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abookaweek 2012: week thirty-eight

2012 September 23
by Romy

The Running Man, by Stephen King

Category: Post-apocalyptic / dystopian

Story: In an alternate future American, the gap between rich and poor has become so wide that the only way to get enough money for food and medicine is to participate in one of many degrading and dangerous game shows. Ben Richards’ daughter is suffering from severe pneumonia, so in order to save her he enters a game show where the main goal is to stay alive while he is being hunted down by professional hit men.

Opinion: The Running Man is enjoyable in the way that almost all of King’s books are enjoyable, that is to say: on a not particularly deep level. His characters all tend to be very similar, but personally I find a bit of comfort in that familiarity. Funnily enough, its the characters that really stand out in this novel. Richards isn’t interesting, but the people he meets along his way to impending doom certainly are.

However, I think there have been too many outstanding dystopian novels to make this one stand out; even King himself has written better ones, most notably The Long Walk, which is innovative and engaging despite its limited setting.

I should also add that it didn’t help that I suddenly remembered the ending of the book very vividly while I was 1/3 of the way in; I’d read this book as a teenager.

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