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Publisher's Summary

A desperate man attempts to win a reality TV game where the only objective is to stay alive in this number-one national best seller from Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman.

It was the ultimate death game in a nightmare future America. The year is 2025 and reality TV has grown to the point where people are willing to wager their lives for a chance at a billion-dollar jackpot. Ben Richards is desperate - he needs money to treat his daughter's illness. His last chance is entering a game show called The Running Man where the goal is to avoid capture by Hunters who are employed to kill him. Surviving this month-long chase is another issue when everyone else on the planet is watching - and willing to turn him in for the reward.

With an introduction by Stephen King on "The Importance of Being Bachman".

©1982 Richard Bachman (P)2010 Penguin Audio

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Story

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GET STUFFED MAGGOT

HE REMOVED HIS UNVALUABLE, VALUABLES
With the exception of The Long Walk, I believe this is the only King book, which is written in the future. I have read a lot of King, but not all, so I could be wrong. If like me, when you read, The Long Walk, you wanted to know more about the society, the story took place in. This might be it. It is a Dystopia, with people starving and lacking medical care. At one point a wife tells her husband on the phone "BEN, I TURNED TWO TRICKS THIS MORNING" and he does not even flinch. She did it to get medicine for their baby girl. Air pollution is killing people and the government is covering it up. RICH FOLKS SMOKE DOKES. Pot is legal. The better off, show off by showing off, their healthy well fed bodies, NICE T!TS. THANK YOU. The poor smoke cigarettes with the brand name of BLANDS. In this future the blacks speak like the blacks of the sixties and there is lots of racism. I'D PUT THEM ALL IN CAGES. The N word is used often, along with other racist slang. Most people are referred to by the police as MAGGOTS. The PIGS are also corrupt and like killing. The government practices DOUBLE THINK. The TV networks seem to run the country with the help of game shows. Game shows like Survivor, except when you lose, you die.

IT SEEMED LIKE HE WAS JUST LET OUT OF PRISON
Book and Movie are not much alike. Both are good. I like the book better.

HE'LL MAKE YOU SH#T IN YOUR BOOT AND EAT IT.
Language throughout is very foul.

HIS VOICE WAS AS COLD AS DEEP SPACE BETWEEN PLANETS.
Narrator is great.

I have listened to this book several times, this is even my second audible review of it. If you like Dystopia novels, this is for you.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Skip the intro

If you haven't read/heard the story before, skip the Stephen King introduction as it contains spoilers.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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The Hunger Games series popped into my mind often

The Running Man was first published in 1982 under Stephen King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman. I remember reading it shortly after it was released and again a few years later when it was revealed that Bachman was King. Then, when I was in my twenties, it seemed to be a very bleak book. Now in my fifties and a parent, the book has an overwhelming sense the desperation of a man without hope.

The story does pull you in quickly. There is an immediate connection with the man character Richards. The listener roots for Richards from the beginning, realizing how he is being manipulated by the system. The world King/Bachman creates for Richard to exists in is a very segregated country. There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The middle class seems to be a very slim group in the middle. There is also a segregation in the ethnicity of the inhabitants. I can only remember one non-white in a position of authority. Several of the police or authority figures make racially charged remarks. As the listener hears these sections, he/she must keep in mind the time period in which the book was written.

The Hunger Games series popped into my mind often while listening to The Running Man. The Doctor Who episode “Bad Wolf” also features a similar situation with games used to control the society. Reality TV shows did not begin until the 1990’s, yet King predicts them vividly. He nails the public’s addiction to seeing other people humiliated while feeling better about themselves (“I would never demean myself like that for 15 minutes of fame.”) As I listened there was an eerie feeling similar to reading an Arthur C. Clarke and thinking how did this man see what we didn’t.

The narrator does a fantastic job. He does women as well as men. His voice communicates class, which is a huge part of the story, very well. He conveys the emotions, not just anger but the subtle layers of hope and desperation. The production values were very good. No extraneous noises or drastic changes in volume.

The Running Man is not to be missed. A college level class could be taught on this book. The themes of ethnicity, socio-economic chasms, propaganda and the meaning of what it is to be human could be mined for more than a semester's worth of class. I highly recommend The Running Man. If you have seen the movie, erase it from your mind, this book is so much better.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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18 of 23 people found this review helpful

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One of the best of the Bachman books.

Skip the intro because it gives the story away. Well narrated and easy to follow.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Such a great book!

What made the experience of listening to The Running Man the most enjoyable?

I really enjoyed the plot of this story.

What other book might you compare The Running Man to and why?

Similar to The Hunger Games or Maze Runner but with King's darker twists.

What about Kevin Kenerly’s performance did you like?

Mr. Kenerly read this novel well. There was emotion and a connection to the story that immersed you into it and you forgot he was just reading it to you.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I wanted to listen in one sitting...and then I wanted to watch it on screen (what was in my head, not the terrible 80s movie version) and then I wanted to listen to is again...could not get enough!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • 02-05-16

Sad future for humanity.

I was looking for a book about humans being the hunted, and this was a different twist on that idea. There were some things I wish had played out, but it didn't go that direction. I liked the narrator and hope to see books like this somewhere soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Liked the story but.......

I haven't found a King story I didn't like yet. Same goes here. But in the introduction that is given before the story, they tell you the ending. It really ruined it for me. This is very little like the movie so that isn't what gives it away. I don't understand why they would do that for a story you are about to listen to. Other than that, really enjoyed it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great story, average narration

The story is like a mix of Hunger Games and Escape from New York. Crafted very well by Mr. King at a brisk pace. It is vastly different from the 80's Arnold classic but excellent in it's own right. the narrator just wasn't that great. A little dry and kept most male voices sounding very similar, his low bass voice also made the female characters sound pretty rough. overall the story is worth it if you can fight through the sub par narration.

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spectacular story sad when it ended.

great plot I was interested all the way though take a journey with one of Kings better novels.

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Don’t listen to first part

It has spoilers for the books ending - I knew the ending before even reading - mega frustrating!! It was the Stephen King part where he talks about the book pen name and divulges the ending of The Running Man clearly, and with no doubt.