I Am Legend, By Richard Matheson

557 Words3 Pages
Science fiction has always been the genre that asks the “how” questions, rather than “who” or “what”. How will society react to new technologies or to new species? How will humanity adapt to wars that devastate the planet? In science fiction, the focus is almost never on what a new technology does, or how it works, or the aliens we stole it from. Those are details that only considered in passing, while the true focus remains on how we, as a species, react, change, and grow in the face of those new challenges. These studies into human response are not pure speculation, either. They are based on how societies have adapted in the past and can be used to reflect how humanity will continue to react in the future. The novels and films we have studied throughout…show more content…
The speculations of fiction that resonate most clearly with our own history are those depicting devastating events of war and disease that force humanity to fundamentally change. In Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the modern world is ravaged by a disease that kills the majority, turns the rest into vampires, and is even able to bring back the dead as mindless ravagers as a host for the bacterium, leaving behind what seems to be the sole immune survivor, Robert Neville. However, humanity continues to exist and adapt outside of Neville’s point of view. The disease has changed humanity physically, but not spiritually, as the desire for structure and control remains even within the infected vampires. After Neville encounters Ruth, a vampire masquerading as another survivor, she leaves behind a note for him, explaining how society has evolved without him. The letter states “We are infected. But you already know that. What you don't understand yet is that we're going
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