Macabre…ish Book Review: The Running Man
The Running Man, Richard Bachman/Stephen King
Ben Richards cannot watch his baby scream and struggle to breathe the toxic air anymore or stomach his wife selling herself anymore. The year is 2025 and his part of the world is a dystopian nightmare. Where the air is a thick soup and the decent jobs will render the most fertile men, sterile. So you choose, a meager existence or a family with a daily struggle for survival. Ben chose family. The choice has made him and angry, bitter and sarcastic man.
After, watching his daughter struggle to breathe, he does the only thing he thinks he can do. Join the end of a six block long line that leads to The Games building.
After 2 days of humiliating examinations and tests with hundreds of other desperate men, Richards makes the cut but not for just any game, it’s the big show, The Running Man! You don’t just return home injured, this game, they kill you or you win. And take a guess at how many have won.
He and his family receive 100 New Dollars for every hour he remains free.
He gets a 12 hour head start and a $4800 advance, running money.
He is required to mail in 2 video tapes every 24 hours or he forfeits the money.
Every citizen that spots the runner and it results in his death, gets 1000 New Dollars.
Every citizen who aids and abets a runner is committing a crime, punishable by death. Not only are the runners hunted by citizens, they are also tracked by actual Hunters, employees of the Network. And as much as possible will be broadcast on National Free-Vee. Making sure to edit his words and photoshop him from a man out of choices to a brutal villain.
And if by some miracle Ben can last 30 days, the prize is a billion dollars. Along the way, he finds some things out about the Games Corporation and the probable real reason for the games, the truth about the chronic illness of the population and the cost of capitalism. When, after a traumatizing desperate run, he is given an offer he can’t refuse, he will discover this nightmare could last forever and what it’ll cost him.
Ben Richards is smart but can he outplay the people who trade in turning human suffering and desperation into entertainment, and win? Can he actually beat them at their own game?