Review: The Running Man - Stephen King

Title - The Running Man
Author - Stephen King (writing Richard Bachman)
Year - 1982
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone
Pages - 317
Reading Time - 3 days (October 2010)
Rating - 7/10

Twenty-five years in the future, the world has fallen into chaos. Darkness and paranoia rule the day. In this bleak landscape, Ben Richards is about to go through hell and back for the only thing left he cares about--his family. As a last effort so save his sick daughter, he applies to become a contestant on a deadly game show where you don't survive. The only problem is, where do you hide when the entire world is looking for you?

I always tried to read Stephen King after all he is considered to be the master of horror. I do not think he is but nevertheless I had to tried. This is the third tried. The fist was The Eyes of the Dragon and the second was Cell. They both were worthy of reading but not that spectacular. I tried to read It but I couldn't. I am now trying to read one story every few days in the anthology The Skeleton Crew.

Now this novel... This novel has some good premises. It is divided in one hundred and one chapters. Each one is at most two or three pages with few exceptions.There is also a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards. Never see in it but I will eventually. Now for the plot... Ben Richards is a poor guy with a lovingly wife and needs money to buy some medicine to his daughter so he enlists to participate in some violent games. He goes to a building where he do some tests and is chosen to participate in the most violent and most viewed game ever called the Running Man. The show is simple. He is now a runaway enemy of the state and each hour he is running his family receives 100 dollars (Which is a lot). In the event of surviving 30 days he can gain one bilion dollars. Suffice to say that no one has ever survived the game because their are some man , bounty hunters called hunters led by McCone.  The only rule is that he must sent two tapes per day with messages.

As he runs he meets some people and at the same time we are presented with the world they live in. This novel is set on not so far future (2025) where America is a Totalitarian Dystopia and life is hard. The rich live well and the poor die or live to play the games to earn some money. The air around the cities is polluted to a bigger extent that most people have respiratory condicions.

Of course the game is fixed and he is seen as a bloody almost animal person (at the same time we know that this is the way the upper classes see lowborn classes). As he runs he capture Amelia Williams (a upper class) and makes her a hostages. As he go to a airport he threatens that he is carrying explosives. The lead hunter then is sent to the plane as a second hostage.

As he travels near cities to avoid being blow apart by misseles Killian tells him by a call that he knows that he's got no explosives and he offers him the lead hunter job. He thinks about it but is reluctant because of his wife and daughter becoming targets and at that time Killian tells him that his family is already dead, even before the first time he is shown on air, of course Killian tells him that him and the network had nothing to do with it. Killian then tells him to think about it. As Richards dreams he has a bad nightmare about the killing of his family and as he wokes up he tells Killian that he accepts the offer. After saying that he kills McCone and the rest of the crew and helps Amelia go off the plane with a parachute. After disabling the auto-pilot he makes the plane collide with the Games Building home of the Network.

This book was quite good I must say. I enjoy the characters and the setting. It reminds me of some older movies I've seen (maybe even the running man movie). There are some movies out there with future games full of violence. I know man is beast and we enjoy (at an extent) to see horrible news. We are capable when in a crownd to go berserk... look at the football games, or manifestations. Probably most people wouldn't do that kind of violence if alone but in a "pack" we are wolves in sheep clothes... I wonder where we are going as a society.

I have no major complains about the novel. I think Ben Richards had probably gone to better places to escape The Network and the hunters and that trouble me. Well I will read as I said Skeleton Crew (featuring the novella which was converted to the film The Mist)
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