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The Running Man [Paperback]

Richard Bachman , Stephen King
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 1988
Every night the whole nation watched the ultimate live game show on TV, as the contestants tried to beat annihilation at the hands of the hunters in order to win the billion dollar jackpot. And now there was a new contestant, the latest Running Man, staking his life while a nation watched.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 Sep 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450056422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450056420
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 11.1 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Merely by tickling the keys of his word-processor King can make the flesh creep half a world away (The Times)

Stephen King is one of those natural storytellers...getting hooked is easy (Frances Fyfield, Express)

An incredibly gifted writer, whose writing, like Truman Capote's, is so fluid that you often forget that you're reading (Guardian)

Book Description

To coincide with the exciting publication of BLAZE - the book written under Stephen King's Bachman pseudonym just found and to be published for the first time - comes a reissue of THE RUNNING MAN in the new cover style. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced read 15 Aug 2011
By Jackiesmackie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Far superior and not much like the film adaptation. Yes it is a game show and yes the lead character is being hunted but that's where similarities end. The stakes are high, in the future there are few jobs and people living in complete filth and depravation, the games are the only way for a lot to make money. The higher the risk the greater the reward. The ultimate game, The Running Man, promises to give the winner untold riches and good living forever. But the odds are slim to none. You have to stay away from the trackers for 30 days, send tapes in to the studio to prove you are still alive, avoid being recognised and each day an amount of money becomes yours in the end. So the whole world knows your face, the tapes you send in are post marked with the area from which you have sent them and failure to send them results in forfeit and elimination on sight. The lead character Ben Richards has a sick child at home and a wife who has to sleep with strangers for the cash to pay for their daughters treatment, a desperate scenario which makes him ripe for the corporate picking. He makes a few grand escapes and the whole story culminates in a bitter sweet pseudo tragedy which leaves you bemused.

It isn't a long read but certainly an enjoyable one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and fast-paced 15 Sep 2007
By J. H. Bretts VINE VOICE
Written 25 years ago, The Running Man turns out to have been startlingly accurate about the future when it comes to pollution, social division and mass entertainment. It is also an extremely taut story, in which Stephen King not only creates a driving narrative but is able in a few quick strokes able to conjure up some very vivid characters. It has worn well, and while not one of King's most characteristic productions - there are no supernatural elements - it ranks with his best work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King is best as Bachman! 10 April 1999
By A Customer
Forget the Arnie, Hollywood-glitz film, this book is about a man so desparate in his life he goes on the Running Man game show to try to make his fortune. The book sees the game played across the whole of the United States (not in a studio like the film was) with the public and special "hunters" trying to track down the Running Man. The ending is inspirational, the book picks you up and carries you with it like Bachman's The Body available in the Four Seasons collection! ENJOY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BREAD AND CIRCUSES... 6 Mar 2012
Published in 1982 under the pseudonym, Richard Bachman, the author was strangely prescient, as the novel takes place in the year 2025 in the good old United States of America, only it is not so good anymore. With an economy that sharply divides the haves and the have nots, reality television is the only thing that brings these two disparate halves of the economy together.

Twenty something Ben Richards is living with his wife and baby girl in a ramshackle housing development in dire poverty. He is at the end of his rope. His wife is turning tricks to keep them barely alive, and their baby girl is dying from the flu for lack of proper medical care and medication. Theirs is truly miserable existence.

The only entertainment for those such as them is Free-Vee, which delivers non-stop reality television shows in which desperate wretches try to win big monetary payoffs. Desperate for money to be able to help his little girl, Ben auditions for a reality television show and is selected for the ultimate life or death reality show, where the truly desperate are hunted down by a group called the "Hunters", whose only mission is to kill their quarry. The payoff is big, should one succeed in evading death, but no one ever has.

Such is the desperation of Ben Richards that he would even consider signing on for such a show. Unfortunately for him, he soon realizes that there is a reason no one has ever succeeded in evading the "Hunters" and decides that it is time that someone changes the status quo. That someone will be him, as he turns the show on its head.

The book is definitely bleak in its outlook and pretty depressing. There is virtually no character development of anyone other than the protagonist, and even there that is somewhat limited.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Just... Wow! 26 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Stephen King said he wrote this little beauty within a weekend and, to me, it did stand out slightly as the story rolled from one scene to another quite quickly, some of the descriptions were too tedious to understand at one glance and it was quite a short read, which I wasn't expecting, but all that being said, this book is one of the best I have ever read.

Ben Richards is a twenty-something, out of work nobody who lives in a rundown apartment in a rundown part of the city with his wife and desperately ill baby daughter, who they cannot afford medicine for unless the wife prostitutes herself. The world Ben lives in is dominated by the fat-cat who run the free-TV stations that the population has nothing else to do but watch and the only thing that is ever on are reality and game shows. People can earn big bucks signing themselves up for one of these shows, which mostly result in the participant's death, and after a bad night listening to his daughter crying out in pain, Ben decides to follow suit in order to pay a real doctor to treat her. After a short selection process to see which show Ben would be most suited for, he is chosen to become a contestant in the biggest game show there is, The Running Man. Ben has to either get as far away from the city as he can or find a place secure enough to hide in because, in 24hrs, a team of specially trained Hunters will be coming after him and if they catch him, he will be killed live on air for the nation's entertainment.

The Running Man is a gritty tale of greed, love, survival and sacrifice, and it has a very real feeling to it, so real in fact that I couldn't get the idea of this fictional world becoming a reality some day in the not too distant future out of my mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
A really great book, very different to the film but no worse for it! A lot more real and gritty.
Published 8 months ago by Phil Dickinson
4.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic story
I found that this story stared at a brisk paste and then accelerated. I just could put it down & only wish that it was a bigger book
Published 9 months ago by W. M. Butlin
5.0 out of 5 stars The countdown
This book was excellent, it's the second Steven king novel I read and I love it, the fact that's it's a thriller make s it so intense and difficult to put down. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Pumpkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Running man
One of his very best short stories, could have been made into a stunning film if Schwarzenegger hadn't been involved!
Published 15 months ago by Mr. S. T. Perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The Running Man was a fast-paced, exciting book with plenty of twists and a very likeable main character. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Josh Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Running man
Good read kept me going thru the train journey s king is great but dot like them all but this is a good brief read
Published 18 months ago by DAVID WILSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read ! holds you til the end
Great read that surprisingly feels like a short book even with 241 pages !... I think its just because the story and skill with its writing that means you finish it quicker. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Clipper 314
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great Book, movie was good, if you like arnie, but this is is much much better, only similarity is ben richards name and the running man name.
Published 19 months ago by Ray Garraty
4.0 out of 5 stars First time
The book was purchased as I had seen the film and was interested as to how the book would compare, no comparison the book was ten times better, forget the film read the book
Published 20 months ago by Gordy
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I decided to read this book after a taxi driver recommended it on the way to watch Total Recall. Before this I hadn't read any Steven King books so didn't know what to expect. Read more
Published 20 months ago by D SHEFFIELD
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