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The Running Man by Stephen King
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The Running Man (original 1986; edition 1999)

by Stephen King, Richard Bachman (Contributor)

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2,049343,253 (3.62)56
Member:Ianaka007
Title:The Running Man
Authors:Stephen King
Other authors:Richard Bachman (Contributor)
Info:Signet (1999), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Running Man by Stephen King (1986)

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English (32)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Simply one of the best dystopian stories from Stephen King or any other writer. Dont judge it by the movie. ( )
  areadingmachine | Aug 19, 2014 |
It’s the year 2025 and society is very different then what we know today. Unlike those that claim today the United States is the land of the free and that the ultimate “American Dream” is attainable by anyone, the system is now designed to keep those who are below the poverty line to stay just where they are. However, there is a way out, sign up as a participant in “The Games”. Yes, you can compete on a variety of dangerous game shows in an effort to obtain large cash prizes and get you and your family out of the gutter.

The novel follows Ben Richards, a man whose daughter has recently become quite sick. Without the means to hire a doctor to help her regain her health and tired of his wife having to turn to prostitution as an income, Ben signs up as a contestant. The only problem is that Ben has been cast in the most dangerous show of all, “The Running Man”. In the competition, you need to stay alive for a period of 30 days. Sound easy? Oh yeah, you need to hide from “The Hunters”, people whose job it is to find you and cut your time on the show short. You also need to avoid exposure to the masses as people can receive cash awards if spotting and reporting you. If that report leads to your death, they are eligible for an even higher cash reward.

Constantly on the move, Ben travels all around the United States in search for a place to hide, if only for a little while. He limits his stay for only a day or two at a time, fearful that his spot will be exposed as he mails in the required tapes day to day. Attempting to stay on the run for as long as possible, the final prize of $1 billion dollars is quite alluring. While he does receive some help from a few disgruntled members of society, it does little to help as he has to fight his own paranoia in resisting the urge to distrust everyone.

I know you need to suspend your disbelief for someone else’s vision of the future, especially when you’ve past a lot of the eras in which King has pinpointed specific events (i.e. a major outbreak in 2005) to occur. However, there really are no specifics into how society degenerated so rapidly in the 90s and the early part of the 2000s, which I dislike. Maybe it’s the crime fiction fan in me that needs to know so much in regards to details (thanks a lot, John Connolly) but I find myself craving that – especially in a dystopian society. I NEED TO KNOW WHY. *

Overall, I enjoyed the novel – not quite to the extent that I enjoyed other King books but it was entertaining nonetheless. As I said earlier, my need to know how society had changed to what it was sort of ruined my enjoyment. Obviously, that’s no fault of King’s as he clearly intended it to be that way. Supposedly, the man wrote it in a week so detail was not something he was going to dwell on.

I will say this - the ending (the very final chapter) was awesome. I'm not sure if I've giving anything away but it's the ultimate act of rebellion. I actually laughed out loud. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a good thing or not, either way, it was outstanding.

*** Reviewers Note *** Yes, I’m aware that I still loved “A Long Walk” despite its lack of details surrounding society’s turn towards “The Long Walk” itself. I felt that this book suffered more considering society appears to be in far, far worse shape.

Also posted at Every Read Thing ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
This book did not stop once to catch its breath or let me catch mine. It was a breathless race to the end. Best to start this one at the beginning of the day and not before bed. ( )
  WongXu | Mar 26, 2014 |
Actually more 3.5
very close to 4

It was an interesting story, I really liked it.
Though I didn't really feel connected to Richards, even when it came to him as a pitiful husband just trying to support his family. I just didn't feel it. I couldn't feel his anger towards the Network as much as I think I should've.

I really liked the story and his character was good. I don't think you can go completely wrong with a simple King novel. ( )
  bethie-paige | Jan 29, 2014 |
I never could quite put my finger on the reason I didn't like the Bachman stories as well as those written as King until I listened to the author's note. He says he was an angry young man, and they were angry books. I think this nails it exactly - this is an angry book missing much of the sly humor that makes King so enjoyable. Still, the story and its characters sucked me right in, and even knowing how the story would end didn't dim the experience. Full disclosure, the vivid descriptions did have me gagging a little near the end, and I don't gross out easily. I downloaded this version from Audible, and Kevin Kenerly did an outstanding job on the narration. ( )
  PortM | Nov 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451197968, Mass Market Paperback)

Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) crafted The Running Man early in his career, though after such mega-hits as Carrie and The Shining. A bit of a departure from the supernatural horror that is most frequently associated with his work, the novel describes a science fiction dystopia where market capitalism and television game shows have spiraled out of control, and the separation between the haves and the have-nots has been formalized with separate currencies. King establishes characters quickly, creating sympathy in the first few pages for Ben Richards--whose 18-month-old baby girl is suffering from a horrible cough, perhaps pneumonia. Not able to afford medicine, Richards enters himself in the last-chance money-making scheme of the Free-Vee games. The games include Treadmill to Bucks, in which heart-attack prone contestants struggle to outlast a progressively demanding treadmill, or the accurately named Swim the Crocodiles. After a rigorous battery of physical and mental examinations, Richards is assigned "Elevator Six"--the path of a chosen few--that leads to The Running Man game. In this game, the stakes and the prizes are raised. Success means a life of luxury. Failure means death. Unfortunately, few ever win the game; in fact, as the producer tells Richards, in six years no one has survived.

The Running Man is a short book, tightly written to be read and enjoyed quickly. The future world it depicts is vividly captured with a few essential details. The action is also fast paced and, though the novel differs from much of King's other work, the sardonic social commentary reveals a pleasing glimmer of King's characteristically twisted sense of humor. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:03 -0400)

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This No. 1 bestseller, which tells a gritty tale of a futuristic game of lifeor death, has been repackaged with a new cover.

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