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Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) craftedThe Running Manearly in his career, though after such mega-hits asCarrieandThe 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 includeTreadmill to Bucks, in which heart-attack prone contestants struggle to outlast a progressively demanding treadmill, or the accurately namedSwim the Crocodiles. After a rigorous battery of physical and mental examinations, Richards is assigned "Elevator Six"--the path of a chosen few--that leads toThe Running Mangame. 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 Manis 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
Excellent Excellent book! When I picked up this book, I couldn't place it down until I was at the last page.
this book hits frighteningly close to home First off, if you have seen the movie prior to reading the book and are expecting a similar story, AVOID THIS BOOK LIKE THE PLAGUE. The character created by King in Ben Richards, is a scrawny, down trodden man, desperate to save his family, even if it means risking his life. HE is no where even close to the muscular, hulkying, action hero architype portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film. It is really a shame, that they screwed the story up so badly, because as a movie the book would be great. It's fast passed, with plenty of action, a simple enough premise, but not one which is trite or boreing, great characters, and message (albiet a unsettling one)of an all too plausible dystopia. Back when it was published, the book had a great story. To todays ready, it is a great story, bolstered by the real shows we see everyday. Sure we don't kill people, but it can't be denied that we enjoying watching the discomfort, even the suffering of others. Shows like "the Chamber" and "Dog eat Dog" and "fear factor" or even "the swan" are akin to the sick game shows viewed by the society of The Running man. And with the increasing addiction of the young people of our country to TV, and with the increased sense of apathy and an all around lack of reading, it is easy to see how huge mega corparations could monopolize and dominate our society. So in the end, this is an all around excellent book, I highly recommend it to both SciFi fans and non SciFi fans alike. Also while you're at it you should check out the other "Bachman books". In particular "Rage" (if you can find it. it's out of print) and "The Long Walk"Dragged on a bit, but still an excellent read I found this book well written, and had a thrilling edge to it. It almost felt like I was the one being chased! I would rate it five stars if they would have made the movie better, and shortened the chase a bit. His running from the hunters dragged on, when I would of rathered King write more about his life before.