Book Review: The Running Man – Richard Bachman (AKA Stephen King)
Title of Book
The Running Man
Richard Bachman (AKA Stephen King)
The story’s protagonist, Ben Richards, is a citizen of Co-Op City in the year 2025. Richards, poor and jobless, needs money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter Cathy, but is unable to find work because he had been blackballed. As a last resort for money, Richards turns to the Games Federation, a government-mandated television station that runs violent game shows. Contestants win money by surviving challenges such as Treadmill to Bucks, where a person with a heart or respiratory condition runs on a treadmill. After rigorous physical and mental testing, Richards is selected for The Running Man, which is the most popular, lucrative, and dangerous of all the games.
The Games Federation explains to Richards that he will be deemed an enemy of the state and then released with a twelve hour head start before an elite group of “Hunters”, Games Network-employed hitmen set out to kill him. The contestant earns $100 per hour he remains alive, an additional $100 for each law enforcement officer or Hunter he kills, and one billion in “New Dollars” (worth more than traditional American dollars) if he should survive for 30 days.
The runner is given $4,800 cash (a two-day advance on his winnings) before he leaves the studio. He can travel anywhere in the world, and each day he must videotape two messages and courier them to the TV show. Without a videotaped message, he loses the prize money but the Hunters will continue their search until he is found, even if he lasts over thirty days. When the runner is caught, he is killed live on TV, if possible.
This story is just awesome.
The first chapter is titled “Minus 100 and Counting…” and carries along until the end. It keeps you in suspense, and you really don’t know what is coming next.
I highly recommend it for an easy to read book, that still keeps you intrigued.