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The Running Man by Stephen King

The Running Man (original 1986; edition 1999)

by Stephen King, Richard Bachman (Contributor)

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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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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
It's the ultimate act of rebellion in a dark Orwellian dystopia. The writing was good, the pacing was crazy, Masterful plot...even if the author did reveal the ending in the audio preview! the book is full of suspense, and has a brilliant ending. Past is prologue. ( )
  buffalogr | May 12, 2015 |
Masterfully written! I've put off reading this book for over twenty years now because why wife had blurted out the ending. I should have know that Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) is such a great writer that knowing the ending could never ruin the story. I was mesmerized with every moment and never dissappointed!

Now that I have finished the masterpiece, I wish someone would make the movie version that did justice to the original story. Steven E. de Souza's screenplay version of the famous Schwarzenegger movie was a mere shadow of the greatness of this story (and yes, I still blame him for also writing such crap as Die Hard 2 and Judge Dredd).

Despite most of the future America being against Ben Richards, the reader was with him every step of the way and crying for blood along with him. I think this might have been the best single Stephen King book I've ever read and now I'm hungry for more of his Bachman books! ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
He understood well enough how a man with a choice between pride and responsibility will almost always choose pride - if responsibility robs him of his manhood.

In the year 2025, society has gone to the dogs with a clear distinction between those who are the dogs and those who own the dogs. The corporation who owns the television network has all the power and everyone else either works for them or is fodder for a corrupt system that ensures that entertainment trumps everything and human life is cheap, worth a dime a dozen. Ben Richards has no choice but to subject himself to an organization that he loathes with every fibre of his being and yet his submission turned defiance may be what leads to an anarchy of a scale that this ruined world has never known.

Written under the pseudonym Richard Backman, King sets out to paint a bleak and utterly hopeless world where game shows are a common fixture of society. These so called games are inherently rigged with odds stacked against the contestants and only the desperate need to apply. I wonder if he wrote these books during a particularly dark and angry season of his life because if the goal was to make the reader feel dejected about life and to rue at the unfairness of just existing, that he accomplishes with words to spare. In fashionable King style, the ending leaves you with a sour aftertaste and a gratefulness that no matter how bad the current state of the world may be, it can't possibly be as dark and dreary as the fictional world you hold between your fingers. ( )
  jolerie | Dec 22, 2014 |
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 |
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King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehto, LeeviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:53 -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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