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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must for serious Stephen King fans
The true identify of Richard Bachman did not get out until the publication of Thinner, Bachman's fifth book. These first four Bachman novels were the sorts of books you might find in a grocery store or - more likely - never have come across at all because they weren't really marketed at all - at Stephen King's request. Naturally, they didn't sell all that well - not...
Published on 4 Oct 2005 by Daniel Jolley

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Naughty
The paperback version has 4 books. Where has rage gone in the kindle version?

King as Bachman aims for a different audience, the writing is darker, with less of the escapism found in his own novels available because you know it's just horror or fantasy. Bachman skirts much more closely to the properly scary world we actually inhabit.
Published 17 months ago by MR A WYLIE


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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must for serious Stephen King fans, 4 Oct 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
The true identify of Richard Bachman did not get out until the publication of Thinner, Bachman's fifth book. These first four Bachman novels were the sorts of books you might find in a grocery store or - more likely - never have come across at all because they weren't really marketed at all - at Stephen King's request. Naturally, they didn't sell all that well - not until the true author was revealed, of course. These represent an interesting cross-section of King's writing life. Rage and The Long Walk are truly early King novels, Roadwork emerged in between the novels 'Salem's Lot and The Shining, and The Running Man was published in 1982, the product of a mere seventy-two hours of writing. They are quite different novels, yet they all share a common theme - a man displaced by society and doing what he can to combat the forces closing in around him.
This collection is about the only place you can find the novel Rage these days. After the Columbine tragedy, Stephen King basically had all copies of Rage pulled from the shelves. The novel features a high school student who wigs out, shoots two teachers, and holds his class hostage for several hours. The real heart of the story is the way the students react to their captor during their ordeal; they go way beyond merely sympathizing with him. King really breaks down the emotional walls of these characters, mining some of the real issues that teenagers have to deal with in their lives. To me, this novel is raw but instructive, surreal yet amazingly open and honest, and well worth reading.
If you ask me, The Long Walk (written while King was a college freshman) may well be the most fascinating novel King has ever written. It's a disarmingly simple tale centered on a seemingly mundane activity, yet in King's masterful hands The Long Walk burrows into the core of a number of characters, lays down miles of metaphors about the human condition, and absolutely mesmerizes you with its emotional force and power. The contestants (all but one of whom will die - and they know it) do a lot of talking while they're walking; most of them dance around the "why" issue, but we see clues to some of the reasons as each lad draws closer and closer to death. Cockiness turns to anger, fear, shock, and just about every other kind of dark emotion you can imagine. The boys are stripped bare in both body and mind as the Walk goes on and on. Through his characters, King is basically asking the reader how he/she will face death when it comes. Will you freeze up early on? How long will you fight to stay alive after you've pushed your body far beyond the breaking point? Will you lie down and accept your fate, or will you lose control and lash out at your perceived enemies? I could read this novel over and over again without ever growing tired of it. It's just endlessly fascinating and illuminating.
Roadwork represented an attempt on King's part to go straight, to prove he could write a mainstream novel. In its essence, Roadwork is the story of a man pushed beyond his means of coping with change. We the readers basically watch Bart Dawes go insane as the days pass. We watch him lie to his wife and to himself, drink himself into nightly stupors, procure destructive objects from dangerous men, and plot revenge on those who have taken away the few things in life he could cling to. At the center of his problem is his son Charlie, who died of a brain tumor three years earlier; George can't understand why his son had to die, and he can't bear the thought of his home, Charlie's home, being destroyed. Even as we watch Dawes do some terrible things, we can't help but sympathize with a man so beaten down by the cruel vagaries of life. King has said that Roadwork was in some ways a product of the death of his mother. The book served as a vehicle to let him work through his own emotional issues over his loss. Why does a loved one have to die? That question permeates this novel. It's a very personal story, but it is one almost any adult reader can relate to very well. It's a surprisingly impressive exploration of emotional disintegration.
With The Running Man, we have a complete novel that was written in only three days - and was published with almost no changes. Obviously, The Running Man is not your typical Stephen King novel. Action is the gas pedal, and King floored it from page one until the very end. Surprisingly, though, there is some pretty decent characterization of the main player - and a heavy undertone of social commentary worked into the book.
The setting is a future America in which society has totally fractured, leaving those on the wrong side of the tracks doomed to a life of misery. Ben Richards personifies that social inequity. Unable to provide for his wife and sick little girl, there is only one way out for him - the Network Games. No show satisfies the bloodlust of the public like The Running Man, and a man of Richards' temperament is just the kind of player the show is looking for. Richards proves himself a worthy contestant indeed - the Game in fact, will never be the same. To me, this novel is like a weak film adaptation of a King novel - stripped of all the nuances that make King such a special writer. That's not to way this isn't an exciting novel because it is - that's about all it is, though.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Edition, NO Rage., 21 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
There have been lots of great reviews for this collection so I'm just adding that the new edition here does not contain Rage. From what I can understand, the red cover NEL edition from around 1987 included Rage and the three titles here...The Long Walk, The Running Man and Roadwork. So, to clear things up for people, this edition has three stories in it. From what I can gather, Rage has subject material concerning schools and killings so that could be a reason it isn't seen a lot nowadays. But, i only make that as an observation. Thanks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as I remembered, 30 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Kindle Edition)
I read these books the 'old-fashioned' way many years ago. I recently purchased them on the kindle and they were as good as I remembered. I bought them mainly for The Long Walk - a really good story set in the future. They're different from King's usual work (which is why he wrote them under a pseudonym) in that there is nothing supernatural included. Well, anyway, I would read them if I were you!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The genius of King, 12 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
Four excellent stories from the master and when you take into account that these were written when he was a young man then you can't help but marvel at his genius.
My personal favourite is 'The Long Walk'. I've read this several times over the last few years and it still gets to me! And no, I have no problem with the ending, I thought it perfect when I first read it and I still do.
On a final note I find it eerie that many of the horrors that King dreamed up for these stories many years ago have found their way into our news bulletins in recent years; From high school student shootings to planes being flown into buildings. Lets hope for no more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars adapt "the long walk" as a film someone, please., 1 Jun 2010
By 
N.Evans (South Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
I've read three of the stories, "Rage" "The Long Walk" and "The Running man" and thought they were excellent. They're remarkable when you consider King wrote "the Running man" (hugely entertaining sci -fi thriller which is far superior to the film) in just 72 hours and was pretty much a kid when he originally wrote the "the Long walk" which features a stunning premise and is an exciting, poignant and very satisfying read.
I urge all Stephen King detractors to buy this book, the man is a great writer and its a shame that he's tagged with the misleading Horror writer label, which I think does him a great disservice, he's so much more than a James Herbert or a Richard Laymon. If you want thought provoking, character driven, unflinching, very readable tales then start with this.
Can't wait to read "Roadwork" now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best KING's short stories collection i have read!!!!!!!!!!!!, 21 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. A. J. Crook (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
every single story here are briliantly written and paced. they differ from one another and that is why King for me will always be unbeatable!
RAGE: A great insight in teenagers minds and how they cope with tragic situation like being held hostage by a classmate. This was way before the Columbine tragedy and that alone makes you think...

THE RUNNING MAN: Way better than the film with Schwarzeneger and surprisingly a tight thriller/chase that i never knew King could tackle so well. The setting is in cities and not some dark studio like in the movie,therefore making the chase amongst civilians way more relentless and surprising. Wonderful.

ROADWORK: I really loved the main character and his foreseeable downfall from the start had me gripped. I couldn't help cheering for him despite knowing that the guy was unhinged. This story has no element of horror and is a human nature exploration, like Dolores Claiborne's tale was. Loved it.

Finally THE LONG WALK: King's imagination again strikes gold. 100 contestants musn't stop walking for an inhumane amount of miles that even by the stretch of my own imagination i could never consider doing. Like The Running Man, King might just be the first one to have predicted the future of what TV reality will one day sadly become. Sadistic, inhumane and yet unavoidable. The contestants each had a story and I cried at the end, King has that gift of finding my sympathy with a lot of his characters.
The best 4 short novels compiled, simply unmissable.
florence, london, 30
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth 5 crowns just for The Long Walk, 17 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
This compilation of novellas contains my favourite Stephen King Work of all time-The Long Walk which is brilliant. It is not a horror story and deals with self discovery in a way similar to The Body. The other stories-Rage, Roadwork and The Running Man are all great and people who've watched the film the running man are in for a surprise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King does George Orwell, 2 April 2012
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bachman Books (Kindle Edition)
"The Long Walk" - in a not too distant dystopian future, "The Walk" is the new American national sport. 100 walkers, all aged 16 years old. A long road and one simple rule - "Don't Stop".

"Roadwork" - the city council wants to build a road through Barton Dawes' home and business. Needless to say, Barton isn't too pleased about that. Neither is George. Nor is Freddie...

"The Running Man" is >the< big game show in an Orwellian future. The prize for winning is immense. But just don't expect to win.

Three novellas, written by King early in his career and published under his pseud "Richard Bachman". They are certainly very different in >content< and style than most of King's other works, although it's equally obvious that it's King writing. All three are rather unpleasant, apocalyptic stories in their way, lacking many of the softening characteristics of Kings other published work - darker themes, edgier characters and very much less compromising in their resolutions than most anything else he has written under his own name. They seem to have more in common with his Dark Tower series than his more "mainstream" writing. They retain, however, his trademark verbosity and all three novellas could have been written in half as much space as short stories and still got their messages across.

Written in the early 70's, they haven't aged >terribly< well, mostly in terms of the technological nuances described in the two dysto-future stories, but on the other hand the overarching themes - the TV society, big brother is watching you, the little man against the corporation - remain as relevant now as they were then.

Am interesting insight into King's mind in his early years as a writer, the collection includes a "why I did it" intro regarding his decision to publish under a false name. To be honest it reads rather like post hoc self-justfication and it doesn't convince me.

The stories, however are great and up there with much of his later writing in terms of quality (if rather overlong) and quite deserving of four stars...

If you've seen the rather terrible film (The Running Man) don't be put off. The film and the story on which it was based are very very different, much in the same way that Blade Runner and Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? are different - with the exception that Scott made a pretty decent film out of a so-so (IMHO) novel.

For some reason, this version of the Bachman Books is missing the fourth story "Rage". It was about a young student who takes his classmates hostage and perhaps King felt that the subject matter was a little too contentious. It's a shame because my recollection is that it was the best of the quartet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what a pleasure...., 6 July 2009
By 
A. Melis (Italy) - See all my reviews
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....every couple of years I reread my favourites from SK.. this collection is one of them favourites. It never fails to capture me and make me wonder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of these would be worth it, 1 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bachman Books (Paperback)
Four stories. Four classics. The Long Walk stands out, and has worn well with the passage of time. The Running Man (forget Arnie) is stunning, with overtones of Philip Dick thrown in for measure. Worth every penny.
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The Bachman Books by Stephen King (Paperback - 1 Aug 1987)
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