Richard Bachman/The Running Man

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The Running Man (1982). A novel by Richard Bachman (pseudonym for Stephen King).

{Warning: this article contains information that may spoil your enjoyment of the book}

The book is set in a dark future. The protagonist enters a TV contest where contestants win prizes if they manage to avoid so-called "hunters" for a certain amount of time. The contest has no set arena, so the 'runner' can travel anywhere in the world, if they can arrange transport. The hunters are aided by members of the public, who receive cash for providing information on the whereabouts of the runner. If the runner is caught he or she is killed live on TV. The hero of the book ultimately escapes the game by flying a plane into the headquarters of the TV network that operates the game, gaining his revenge on the corporation, but dying in the process.

The story has a similar theme to another of King's books written as Bachman, The Long Walk.

The book has also been filmed as The Running Man (1987), directed by Paul Michael Glaser. The lead role is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is significantly different from the novel; the contest takes place in an arena, with several contestants competing together, and ends more upbeat than the original ending. Like many of King's works, the transfer to film was not artistically successful.