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The Running Man

The Running Man

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The Running Man

valoraciones:
4/5 (69 valoraciones)
Longitud:
316 página
4 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781501141355
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

A desperate man attempts to win a reality TV game where the only objective is to stay alive in this #1 national bestseller from Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman.

It was the ultimate death game in a nightmare future America. The year is 2025 and reality TV has grown to the point where people are willing to wager their lives for a chance at a billion-dollar jackpot. Ben Richards is desperate—he needs money to treat his daughter’s illness. His last chance is entering a game show called The Running Man where the goal is to avoid capture by Hunters who are employed to kill him. Surviving this month-long chase is another issue when everyone else on the planet is watching—and willing to turn him in for the reward.

Each night all Americans tune in to watch. So far, the record for survival is only eight days. Can Ben Richards beat the brutal odds, beat the rigged game, beat the entire savage system? He’s betting his life that he can…

With an introduction by Stephen King on “The Importance of Being Bachman,” The Running Man is a terrifying novel about the eternal fight of good versus evil.
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781501141355
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes If It Bleeds, The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, and Doctor Sleep are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

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Vista previa del libro

The Running Man - Stephen King

. . . Minus 100

and COUNTING . . .

She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window. Beyond her, in the drizzle, the other highrises in Co-Op City rose like the gray turrets of a penitentiary. Below, in the airshaft, clotheslines flapped with ragged wash. Rats and plump alley cats circulated through the garbage.

She looked at her husband. He was seated at the table, staring up at the Free-Vee with steady, vacant concentration. He had been watching it for weeks now. It wasn’t like him. He hated it, always had. Of course, every Development apartment had one—it was the law—but it was still legal to turn them off. The Compulsory Benefit Bill of 2021 had failed to get the required two-thirds majority by six votes. Ordinarily they never watched it. But ever since Cathy had gotten sick, he had been watching the big-money giveaways. It filled her with sick fear.

Behind the compulsive shrieking of the half-time announcer narrating the latest newsie flick, Cathy’s flu-hoarsened wailing went on and on.

How bad is it? Richards asked.

Not so bad.

Don’t shit me.

It’s a hundred and four.

He brought both fists down on the table. A plastic dish jumped into the air and clattered down.

We’ll get a doctor. Try not to worry so much. Listen— She began to babble frantically to distract him; he had turned around and was watching the Free-Vee again. Half-time was over, and the game was on again. This wasn’t one of the big ones, of course, just a cheap daytime come-on called Treadmill to Bucks. They accepted only chronic heart, liver, or lung patients, sometimes throwing in a crip for comic relief. Every minute the contestant could stay on the treadmill (keeping up a steady flow of chatter with the emcee), he won ten dollars. Every two minutes the emcee asked a Bonus Question in the contestant’s category (the current pal, a heart-murmur from Hackensack, was an American history buff) which was worth fifty dollars. If the contestant, dizzy, out of breath, heart doing fantastic rubber acrobatics in his chest, missed the question, fifty dollars was deducted from his winnings and the treadmill was speeded up.

We’ll get along. Ben. We will. Really. I . . . I’ll . . .

You’ll what? He looked at her brutally. Hustle? No more, Sheila. She’s got to have a real doctor. No more block midwife with dirty hands and whiskey breath. All the modern equipment. I’m going to see to it.

He crossed the room, eyes swiveling hypnotically to the Free-Vee bolted into one peeling wall above the sink. He took his cheap denim jacket off its hook and pulled it on with fretful gestures.

No! No, I won’t . . . won’t allow it. You’re not going to—

Why not? At worst you can get a few oldbucks as the head of a fatherless house. One way or the other you’ll have to see her through this.

She had never really been a handsome woman, and in the years since her husband had not worked she had grown scrawny, but in this moment she looked beautiful . . . imperious. I won’t take it. I’d rather sell the govie a two-dollar piece of tail when he comes to the door and send him back with his dirty blood money in his pocket. Should I take a bounty on my man?

He turned on her, grim and humorless, clutching something that set him apart, an invisible something for which the Network had ruthlessly calculated. He was a dinosaur in this time. Not a big one, but still a throwback, an embarrassment. Perhaps a danger. Big clouds condense around small particles.

He gestured at the bedroom. How about her in an unmarked pauper’s grave? Does that appeal to you?

It left her with only the argument of insensate sorrow. Her face cracked and dissolved into tears.

Ben, this is just what they want, for people like us, like you—

Maybe they won’t take me, he said, opening the door. Maybe I don’t have whatever it is they look for.

If you go now, they’ll kill you. And I’ll be here watching it. Do you want me watching that with her in the next room? She was hardly coherent through her tears.

I want her to go on living. He tried to close the door, but she put her body in the way.

Give me a kiss before you go, then.

He kissed her. Down the hall, Mrs. Jenner opened her door and peered out. The rich odor of corned beef and cabbage, tantalizing, maddening, drifted to them. Mrs. Jenner did well—she helped out at the local discount drug and had an almost uncanny eye for illegal-card carriers.

You’ll take the money? Richards asked. You won’t do anything stupid?

I’ll take it, she whispered. You know I’ll take it.

He clutched her awkwardly, then turned away quickly, with no grace, and plunged down the crazily slanting, ill-lighted stairwell.

She stood in the doorway, shaken by soundless sobs, until she heard the door slam hollowly five flights down, and then she put her apron up to her face. She was still clutching the thermometer she had used to take the baby’s temperature.

Mrs. Jenner crept up softly and twitched the apron. Dearie, she whispered, I can put you onto black market penicillin when the money gets here . . . real cheap . . . good quality—

Get out! she screamed at her.

Mrs. Jenner recoiled, her upper lip rising instinctively away from the blackened stumps of her teeth. Just trying to help, she muttered, and scurried back to her room.

Barely muffled by the thin plastiwood, Cathy’s wails continued. Mrs. Jenner’s Free-Vee blared and hooted. The contestant on Treadmill to Bucks had just missed a Bonus Question and had had a heart attack simultaneously. He was being carried off on a rubber stretcher while the audience applauded.

Upper lip rising and falling metronomically, Mrs. Jenner wrote Sheila Richards’s name down in her notebook. We’ll see, she said to no one. We’ll just see, Mrs. Smell-So-Sweet.

She closed the notebook with a vicious snap and settled down to watch the next game.

. . . Minus 099

and COUNTING . . .

The drizzle had deepened into a steady rain by the time Richards hit the street. The big Smoke Dokes for Hallucinogenic Jokes thermometer across the street stood at fifty-one degrees. (Just the Right Temp to Stoke Up a Doke—High to the Nth Degree!) That might make it sixty in their apartment. And Cathy had the flu.

A rat trotted lazily, lousily, across the cracked and blistered cement of the street. Across the way, the ancient and rusted skeleton of a 2013 Humber stood on decayed axles. It had been completely stripped, even to the wheel bearings and motor mounts, but the cops didn’t take it away. The cops rarely ventured south of the Canal anymore. Co-Op City stood in a radiating rat warren of parking lots, deserted shops, Urban Centers, and paved playgrounds. The cycle gangs were the law here, and all those newsie items about the intrepid Block Police of South City were nothing but a pile of warm crap. The streets were ghostly, silent. If you went out, you took the pneumo bus or you carried a gas cylinder.

He walked fast, not looking around, not thinking. The air was sulphurous and thick. Four cycles roared past and someone threw a ragged hunk of asphalt paving. Richards ducked easily. Two pneumo buses passed him, buffeting him with air, but he did not flag them. The week’s twenty-dollar unemployment allotment (oldbucks) had been spent. There was no money to buy a token. He supposed the roving packs could sense his poverty. He was not molested.

Highrises, Developments, chain-link fences, parking lots empty except for stripped derelicts, obscenities scrawled on the pavement in soft chalk and now blurring with the rain. Crashed-out windows, rats, wet bags of garbage splashed over the sidewalks and into the gutters. Graffiti written jaggedly on crumbling gray walls: HONKY DON’T LET THE SUN SET ON YOU HEAR. HOME FOLKS BLOW DOKES. YOUR MOMMY ITCHES. SKIN YOUR BANANA. TOMMY’S PUSHING. HITLER WAS COOL. MARY. SID. KILL ALL KIKES. The old G.A. sodium lights put up in the 70s busted with rocks and hunks of paving. No technico was going to replace them down here; they were on the New Credit Dollar. Technicos stay uptown, baby. Uptown’s cool. Everything silent except for the rising-then-descending whoosh of the pneumo buses and the echoing clack of Richards’s footfalls. This battlefield only lights up at night. In the day it is a deserted gray silence which contains no movement but the cats and rats and fat white maggots trundling across the garbage. No smell but the decaying reek of this brave year 2025. The Free-Vee cables are safely buried under the streets and no one but an idiot or a revolutionary would want to vandalize them. Free-Vee is the stuff of dreams, the bread of life. Scag is twelve oldbucks a bag, Frisco Push goes for twenty a tab, but the Free-Vee will freak you for nothing. Farther along, on the other side of the Canal, the dream machine runs twenty-four hours a day . . . but it runs on New Dollars, and only employed people have any. There are four million others, almost all of them unemployed, south of the Canal in Co-Op City.

Richards walked three miles and the occasional liquor stores and smoke shops, at first heavily grilled, became more numerous. Then the X-Houses (!!24 Perversions—Count ’Em 24!!), the Hockeries, the Blood Emporiums. Greasers sitting on cycles at every corner, the gutters buried in snowdrifts of roach ends. Rich Blokes Smoke Dokes.

He could see the skyscrapers rising into the clouds now, high and clean. The highest of all was the Network Games Building, one hundred stories, the top half buried in cloud and smog cover. He fixed his eyes on it and walked another mile. Now the more expensive movie houses, and smoke shops with no grills (but Rent-A-Pigs stood outside, electric move-alongs hanging from their Sam Browne belts). A city cop on every corner. The People’s Fountain Park: Admission 75¢. Well-dressed mothers watching their children as they frolicked on the astroturf behind chain-link fencing. A cop on either side of the gate. A tiny, pathetic glimpse of the fountain.

He crossed the Canal.

As he got closer to the Games Building it grew taller, more and more improbable with its impersonal tiers of rising office windows, its polished stonework. Cops watching him, ready to hustle him along or bust him if he tried to commit loitering. Uptown there was only one function for a man in baggy gray pants and a cheap bowl haircut and sunken eyes. That purpose was the Games.

The qualifying examinations began promptly at noon, and when Ben Richards stepped behind the last man in line, he was almost in the umbra of the Games Building. But the building was still nine blocks and over a mile away. The line stretched before him like an eternal snake. Soon others joined it behind him. The police watched them, hands on either gun butts or move-alongs. They smiled anonymous, contemptuous smiles.

—That one look like a half-wit to you, Frank? Looks like one to me.

—Guy down there ast me if there was a place where he could go to the bathroom. Canya magine it?

—Sons of bitches ain’t—

—Kill their own mothers for a—

—Smelled like he didn’t have a bath for—

—Ain’t nothin like a freak show I always—

Heads down against the rain, they shuffled aimlessly, and after a while the line began to move.

. . . Minus 098

and COUNTING . . .

It was after four when Ben Richards got to the main desk and was routed to Desk 9 (Q-R). The woman sitting at the rumbling plastipunch looked tired and cruel and impersonal. She looked at him and saw no one.

Name, last-first-middle.

Richards, Benjamin Stuart.

Her fingers raced over the keys. Clitter-clitter-clitter went the machine.

Age-height-weight.

Twenty-eight, six-two, one-sixty-five.

Clitter-clitter-clitter

The huge lobby was an echoing, rebounding tomb of sound. Questions being asked and answered. People were being led out weeping. People were being thrown out. Hoarse voices were raised in protest. A scream or two. Questions. Always questions.

Last school attended?

Manual Trades.

Did you graduate?

No.

How many years, and at what age did you leave?

Two years. Sixteen years old.

Reasons for leaving?

I got married.

Clitter-clitter-clitter

Name and age of spouse if any.

Sheila Catherine Richards, twenty-six.

Names and ages of children, if any.

Catherine Sarah Richards, eighteen months.

Clitter-clitter-clitter

Last question, mister. Don’t bother lying; they’ll pick it up during the physical and disqualify you there. Have you ever used heroin or the synthetic-amphetamine hallucinogen called San Francisco Push?

No.

Clitter.

A plastic card popped out and she handed it to him. Don’t lose this, big fella. If you do, you have to start back at go next week. She was looking at him now, seeing his face, the angry eyes, lanky body. Not bad looking. At least some intelligence. Good stats.

She took his card back abruptly and punched off the upper right-hand corner, giving it an odd milled appearance.

What was that for?

Never mind. Somebody will tell you later. Maybe. She pointed over his shoulder at a long hall which led toward a bank of elevators. Dozens of men fresh from the desks were being stopped, showing their plastic I.D.s and moving on. As Richards watched, a trembling, sallow-faced Push freak was stopped by a cop and shown the door. The freak began to cry. But he went.

Tough old world, big fella, the woman behind the desk said without sympathy. Move along.

Richards moved along. Behind him, the litany was already beginning again.

. . . Minus 097

and COUNTING . . .

A hard, callused hand slapped his shoulder at the head of the hall beyond the desks. Card, buddy.

Richards showed it. The cop relaxed, his face subtle and Chinese with disappointment.

You like turning them back, don’t you? Richards asked. It really gives you a charge, doesn’t it?

You want to go downtown, maggot?

Richards walked past him, and the cop made no move.

He stopped halfway to the bank of elevators and looked back. Hey. Cop.

The cop looked at him truculently.

Got a family? It could be you next week.

Move on! the cop shouted furiously.

With a smile, Richards moved on.

There was a line of perhaps twenty applicants waiting at the elevators. Richards showed one of the cops on duty his card and the cop looked at him closely. You a hardass, sonny?

Just about as smart as you talk without that gun on your leg and your pants down around your ankles, Richards said, still smiling. Want to try it?

For a moment he thought the cop was going to swing at him. They’ll fix you, the cop said. You’ll do some walking on your knees before you’re done.

The cop swaggered over to three new arrivals and demanded to see their cards.

The man ahead of Richards turned around. He had a nervous, unhappy face and curly hair that came down in a widow’s peak. Say, you don’t want to antagonize them, fella. They’ve got a grapevine.

Is that so? Richards asked, looking at him mildly.

The man turned away.

Abruptly the elevator doors snapped open. A black cop with a huge gut stood protecting the bank of push buttons. Another cop sat on a small stool reading a 3-D Pervert Mag in a small bulletproof cubicle the size of a telephone booth at the rear of the large car. A sawed-off shotgun rested between his knees. Shells were lined up beside him within easy reach.

Step to the rear! the fat cop cried with bored importance. Step to the rear! Step to the rear!

They crowded in to a depth where a deep breath was impossible. Sad flesh walled Richards on every side. They went up to the second floor. The doors snapped open. Richards, who stood a head taller than anyone else in the car, saw a huge waiting room with many chairs dominated by a huge Free-Vee. A cigarette dispenser stood in one corner.

Step out! Step out! Show I.D. cards to your left!

They stepped out, holding out their I.D. cards to the impersonal lens of a camera. Three cops stood close by. For some reason, a buzzer went off at the sight of some dozen cards, and the holders were jerked out of line and hustled away.

Richards showed his card and was waved on. He went to the cigarette machine, got a package of Blams and sat down as far from the Free-Vee as possible. He lit up a smoke and exhaled, coughing. He hadn’t had a cigarette in almost six months.

. . . Minus 096

and COUNTING . . .

They called the A’s for the physical almost immediately, and about two dozen men got up and filed through a door beyond the Free-Vee. A large sign tacked over the door read THIS WAY. There was an arrow below the legend, pointing at the door. The literacy of Games applicants was notoriously low.

They were taking a new letter every fifteen minutes or so. Ben Richards had sat down at about five, and so he estimated it would be quarter of nine before they got to him. He wished he had brought a book, but he supposed things were just as well as they were. Books were regarded with suspicion at best, especially when carried by someone from south of the Canal. Pervert Mags were safer.

He watched the six o’clock newsie restlessly (the fighting in Ecuador was worse, new cannibal riots had broken out in India, the Detroit Tigers had taken the Harding Catamounts by a score of 6–2 in an afternoon game), and when the first of the evening’s big-money games came on at six-thirty, he went restlessly to the window and looked out. Now that his mind was made up, the Games bored him again. Most of the others, however, were watching Fun Guns with a dreadful fascination. Next week it might be them.

Outside, daylight was bleeding slowly toward dusk. The els were slamming at high speed through the power rings above the second-floor window, their powerful headlights searching the gray air. On the sidewalks below, crowds of men and women (most of them, of course, technicos or Network bureaucrats) were beginning their evening’s prowl in search of entertainment. A Certified Pusher was hawking his wares on the corner across the street. A man with a sabled dolly on each arm passed below him; the trio was laughing about something.

He had a sudden awful wave of homesickness for Sheila and Cathy, and wished he could call them. He didn’t think it was allowed. He could still walk out, of course; several men already had. They walked across the room, grinning obscurely at nothing, to use the door marked TO STREET. Back to the flat with his daughter glowing fever-bright in the other room? No. Couldn’t. Couldn’t.

He stood at the window a little while longer, then went back and sat down. The new game, Dig Your Grave, was beginning.

The fellow sitting next to Richards twitched his arm anxiously. Is it true that they wash out over thirty percent just on the physicals?

I don’t know, Richards said.

Jesus, the fellow said. "I got bronchitis. Maybe Treadmill to Bucks . . ."

Richards could think of nothing to say. The pal’s respiration sounded like a faraway truck trying to climb a steep hill.

I got a fambly, the man said with soft desperation.

Richards looked at the Free-Vee as if it interested him.

The fellow was quiet for a long time. When the program changed again at seven-thirty, Richards heard him asking the man on his other side about the physical.

It was full dark outside now. Richards wondered if it was still raining. It seemed

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  • (4/5)
    The Running Man is Stephen King's other, and in my opinion, better of his dystopian game-show books he wrote under the Richard Bachman name (the other being The Long Walk). This is my second go around for this book and I'll just say what I say anytime the book is mentioned: it has almost nothing to do with the cheesy 80s Arnold Schwarzenegger film; King's book is decidedly more enjoyable. I shamefully like the movie, too, but for nostalgia's sake.
  • (3/5)
    Pretty pissed that Stephen King gave away the ending in the Preface (why the !@#$ would you do that)!

    Knowing the ending ruined a lot of the book. Nice world building but I would have liked to know more about how it got that way.
    Good characters but not great (which is usually King's strong point).

    After a while it just seemed like more of the same....yes he's still running and this situation seems like a lot more of the same situation from last chapter and the chapter before that.

    Much better than the movie (although I loved Richard Dawson in the movie) but not up to Stephen King's usual level of quality.
  • (4/5)
    Like The Long Walk, this is another novel which Stephen King initially wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. It was one of his early books which I quite wanted to read because it’s very different to King’s traditional horror fare, being more of a science fiction thriller. It’s probably more famous for the Arnold Schwarzenegger film adaptation, which is only loosely based on the book, and which neatly slots into the so-bad-it’s-good category. (It’s probably also the most Eighties film ever made, even more than Back to the Future).The Running Man takes place in then-distant 2025, when America has become a polluted dystopian wasteland where the rich rule over the poor and the masses are kept entertained by nightly gladiatorial game shows in which contestants compete for their lives. Ben Richards is a poverty-stricken 28-year-old father whose baby daughter is dying of pneumonia, who makes the difficult decision to enter the deadliest game show of all: The Running Man, in which the contestant must survive as long as possible while being hunted across America by a team of killers.A down-and-out protagonist struggling to feed his family is a running theme in much of King’s early fiction, reflecting his own circumstances for much of his early life – married young, kids to feed, living in a trailer, working dead-end jobs. There’s an undercurrent of anger in The Running Man, as Richards rails against the injustice of the gap between rich and poor, and as the novel heats up towards the end there’s the sense of a brewing class war. The dystopian future America of The Running Man is obviously an exaggerated vision (whether one looks at it from 1982 or 2013) but there’s no doubt it was born from very real thoughts and observations King made about his own situation as a young man in the 1970s. (Although it’s very… American of King never to lay the blame on capitalism itself. For a foreign writer – or perhaps even a modern American writer – that would be considered an indisputable fact.)My enjoyment of The Running Man was limited by the fact that I was spoilered on the ending, which probably would have been a really great one if I hadn’t known it was coming. I was spoilered not by my own curiosity, not by Wikipedia or another book review, but by Stephen King’s own introduction to The Long Walk. (The same introduction precedes this edition of The Running Man, which was part of a series printed by Signet in the late 1990s; I imagine it also precedes the other two Bachman books, Rage and Roadwork – if Rage was reprinted at all, which, come to think of it, I don’t believe it was, on King’s request). Spoilers are irritating at the best of times, but when the author himself spoils you it’s beyond stupid – particularly when he does so in a completely different book! The idea for reprint introductions in general, I suppose, stems from the days when it was a 19th century classic that was being reprinted, and it was assumed everyone had already read it and would appreciate 20 pages of some literary analysis at the beginning. Putting that questionable notion aside, it’s completely ridiculous to carry the custom on into the modern age, when many of us are picking up books that we’ve never read, for the first time, in a reprint edition. And even then, why not put it at the end, after the book is fresh in our minds, and we’re thinking about it, and might appreciate somebody else’s perspective?Just, sorry, again: Stephen King wrote an introduction for his book in which he tells you the ending. And then put it at the beginning of other books as well.Anyway. Aside from this fuckwittery, did I enjoy The Running Man? Yes, but not as much as I was expecting to, even knowing I’d been spoilered. The Long Walk is by far the superior Bachman book – though it’s also, in my opinion, one of the best things King ever wrote. The Running Man, in comparison to The Long Walk’s chilling simplicity, takes place in a much more complex world, and makes much more of its science fiction and dystopian aspects – not always skilfully. Richards’ rage and contempt are thinly veiled facades for King’s own, and the injustices of this future America are often awkwardly shoehorned into the plot. I’m thinking specifically of his pillow talk conversation about air pollution records, including specific years and legislative acts, with his black street hoodlum saviour – and let’s not even get into King’s phonetic dialogue for black characters.Worth reading, but not the best of the Bachman books – and for the love of God, don’t read the introduction.
  • (4/5)
    Wow. VERY different from the movie, but very good in its own ways. The ending was wonderful, though a bit too predictable.
  • (4/5)
    It's the year 2025 and Ben Richards, resident of the dystopian Co-Op City, is out of work, his daughter is dying of pneumonia, and his wife is prostituting herself to feed their family. The only thing left for him to do is run. He auditions for Games Network, a government-run reality television station, that run compulsory program on all of the city's televisions 24 hours a day. He is selected to be a contestant on the Network's most popular TV show The Running Man. On the Running Man contestants are branded enemies of the state, released into society, and win 100 New Dollars for their beneficiaries for each hour that they are able to evade capture and execution by the show's hired "Hunters."Let me stop right here and preface my review of this book by saying that I am a HUGE fan of King. He can weave stories so convincing that I am able to suspend disbelief for literally anything that he is able to come up with. Seriously. The man could write about homicidal bananas, and I would be completely on board (and most likely terrified of bananas for the rest of my life).With that said, on to my review . . .I really enjoyed the running man. Like King's other "Bachman Books" The Running Man is grittier than a lot of his other work, and that's one of my favorite things about King writing as Bachman, he really makes you feel the desperation of the situation. Ben Richards is a great character. Initially I found him annoying, but as the book progressed his snarkiness really grew on me. The cast of supporting characters is excellent as well. Bradley, one of the people who helps Ben in New York is one of my most favorite King characters ever, and "Chief Hunter" McCone is so appropriately sleazy that he made my skin crawl. The story moved very quickly. There were a lot of well written action sequences and completely unexpected plot twists. It held my attention so well that I was able to finish it in a single sitting. My only real gripe was the ending, which is the case with quite a few King books. To me it felt a bit rushed, but maybe that's because I was hoping for a different outcome. Overall I'd recommend The Running Man to any King fans or fans of dystopian literature; and with the popularity of more recent works like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale it's really worth a look for fans of those series as well.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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!
  • (4/5)
    If you're looking for the movie, don't look here. A strong book and a great read, but no place for Ah-nuld in this one.
  • (4/5)
    This is another bleak one -- does that characterise all of the books Stephen King wrote as Richard Bachman? It's kind of similar to The Long Walk, in that it's a future America and a brutal form of entertainment involving death. It's easier to read than The Long Walk -- a bit more dynamic, I guess.

    The trouble I had with it was predictability, in the main. You know that he's going to escape this time, 'cause there's however many pages left. It's also difficult to sympathise with the main character, despite the wife-and-child excuse, because he's not that likeable. We don't learn that much about him other than that he's slightly antisocial (by the standards of his society), that he doesn't quite fit. Well, no shit, Sherlock. He's the main character of the novel. There's got to be something special about him or he wouldn't be the main character.

    Characterisation is light throughout, really. Some of the little glimpses we get of characters -- Amelia, Bradley, Killian -- are good, they sound like interesting people, but you don't get inside their skins, not very deep.

    I did enjoy the ending -- it isn't a happy ending, at all, but it's a satisfying one, I think, because there's revenge and perhaps the possibility of change. The book as a whole is easy to read, both because the writing is functional and goes down easy, and because it all has a kind of energy to it. There's very little 'dead writing' where nothing is going on. It's an angry novel, though: dark and angry.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    A very successful, but unlikey King novel. Characters are developed quickly. The pace is fast and furious. Nothing is supernatural or overtly frightening, but, oh man, is this a sinister place set sometime in the future. The Running Man is a nationally televised gameshow featuring ordinary US citizens, who through their own personal circumstances, volunteer to be chased by professionally trained headhunters with the goal that the citizen contestants will be executed for pure entertainment value. It is possible to for a person to win by outmaneuvering the executioners, but in reality, nobody has ever survived for more than 8 days. Despite knowing the odds and probable outcome, Ben Richards enters the game, with the hope that he might last long enough to earn enough game money to provide medical treatment for his daughter, gravely ill with pneumonia. Or perhaps from pollution created by the capitalistic, greedy country that has evolved. However, Richards proves to be the ultimate player and his experience is cliffhanger. I could not put this story down.My secret favorite character is McCone, the premiere headhunter, who King describes at one point his snarling at Richards as "a completely unconscious gesture, one that could probably be traced all the way to McCone's ancestors, the Neanderthals who crept up behind their enemies with large rocks rather than battling to death in an honorable, but unintelligent manner."
  • (4/5)
    Good dystopian thriller that keeps you reading right till the end. I just read 'The Long Walk' so I thought that this might be a good book to read next by Stephen King. I browsed the shops, Goodreads and amazon half expecting to come across 'The Jogging Men' and was relieved as well as a bit disappointed to know that there isn't any.

    Well of course, the protagonist here does not participate in a running contest but instead is running and hiding from the hunters and the privileged population of the USA alike. Yup, that is the game. He has a 12 hours head start and then he receives 100 dollars an hour of his survival time. There are perks when he kills policemen and there are prizes for the people to inform on his whereabouts. So all in all, a pretty gloomy picture.

    And the end reminded me of a real major event that shook the world to its core for all the wrong reasons at the turn of this century.
  • (4/5)
    The novel, The Running Man, by Stephan King, encompasses the theme of the don't make dumb decisions. In the beginning, Ben Richards, the protaginist, struggles with needing money to support himself and others so he joins a game that can nearly take his life but the outcome of one billion new dollars if he stays alive. Throughout the middle he perserveres through nearly losing his life by a shot gun blast and being knifed by the other participating in the 30 day hunting game. (102/276)
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    I'm actually surprised at how good this one is. I'm actually surprised that so many of his books are actually from the 1970's and 1980's... he has been writing a while! 'The Running Man' is a cross between George Orwell's '1984' with reality television, H.G. Well's 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' without the animals, and a bit of everything from Philip K. Dick. I was happy to see references to 1984 and Wells in this, long after I noticed the comparisons. The book is written in 1982 and takes place in 2025. Sadly, I found that King couldn't really see anything that would be happening in 2013, let alone 2025 (cell phones?). There are air-cars though! But they only hover off the road (begging the question - what is the point and why aren't they called hover cars?) The main character here is poor man with a sick daughter and his only way to find his family money is to enter a TV game show to the death. He is on the run from The Hunters, can run anywhere on the planet and he gets money each day he survives. It is very captivating, as most Stephen King books usually are. There are some passages that reminded me that King isn't just good at plot.
  • (4/5)
    As far as chase books go, this one is the greatest.
  • (4/5)
    An entertaining, quick read. It differs quite a bit from the movie. This book was originally written by King under the pseudonym, Richard Bachman.
  • (5/5)
    Simply one of the best dystopian stories from Stephen King or any other writer. Dont judge it by the movie.
  • (3/5)
    Ben Richards needs money in a bad way. He has nothing to lose, but a lot to live for. His desperation drives him to sign up for The Running Man, free-vee’s hottest game show. If he can survive being hunted for thirty days, he will win the grand prize of one billion New Dollars. So far the record is eight days.The Running Man is about as stripped down a book as Stephen King is likely to write. In the introduction he mentions it was written within a week and published with very few changes. A very straight ahead thriller that churns right along with barely a pause for breath.The book is fast paced and fun with a wallop of an ending, but the social commentary is a little heavy handed. A fun book and the most simply entertaining of the Bachman books in this collection, but it is far from being top-tier King. The Running Man is a goof (though not as fun as it should have been).
  • (3/5)
    Completely different from the film, the book takes the game across the country and puts Ben Richards, who looks nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a battle for survival amongst the public.
  • (3/5)
    An enjoyable book with an engaging plot which kept me turning the pages wanting to find out what happens. I’d seen the film many years ago but this was so vastly different from the books that it didn’t spoil the story for me at all. The only similarities seemed to be that there was a game show and it was on TV.I enjoyed the elements of humour thrown into the story here and there, such as Richards giving the middle finger to the organiser of the games shortly before crashing the plane into the building. I felt that the ending was a fitting one to the story and although you could predict that Richards would go after the games organisers, it wasn’t clear how he would go about this which kept me wondering.One strange element to the story though was the sudden gory nature of the final scenes, having been shot at and wounded and had his ankle broken Richards intestines fell out right near the end. This was a strange feature of the ending, and seemed a little out of keeping with the rest of the story. It was described in great detail as he dragged his guts around and they got caught around various objects. This was only a small section of the story, but it really felt that it was something that the author had become fixated upon and that wasn’t necessary.I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others. But at the end of it all it definitely felt a bit like pulp fiction. There was an idea behind it all, about an elite suppressing the rest of society, and people choosing to be ignorant of this etc, but this wasn’t fully explored.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    The year is 2025. The poor and downtrodden are relegated to a mean ghetto, where they have little hope and virtually no opportunity. But though he’s been unemployed for a couple of years, Ben Richards is determined to get some money to help his wife and sick child. He decides to apply for one of the game shows that are constantly shown on Free Vee. For every hour he outruns the Hunters he earns one hundred New Dollars. If he can keep running for 30 days, he wins and earns a cool one billion. The odds are against him; the shows thrive on maiming, or even killing, the contestants. But this is his only chance.I am a fan of Stephen King, and have read at least one other book written under his pseudonym of Richard Bachman. This is completely different from any of his works I’ve read before. The pace is frantic and unrelenting; I felt as sleep deprived as the main character. I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), George Orwell (1984) and Alduous Huxley (Brave New World).
  • (4/5)
    I listened to the audiobook version of this book. It was exciting and very different from the movie. At least I think so. It's been a long time since I saw the movie, but it seemed like the movie was completely different. I took a star off because I didn't really like the ending. I tend to have trouble with Stephen King's endings so that's not very surprising. Overall though I did enjoy this story.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (1/5)
    The link for the audiobook version takes me to Running Man: A Memoir by Charlie Engle, just an FYI (I didn’t know where else to put this)
  • (5/5)
    A great and surprisingly fast paced read. The book in some ways is better than the movie. I almost want to see the original version in a new movie. I liked the political aspect and with Trump being president, it's not such a far fetched future dystopia. A must read for Stephen King fans or Schwarzenegger fans, :)
  • (2/5)
    ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... amphetamines don't write good novels