If your infant daughter was sick and dying and the only way to raise the money to save her was to sign up for a competition that resulted in your death, would you sign up? The Running Man examines this question and shows what a young father would go through to save his baby, with some unexpected results.
Stephen King wrote The Running Man, one of four books written under the pen name of Richard Bachman. This book is a dystopian science fiction, taking place in the United States in 2025. It is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of Ben Richards, the main protagonist.
I found the beginning to be a bit slow and initially I wasn’t clear on exactly what was driving the story, but as the tale started to unfold I was completely drawn in. We are painted a picture of a very dysfunctional society, where there is a large discrepancy in the classes and The Network drives everything. They control the masses with free TV and realty TV has taken a terrible turn focusing on murder and death. I really began to care for Ben and I was rooting for him throughout.
This is a standalone story full of lots of action with a surprising, although somewhat sad ending. I was glad that Ben decided to take the action he did, but I do not think it will change anything. I recommend this book, it is a quick read and if you enjoy reading dystopian science fiction, then you should not miss The Running Man.
My favourite quote from the book:
“They looked oddly incomplete, like pictures with holes for eyes or a jigsaw puzzle with a minor piece missing; it was a lack of desperation. Richards thought. No wolves howled in these bellies, these minds were not filled with rotted crazed dreams or mad hopes.”
Question to Ponder:
Do you think that Ben’s final action will create any changes in the society that he lived in?