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on 14 April 2003
Originally published as one of the "Bachman Books" The long walk centres around a young man named Ray Garraty who decides to enter a competition called the Long Walk, whereby one hundred competitors literarally walk until they drop, with anyone who drops below four miles per hour being brutally dispatched by a group of heartless soldiers until only one is left. Why compete? Because of the ultimate prize - anything he desires. The book charts his mental decline as he walks hundreds of miles, gradually becoming attatched to some of his fellow walkers, all the while knowing that if he lives, they cannot. Similar in theme to "the Running Man", another book originally released in this compendium, this is King (or Bachman) at his best, with the tale mixing "Stand By Me" style themes of friendship amongst adversity with scenes of total horror. The only question is: how did King think he would continue to write under a psuedonym when these tales of the macabre could so clearly only ever have came from one man?
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on 23 March 1999
Before Bachman's untimely death of "cancer of the seudonym", Stephen King wrote some of his most original work. "The Long Walk" is an example. It is like the spitting image of "The Body", since both deal with the same subject: the loss of innoncence. But where "The Body" is an elegy to long gone friends, "The Long Walk" is an scary tale of the erosion of childhood dreams.
The premise is simple: 100 teenagers will walk, non-stop, until they drop one by one and are terminated, and the last one standing will be granted whatever his heart fancies. Around it King spools a gothic yarn of classic treatment. The kids that take the Walk go in expecting to fight only physical exhaustion. Slowly, they find out their enemy is a different one: MADNESS.
Anybody wishing to take a walk on the dark side, come along. They are about to start...
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on 1 August 2007
The Long Walk is simply exhausting to read. I found myself keep drifting in and out of sleep, needing to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. But most of all, my feet ached a little more after each page. This is not because the book was bad and that I was losing attention, it was simply because I was so involved in the story. I was walking WITH them.The premise is simple and I'm sure if you're reading this review you're aware of what its about. The fact that the story is so simple, allows for it to become deeper on so many different levels.

At the end of the book I found myself questioning everything, not because the ending left me unfulfilled but because it made me realise so much about life.

The Long Walk is depressing, exhausting and brutal. But ultimately it is a beautiful story that makes you aware how great it is to be alive.

At this time of writing this review (1st August 2007), the rights to making a film have been bought by Frank Darabont, director of the Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I read The Long Walk as part of the Richard Bachman compilation of 4 novels, Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man.
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on 7 March 2007
I read The Long Walk under Kings' other name; Richard Bachman when I was just 14. 10 years on and King is still taking up all the room on my bookcase. The way he takes such a simple plot and turns it into a mind gripping psychological thriller every time amazes me. This is such a simple yet brilliant story that all die-hard King fans should read.
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on 15 July 2006
What a story!!For such a simple plot,King builds up characters you can really identify with and feel for.The reader can feel the fear and pain along with his or her favourite character.With the advent of reality T.V.,one feels this tale is not set in too distant a future,and that scares me as much as the guards in the book,and the punishments for walking slower than 3 miles per hour.The cameraderie built up between the walkers is admirable,and displays King,s faith in the human creature.There are similarities between this and Mr.King,s "Running Man" but I do not see this as a fault,just a need to re-tell a fantastic story.This does not have the speedy action of "Running Man" or the out and out horror of "Carrie",but I found it really creepy in a disturbing my sense of right and wrong way.One feels for the "heroes"of the walk,but surely greed was their motivation to start the walk,so one cannot help but think "well you asked for it".A great read
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Stephen King fans come from all walks of life, yet are mostly tarred with the same brush. The Horror fiction genre is sneered at by the elitists and purists, and too often the word horror, when related to written fiction, is preceded by the word "schlock".
King himself knows this, and has fought long and hard to drag his chosen field of expertise to levels never believed possible, but even he acknowledges that stories like "silver Bullet" and "needful Things" operate on lower levels of appeal in the written word than most other popular literature.
As a short story/novella, The Long Walk was penned by King as one of his experimental forays away from the charicature monsters of werewolves, demon clowns, or devilish man-imps.
If youre looking for horror of that nature, then walk away..take a "long walk" away from this.
If, however, you do fancy the prospect of looking inwards to find monstrosities of human nature and greed and what we as humans will do to "succeed", and also what we as humans will do to entertain ourselves, this is a nightmare pretty much without parallel.
A genuine disturbing nightmare ...based on such basic simplicity.
Follow 100 teenage boys as they undertake a "walk" to achieve their dreams. Walk beside them and view the disintegration of their physical, spiritual, and moral fibre.
And as each one "buys a ticket"....feel your guts wrench as the gunshots echo.
By the time you reach the last 10, you`ll be sickened, enthralled, and yes, horrified.
Perhaps it is fitting, that the end of the story gives you a winner, but no idea of the dreams that were bestowed as a prize. it.
Trust`ll never EVER forget that you read it...and you`ll never take a long walk again without the names of some of those boys gripping icily at your your legs cramp and your feet begin to ache.
Horror? Oh yea...THIS is Horror .
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on 30 June 1999
Easily the most compelling and thought-provoking novel written by the late Richard Bachman, " The Long Walk " rarely fails to deliver the goods. More a morality tale than a run of the mill horror story, the plot centers around a grotesque contest of will where the winner is rewarded with all that his heart desires, and the losers pay with their lives. The young man at the center of this madness is a frightened 16 year old named Raymond Garraty, who, along with the circle of other young men he befriends during the course of their journey, quickly run the gamut from feeling excitement at the beginning of the walk, to alternately feeling scared, repulsed, and worst of all, tired. Tired is what the reader will feel at the end of this book, having felt like they made the walk themselves. A truly frightening look at what could be in the years to come.
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on 27 October 2003
I bought this book to tip me over the 25 pound "free-delivery" boundary, and wasn't sure what I would make of it.
The book has haunted me since I put it down, I accompanied 100 people on the last 5 days of their lives while they gradually acknowledged that their chances of survival were 100 to 1.
It is impossible to put the book down since the story is as relentless as the long walk itself. Forever on your mind are thoughts of the inevitable finale - who will win the walk? The last few chapters are painful to read, your favorite characters falling one by one to the "General's" guns. However, it is features like these which have kept this book in my mind so many months since I put it down.
Rich and original, whole heartedly recommended. However it is a sad and somewhat frightening story which may not be to everyone's tastes.
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on 29 March 2006
This, and most other Richard Bachman books are, in my opinion, amongst Stephen King's best - which is really wierd. The premise behind this book is horrific: basically people get off on watching other people die, like the Romans did. As long as it's someone else, it's great fun. And it's this 'taboo' and distasteful horror - distasteful because it's patently true - that makes this book such a gripping and compelling read. No need for para-dimensional demons or vampire aliens, ordinary people can be quite terrifying enough, thanks. A genuinely excellent book.
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on 27 February 2003
"The Long Walk" is one of the Richard Bachman novels that has a clear distinction from the rest of Stephen King's body of work. Like "The Running Man," it is essentially a dystopian novel, which is extremely rare in King's fiction because his greatest strength as a horror writer has always been that he could take the fantastic and put it in the world of the commonplace. King's horrors are always around the corner or in the near future (each edition of "The Stand" is revised towards just that end) and they usually happen to relatively normal persons. But even though "The Long Walk" takes place in some sort of fascist America, this not a warning in the tradition of "Fahrenheit 451" or "The Handmaid's Tale." It is simple the world that King needed to construct in order to tell his story.
The Long Walk takes place each year and only 100 applicants, selected from around the country, are allowed to participate. The prize, which speaks to the nature of the world in which it takes place, is everything you want for the rest of your life...The basic rule is simple: whoever walks the farthest wins. The conditions of the competition are what makes this a horror story: the participants must walk four miles an hour and not stop. Failing to do so results in a warning. Three warnings and you are shot.
The story works because who has not had to keep on walking when they wanted to stop, sit down, and rest? The difference is that nobody is going to put a bullet in our head when we do so. But for Ray Garrity and the other Long Walkers that is going to happen to every single one of them save the winner. The reasons why these young men would spend their lives on such a desperate gamble are second to the Long Walk itself. In the end the story turns out to be vintage King, where he displays the horrors of the journey and milks it for everything it is worth.
I will end with my strongest recommendation that you read "The Long Walk" in a single sitting. Ray and the others do not have a respite during their walk and I really think you lose something essential to the experience otherwise and the book is closer to a novella than an epic novel.
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