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The Running Man by Stephen King
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The Running Man (1986)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bachman Books (4)

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2,724463,165 (3.63)67
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English (43)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Quickly paced, gritty in a dystopian world where the poor are dying of diseases caused by the polluted air that they have to breathe. A huge disparity between the rich and poor and the world controlled by the free vee which is piped into every home. Richards, a man with a sick toddler, blackballed from any work, desperate to create a better life for his family volunteers to be part of the Running Man TV show where he is hunted across the country in a rigged game that he cannot hope to win.
Very different and much deeper tale than the movie. ( )
  CharlotteBurt | Nov 24, 2018 |
Wow. VERY different from the movie, but very good in its own ways. The ending was wonderful, though a bit too predictable. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 9, 2018 |
Holy cow. This book is like a super intense adult version of "The Hunger Games" and "Battle Royale", except with us being focused on 1 person.

The world we see is modern day U.S. (Maine mainly, since it is King of course). Pollution is so bad to the point that people are developing lung cancer at rapidly increasing rates and only the rich can afford the nasal air filters that allow them to breathe with ease. Violent gangs run the streets and the police are even worse. Women are forced to becoming prostitutes in order to get money for themselves and their families. All of this, in combination with King's fantastic writing, really makes this world a terrifying, possible-like, future.

Ben Richards was a great character whose situation really pulls at the heartstrings and has the reader cheering him on every difficult step of the way. He is man who was pushed into participating in a deadly "game", that no one has ever "won" in the past, in order to try and get the money for pneumonia treatment for his 18 month old daughter. The one rule that Richards must obey is to send in two recordings of himself every day by noon, failure to do so means forfeiting the money and his chance at being declared a winner (of a billion New Dollars and being allowed to live). He is allowed to kill (and is rewarded money for it), but being caught means instant death. His struggles with seeing how the upper classes live is hard to see.

The parts that got me the most are Richards's interactions/conversations with those who are in his social class. He is witty and intelligent, as are those he teams up with at times, and he seems to be doing his best with the absolutely shitty conditions he has to work with. I particularly enjoy his moments when going through the testing and interviews for the Games. He knows he is in a bad situation made worse by his desperation for his daughter.

The ending itself was incredibly sad and I caught myself choking up. In a way, it was almost poetic seeing the Richards's inner monologue and the change in the people. ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Holy cow. This book is like a super intense adult version of "The Hunger Games" and "Battle Royale", except with us being focused on 1 person.

The world we see is modern day U.S. (Maine mainly, since it is King of course). Pollution is so bad to the point that people are developing lung cancer at rapidly increasing rates and only the rich can afford the nasal air filters that allow them to breathe with ease. Violent gangs run the streets and the police are even worse. Women are forced to becoming prostitutes in order to get money for themselves and their families. All of this, in combination with King's fantastic writing, really makes this world a terrifying, possible-like, future.

Ben Richards was a great character whose situation really pulls at the heartstrings and has the reader cheering him on every difficult step of the way. He is man who was pushed into participating in a deadly "game", that no one has ever "won" in the past, in order to try and get the money for pneumonia treatment for his 18 month old daughter. The one rule that Richards must obey is to send in two recordings of himself every day by noon, failure to do so means forfeiting the money and his chance at being declared a winner (of a billion New Dollars and being allowed to live). He is allowed to kill (and is rewarded money for it), but being caught means instant death. His struggles with seeing how the upper classes live is hard to see.

The parts that got me the most are Richards's interactions/conversations with those who are in his social class. He is witty and intelligent, as are those he teams up with at times, and he seems to be doing his best with the absolutely shitty conditions he has to work with. I particularly enjoy his moments when going through the testing and interviews for the Games. He knows he is in a bad situation made worse by his desperation for his daughter.

The ending itself was incredibly sad and I caught myself choking up. In a way, it was almost poetic seeing the Richards's inner monologue and the change in the people. ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
It surprised me as I read The Running Man that although the author is listed as Richard Bachman, all his fans know that this is Stephen King writing under his pseudonym. What I find amazing is the style, the characterization and everything that is familiar to me about SK is totally absent from this story. Is this meant to be? Is this to be read as a 3rd rate novel about a man Ben Richards trying to escape is meagre poor surroundings with one shot at the big pay off? I know that King can write great stand alone crime (Joyland, Mr Mercedes) and yet if I had not know that this was written by SK I would never have guessed.

It is not a bad story. Ben Richards lives with his wife Sheila and daughter Cathy, impoverished residents of the fictional Co-Op city. His gravely ill daughter Cathy needs medicine, and his wife Sheila has resorted to prostitution to bring in money for the family. In desperation, Richards turns to the Games Network, a government-operated television station that runs violent game shows. After rigorous physical and mental testing, Richards is selected to appear on "The Running Man" the Games Network's most popular, lucrative, and dangerous program. His task is keep ahead of The Hunters and by doing so he will earn cash...survive 30 days and the big billion dollar jackpot will be his! The story is fast and pleasant but devoid of any real depth and feeling...perhaps that is the purpose of the author but having enjoyed so many brilliant King novels I cannot help feel a little disappointed. Having said that it is an ok story with a nice conclusion, one I did not see coming and suited the overall structure very well. ( )
1 vote runner56 | Oct 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehto, LeeviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zinoni, DelioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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