Richard Bachman (Stephen King) – The Running Man (29/52 books challenge)

              Stephen King  I know that The Hunger Games was written much later than The Running Man, but I hadn’t heard about Stephen King’s novel before TGH. I hadn’t even known there was a movie. Which I haven’t watched, and I don’t plan to.

                So, obviously, THG is my reason for choosing this one.

                Enter the scary vision of future America. It’s the 2025, the unemployment is bigger than ever before, and the cruel & brutal television games are the most popular thing on TV. They are also one of the ways to eliminate the weak, the poor and the possible threads to society. One of them is “The Running Man”, a game where the whole society, the police, and the best hunters, specifically trained, are chasing a person for 30 days. It’s the most popular game, where the government gets rid of unwanted, potentially dangerous individuals. Those that don’t fit into their system.

                It’s the game that nobody ever won.

                Here comes our protagonist, Ben Richards. His little daughter is very ill, and his wife resorts to prostitution to get some money. Ben decides to take part in one of the games, and gets chosen for “The Running Man.”

                This is yet another vision of our future where the totalitarian government. It’s thrilling, full of action, sometimes a little unrealistic, but hell, it’s science-fiction. I think it’s worth to read, if only because it deals with the dangers of reality shows and the lengths we’d go to in order to satisfy the hungry viewer. Also, it bears some resemblance to 1984, with all the manipulation, mind-controlling, and lack of empathy.

                The main character, Ben, is not an ideal man. Sometimes he’s weak, sometimes he’s rude, sometimes he’s cruel. Not thinking about the “greater good,” but only caring about his own business But he’s also brave, loving, willing to sacrifice himself for his loved ones, and he learns a lot during this journey. All this makes him human. All this make him likeable and realistic.

                On the whole, I’d recommend this book especially to those that are interested in subject of dystopias. There are better and worse works on the subject, and while this one is not 1984 or Brave New World, it’s definitely worth trying.


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