Stephen King * The running man (Bachman books)

There are a few Stephen King books which I read in an afternoon or two and the Bachman books are some of them. I loved “Rage” and Blaze and Thinner and also the Running man. The book was adapted into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger but I must say I loved the book more.

running_man_arnold_schwarzenegger

In the year 2025, the best men don’t run for president, they run for their lives.

PS (the book version I had said 2005 which is long gone)

Then they could discuss the possibilities of social inequity, the way your socks always fall down when you’re wearing rubber boots, and the importance of being earnest.

Enter a future where massive corporations rule the world. Not politicians, not world leaders, but TV shows and game networks. They are taking an approach in dumming down the masses so that they can be kept under control and through television and their shows, they distract the people from what’s really going on in the world: pollution out of control, cancer in young children, expensive and unavailable medicare, unemployment and free-view. Freeview with addictive shows. Freeview that will stop all questions and will offer escape out of reality.

hqdefaultRichards is the protagonist of this story.

He’s brighter than the average people, married at 16 with his high-school sweetheart with a daughter of three who was slowly wasting away with pneumonia. This child was a miracle that happened when he was 28 and he abandoned all hope of having children after working at “Atomiccare” – a radioactive company who left its men sterile. The child fell sick and he was jobless. He had nothing and needed money desperately for medication and child care. His sweet wife turned tricks just to get food on the table.

“Valuables. That was a hot one, Richards thought, unbuttoning his shirt. He had an empty wallet with a few pictures of Sheila and Cathy, a receipt for a shoe sole he had replaced at the local cobbler’s six months ago, a keyring with no keys on it except for the doorkey, a baby sock that he did not remember putting in there, and the package of Blams he had gotten from the machine.”

This is when he started religiously watching game shows and he goes to the game network to become a contestant. He gets selected for the most brutal game of all – the Running Man – a game where you have to evade your hunters and for every hour in freedom, you get 100 new dollars that will be given to the surviving family. This is a game you don’t get out alive.

running-man-01-g

you’ll be given a tape machine which is about the size of a box of popcorn. It weighs six pounds. With it, you’ll be given sixty tape clips which are about four inches long. The equipment will fit inside a coat pocket without a bulge. It’s a triumph of modern technology

The Gaming network will expect him to send video tapes through post all the way to their network and were swearing that they will not be used to track him. The downside of the chase was that the entire public would participate too! They were riled up to the point of turning into a killer mob with photoshopped pictures of him and his wife. Richards and Sheila were portrayed as despicable scum and encouraged to turn him in for a small fortune reward. 100 new dollars for his life…

Richards finds help from unexpected places and it’s a stupid woman, overly protective of her son, that manages to almost get him caught. He realizes that his only way of survival is to attack rather than go on defense and he turns his sight to the game show building.

The ending is amazing

“EXPLOSIVE IN MY COAT POCKET—THE VARIETY THEY CALL BLACK IRISH. TWELVE POUNDS IS ENOUGH TO TAKE OUT EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE WITHIN A THIRD OF A MILE AND PROBABLY ENOUGH TO EXPLODE THE JETPORT FUEL STORAGE TANKS. IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS”

It’s a story about the power of media and why it’s so important to be educated and see beyond the headlines. Never trust anything on the telly and do your own research on subject you are interested on.

 

 

 

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