twists. But as an author of books, he has problems. He's clumsy, heavy-handed, repetitive, and fatally prone to two-dimensionality in his characters. (How many times can a character 'clench his fists in rage' before you just want to scream, "oh get over it and get ON with the freaking story!")
To put it bluntly, Richard Matheson writes like William Shatner acts.
Also, what I didn't realize was that this book (a standard paperback) was half I Am Legend and half short stories, many of which I recognized from TV. So I was a little stunned to discover, upon starting a new page, that I'd just finished I Am Legend. It was as if he'd just gotten tired of it all, and after a series of repetitive scenes where almost nothing happens (save the endless clenching of fists), he just ended it. Also, his attempt to explain the vampire legend was very weak; he stretches a lot of credibility in trying to fit the story to his clever little premise.
I'll donate this to the library. Some seventh-grader will enjoy it.