The Running Man is set within a dystopian future in which the poor are seen more by the government as worrisome rodents than actual human beings. The protagonist of The Running Man, Ben Richards, is quick to realize this as he watches his daughter, Cathy, grow more sick by the day and tread closer and closer to death. Desperate for money to pay Cathy’s medical bills, Ben enlists himself in a true reality style game show where the objective is to merely stay alive.
I listened to the audio version of this.
Before I get started with this review, I feel the need to put in a disclaimer about the language in this book. Yes, I know, Stephen King is not just the King of Horror, he is also the King of Swear Words but aside from the normal four letter expletives…there’s quite a bit of racist slurs. So if you read my review and decide to go ahead with reading it, be forewarned.
That aside, this was not a good read (or listen). It was a short listen, so that was a plus, and there was a good amount of action so it would seem that it would be something to keep my attention but I lost the plot more than once and it would take me awhile to get back on track. This was not a complicated story either, so it shouldn’t have been such a struggle. But it was.
Before I spend this whole review spewing negativity, i will backtrack and focus on the positives of this book. First of all, I liked that this takes place in the future (four years from now, so at publishing much further into the future) and while King’s future is a lot more bleak then how it’s heading there’s enough elements that it almost seemed that SK predicted Donald Trump being in office, and his obsession with reality tv bled through society. So I did think King did well with imaging a future that was not too over the top but sadly, there was still elements that were way aged.
After the setting, there wasn’t much else that made this a worthwhile read. It was utterly forgettable. From one (super short) chapter to the next, I would space out and one event bled into the next. None of the characters, including Ben Richards, was distinguishable enough to stand out. Because of this, there was no reason to cheer for Richards, which added to the tediousness. King did make an attempt to give him a history but it did not do enough to see him as anything besides a straight up asshole.
I gave this a two out of five rating.