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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Under any name King mesmerizes the reader.”—Chicago Sun-TimesSee all Editorial Reviews
A classic. The movie is far more exciting but the book bestows a feeling of endless desperation with many current comparisons with what is happening in our own times.Published 3 days ago by Matthew
Nothing like the movie and that's a great thing. Interesting social commentary that I don't think was fully addressed in the movie. Read morePublished 5 days ago by nikkody_mom
This novel has no bearing on the Arnold S. movie! I'm so glad I found it at work and opened it just for a bored glance and discovered it was NOT the novel of THAT ACTION MOVIE. Read morePublished 5 days ago by J. T. Larcade
An interesting read. Especially if you compare it to today's dystopian fiction (has a lot in common with it).Published 7 days ago by Shregg
In the year 2025 society is split between the wealth and the poor. Television is all powerful and watched. Read morePublished 8 days ago by ellison
Liked it, didn't love it like I do some other SK novels. Similar theme to "The Long Walk" which I liked better. Short, easy read.Published 20 days ago by M. Roeder
Great story, like The Hunger Games for adults. Not really in the vein of most of King's horror novels, but frightening in its own way!Published 23 days ago by OnlyAmyH
I could not put it down. Mr King did not bog down the writing with three pages of description, when one paragraph worked. I loved it!Published 24 days ago by Momofoliver