Richard Matheson’s Masterpiece Triumphs Over Timeless Rivals
In a surprising turn of events, Richard Matheson’s iconic novel, I Am Legend, has been crowned as the vampire novel of the century, surpassing formidable contenders such as Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. This prestigious accolade was established by the Horror Writers Association and the Stoker family estate to commemorate the centenary of Bram Stoker’s passing. A panel of experts, chaired by renowned Dracula scholar Leslie S Klinger, unanimously selected Matheson’s 1954 masterpiece as the epitome of vampire literature.
Matheson’s Humble Inspiration from Stoker’s Legacy
Due to his declining health, the 86-year-old Matheson could not attend the Bram Stoker awards ceremony in Salt Lake City. Nonetheless, he conveyed his gratitude through a heartfelt video message. Matheson revealed how his thrice-adapted tale of a lone survivor battling a vampire horde in Manhattan was initially sparked by Stoker’s seminal work. Recalling his teenage years, Matheson reminisced about watching Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula, an experience that left him pondering the chilling prospect of a world teeming with vampires. He expressed his honor and delight at being bestowed with the somewhat paradoxical yet fascinating distinction of having his novel deemed the vampire novel of the century.
A Literary Journey Spawned in the Trenches
Matheson confessed that he first delved into Stoker’s Dracula during his nightly visits to the latrine as a soldier. In between exhausting military training, he would immerse himself in the captivating pages of the gothic classic. Reflecting on those late-night reading sessions, Matheson humorously remarked, “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.”
Admiration from Fellow Authors
Esteemed authors, including Anne Rice and Stephen King, hailed Matheson’s achievement and paid tribute to his literary genius. Rice, taking to her Facebook page, praised Matheson’s “legendary” novel and referred to him as an inspiration to herself and many others. King, who has openly acknowledged Matheson’s profound influence on his own writing, acknowledged him as “the author who influenced me the most.” I Am Legend stands as an enduring source of inspiration for King and countless aspiring writers.
Celebrating Spectacular Success
The Bram Stoker awards ceremony witnessed more triumphs, with Joe McKinney’s Flesh Eaters being awarded the Bram Stoker award for superior achievement in a novel. McKinney’s gripping narrative revolves around a world ravaged by a zombie plague. Esteemed authors Alan Moore, Peter Straub, Stephen King, and Joyce Carol Oates also received well-deserved recognition for their outstanding contributions to the horror genre. Oates, in particular, secured the horror gong for superior achievement in a fiction collection with her chilling compilation, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares. The title story immerses readers in a suspenseful tale of an 11-year-old child trapped in a basement by an older schoolmate, with the terrifying revelation that the world has come to an end.
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