Friday, 25 November 2011
54 - The Running Man by Richard Bachman/Stephen King
This is set in a gloomy future where the streets are full of garbage and vermin and where the government is power crazy and polluting the air with dangerous toxins. Women and children are dying of lung cancer and other terrible diseases. In this terrible vision of the future half the population are living like rats while the other half are brainwashed by their TV Sets.
Richard's baby daughter is dying of a lung condition and the only way he can afford to buy her antibiotics is to appear on one of the governments flagship Game Shows while his wife seems to resort to prostitution. One Gameshow forces kidney and heart patients to run on a treadmill until they are taken away in body bags whereas Richard's gameshow is the worst one of all. He becomes 'The Running Man'.
He has to survive 30 days on the run while government hunters and everyday people try to kill him.He is safe nowhere and cannot trust anybody. It's pretty much him against the world and nobody has ever won this game.
Such a storyline could only come from the twisted mind of Stephen King ! This is the last book in my series of Richard Bachman books that I've read this year. (In the late seventies and early eighties King wrote these books under the fictitious name of Richard Bachman). So what did I think ?
The Running Man was highly original, imaginative and unique, but I found the storyline to be a little bit unrealistic in parts and generally not as well constructed as King's other books. I also didn't feel emotionally connected to the main character or the story in any way. It was kind of like reading from an arm's distance instead of being in the thick of the action, if that makes sense ? I liked the fact that it was twisty and different but I never quite got into this book.
By far the best Richard Bachman book I have read this year was the magnificent 'The Long Walk', closely followed by Roadwork. I'd rate this as 7.5.