The Running Man

  • by Stephen King
  • Narrated by Kevin Kenerly
  • 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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".


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"


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.

Book and Movie are not much alike. Both are good. I like the book better.

Language throughout is very foul.

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.
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- Jim "The Impatient" "I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-01-2016
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio