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The Running Man

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  44,679 ratings  ·  1,117 reviews
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 e...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Signet (first published 1982)
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The Stand by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingThe Shining by Stephen KingMisery by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Best of Stephen King
40th out of 122 books — 2,125 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
78th out of 1,876 books — 16,655 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
When Ben Richard's daughter gets pneumonia, he turns to the Network for help and becomes a contestant on the deadliest of reality shows, The Running Man. Can Richards run long enough to earn the money for his daughter's medicine? And what will he learn as he runs for his life for the amusement of the public watching The Running Man?

This is the best book made into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger I've ever read. Actually, apart from a couple character names, the dystopian setting, and the c...more
Dec 07, 2012 Kay rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who expected more action and less contemplation from the Hunger Games
Recommended to Kay by: people who think Surivor should be a little more *real*
WARNING: Do NOT read the author foreward. It totally gives away a climactic ending. Thanks to the GoodReads community for warning me.

I feel like I just ran a marathon with a heart condition. As soon as I opened the book, I was swept up in the story and couldn't stop until the fiery, breathless end. I don't say this often. It takes a while for me to feel comfortable in a new book. I like to feel things out, come to my own conclusions. But Stephen King, in his insidiously masterful way, lured and...more
Amr Hassan

أكتر حاجة تضايق الواحد لما تكون رواية كويسة وفكرتها شيقة وممتعة وثورية وكاتب زي سيتفن كينج وفى الاخر الرواية متعجبكش وتبقي سيئة جدا بسبب الترجمة..

أسوأ ترجمة قرأتها فى حياتي لرواية , المترجم بيترجم ترجمة حرفية بحتة ده لو بيترجم مقال علمى مش هيترجم كدا, اكتر رواية خدت فيها وقت فى حياتي اربع ايام عشان اخلصها لأني زهقت منها وبقت مملة جدا بسبب الترجمة .

وكمان تفاصيل كتيرة لوصف الاماكن والاشخاص , فطبعا مع ترجمة سيئة هتكون مش طايق نفسك .

تقييمي قليل بسبب الترجمة لكن الرواية والنهاية تستحق اربع نجوم.

When I was young and not quite so jaded, I still believed that film adaptations were a good idea. I am pretty sure The Running Man was the book/movie that changed my mind about that.

I'd seen the movie more times than I care to admit before I read the book for the first time (my dad was/is a HUGE fan of all things Schwarzenegger [wow, really spellcheck, you recognize that name?]) and I almost DIDN'T read it because I thought the movie was TERRIBLE and that meant the book had to be, too, right?

Feb 12, 2013 Brandon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of dystopia, hatred of reality TV, action movie fans
It’s the year 2025 and society is very different then what we know today. Unlike those that claim today the United States is the land of the free and that the ultimate “American Dream” is attainable by anyone, the system is now designed to keep those who are below the poverty line to stay just where they are. However, there is a way out, sign up as a participant in “The Games”. Yes, you can compete on a variety of dangerous game shows in an effort to obtain large cash prizes and get you and your...more
Jul 26, 2014 Rola marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paused
Dear Mr. Stephen king,

If you met with this review by some chance/ miracle one day, please make sure to break your contract with "Arab scientific publishers".
If the reading process add more lives to your own, the translation of your books by them actually wastes the only life you will ever have.

السيد المحترم / ستيفن كينج
إن صادفت يوما هذه المراجعة بالصدفة البحتة أو المعجزة الفريدة، فضلا تأكد من فسخ عقد ترجمة مؤلفاتك مع " الدار العربية للعلوم" - ناشرون ؛ فإن كانت القراءة تضيف للفرد أعمارا فوق عمره،...more
Laura Leigh
Jan 31, 2008 Laura Leigh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura Leigh by: Steven Matthews
The biggest problem with this book is that I decided to read Stephen King's introduction first -- where he gave away the ending. Bah! Still, it was a good journey to see how the protagonist got there, though the end was anti-climactic for me. For a writer just learning his chops when this was written, it's pretty damn good.
T. Edmund
I was pretty surprised to see this book lurking around a second-hand store. You see, I've been familar with the film since growing up. If you'd asked me prior to seeing this document I would have bet on that movie NOT even beeing based on a book, let alone a book by the famous S. King

My second surprise was of course that the book was good. I probably shouldn't have been so naive as to think the book would be anything like the spandex rubbish that the movie was, but whatever.

Running man depicts a...more
This was a pretty good story, but quite different from what I'd expected. Of course I knew it was a dystopia, and centered around a game-show, but other than that, I didn't have much idea about the story. I've never seen the movie - and looking at IMDB right now, that's probably a good thing - so I didn't even have those misconceptions to deal with. Ben Richards is not an ex-cop who was wrongfully accused of anything. He was born into the wrong economic situation and grew bitter because of it. W...more
حسام عادل
رواية تحبس الأنفاس من فرط التشويق والغموض والإثارة..
كذا فكرت طوال الفترة التى قرأت فيها تلك الرواية الممتعة لأقصى درجة.كانت الجملة تطن فى رأسي ولم أجد تشبيهاً أبلغ منها فعلاً

تحكي الرواية عن (ريتشارد) الشاب القوي,الزوج والأب,الذى يجد نفسه متسمراً يتابع طفلته الصغيرة وهي تموت بالإلتهاب الرئوي أمام ناظريه,دون أن يجد ما يفعله لإنقاذها..
لا عمل..لا نقود..لا مساعدة.
وكان الحل فى شبكة الألعاب..
وبما أنه كان قوياً ذكياً وخطراً فقد ادخروه لأفضل وأخطر ألعابهم..العرض الرئيسي;الرجل الراكض.

الأمر بسيط (ريتشارد).
Kelli Lee
Unputdownable, gritty, depressingly dystopic, bleak, fast-paced, action-y, the story revolves around a highly popular televised game show, The Running Man. Its vast viewership is comprised of desensitized sheeple, their eyes glued nightly to this reality show of sorts. The Running Man premise involves a man running for his very life, with the ephemeral hope of survival, Hunters hot on his heels. If he happens to win, a substantial cash prize his reward, he and his family can live like royalty fo...more
★ Jess
Jan 07, 2011 ★ Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of 'The Hunger Games' who dont mind course language
This book was made of awesome: I devoured it in less then 24 hours, with time to spare for sleeping, socializing and spending the afternoon at the beach.
I am a sucker for Dystopians, and I am also a giant-mega-large-obsessive Stephan King fan, so this book was right up my alley.
It first came to my attention in a book talk about the bestselling trilogy The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Somebody mentioned both novels were similar, because they were both Dystopians about murderous reality TV s...more
I don't even like Stephen King, but this was recommended on a blog for people who really liked The Hunger Games so I thought I would give it a shot.

It reads very quickly and is highly addictive. The gist of the story is that in the year 2025, Ben Richards is out of work. His 18 month old daughter is sick with the flu and neither Ben nor his wife can afford to take her to a real doctor. Ben is from the poor side of town and decides the only way to save his daughter is to become a contestant on on...more
Good dystopian thriller that keeps you reading right till the end. I just read 'The Long Walk' so I thought that this might be a good book to read next by Stephen King. I browsed the shops, Goodreads and amazon half expecting to come across 'The Jogging Men' and was relieved as well as a bit disappointed to know that there isn't any.

Well of course, the protagonist here does not participate in a running contest but instead is running and hiding from the hunters and the privileged population of th...more
من أسوأ الروايات التي قرأتها على الإطلاق !
الأسلوب سيئ جدًا .. الأحداث مملة .. الترجمة ركيكة
كانت سعادتي لاتوصف حينما أنهيت قرائتها ...
حتى الفيلم الذي تم انتاجه بناء على الرواية كان سيئ لأبعد الحدود
مع أن الفكرة أعجبتني وشدني العنوان لكني صُدمت تمامًا حال انتهائي من قرائتها
After loving the book Rage, I felt like a bit more of that great Stephen King anger directed at the man. This book gave me what I needed.

Completely different from the Arnie film, yet in all the right ways. It's more true to life and follows the emotional turmoil and survival instincts of a man who has nothing to lose, after paying for his families survival with his own life.

In reading through I was constantly annoyed at the bourgeoise separation, with no attempt made to connect with the poorer...more
Dystopien hatten es bei mir noch nie sonderlich leicht, dementsprechend skeptisch war ich daher bzgl. "Menschenjagd" und habe das Buch zunächst eher zögerlich aufgeschlagen. Je mehr ich jedoch in die Geschichte eingetaucht bin, je begeisterter war ich, denn "Menschenjagd" besitzt alles, was ich mir bei einem Buch wünsche: Ein packender Schreibstil, Spannung, interessante Figuren und eine oftmals unvorhersehbare Handlung.

Stephen King hat es erneut geschafft, mich mit seinem phänomenalen Schreibst...more
The Running Man had been sitting on my bookshelf for well over a year by the time I finally picked it up. Why did I wait so long?!

It's hard to believe that King (as Bachman) wrote this story back in 1982, his foresight was incredible. I quickly fell in love with the character of Ben Richards. Living in a society that has become almost completely desensitised - treating the poor like rodents and a man's life like a reality contest - Ben's desperation, determination, attitude and fight for surviva...more
Sep 20, 2010 Flannery rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adult fans of the Hunger Games series, those who enjoyed The Long Walk
Set in a dystopian America, Ben Richards signs up to participate in a network television show--though which one he gets assigned to is unknown to him until after he passes several exams--in order to provide for his family. His show, The Running Man (This is no spoiler. Just look at the title of this book)is basically a mixture of The Most Dangerous Game and the Hunger Games...though this book obviously preceded the latter by about two decades. Richards is given a short head start and then is hun...more
May 26, 2013 Chuck rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chuck by: Tim Hocevar
I don't know what to say, other than I was wrong. I had read a few Stephen King novels years ago and wrote them off as fantasy and just not my cup of tea. Between my son's recommendation and the availability of this novel I ressurected the author from the depths of my library and gave this fairy tale a try. I have not read a book in recent years that I could not put down like this one. It touched every emotion that this old man has left including disgust, anger, affection, sympathy, humor, viole...more
Stephen King does dystopian fiction - under his Richard Bachman alias, originally - in THE RUNNING MAN, a slim and all-but-forgotten novel best known for being turned into a blockbuster action film of the 1980s starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Needless to say, book and film have little in common, other than the general premise and the character names. While the movie is a glossy shoot-em-up, the book is something else besides.

THE RUNNING MAN sees King going all out in his quest to portray the hor...more
عمر الخير
رواية ديستوبيا
متفهمش الكاتب وهو بيكتب
كانت حالته النفسية مالها
بس تحس كدا أنها مش مظبوطة
تحس أن فكرياً كان مشوش

لإن الرواية
رغم إنها من النوع الـ متتسبش غير لما تخلص
بس المشكلة أن قلبك مش متشبع بيها
مش مقتنع

الأحداث في احيان كتير تكون بتسأل نفسك هو ليه كدا
واحيان تانية يا ابن الـ ايه عملتها ازاي دي!؟

كان ممكن تبقي احسن بكتير فعلاً


Con esta novela, Stephen king intenta plasmar las situaciones extremas a las cuales nos exponemos con tal de salvar a nuestros seres queridos, no importa la situación si el fin justifica los medios, aunque eso implique morir con tal de salvar a otros.
(El final es de película)

5 stars. Not very King like, but still one of his best novels. Well written, with a strong protagonist that you love and hate at the same time, and a very unexpected ending.
I recommend it to anyone.
5 stars

If there is only one book (of the 50) of Stephen King’s one should read, I have to say that The Running Man is it.

Here, in a dystopic future world that seems to echo others, 1984, Brave New World, and Player Piano, the lines between media, commerce, and government are blurred. In other words, King’s The Running Man had accurately projected a future. The novel was written in 1982.

Closer to Vonnegut’s Player Piano than the other dystopic novels mentioned, King begins with a simple premise a...more
Lisa Lilly
The first Bachman book I read was Thinner, which I read after it was known that Bachman was Stephen King. I disliked it to the point that I avoided the other Bachman books. Oddly, though I usually like the high concept sci fi films Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in (The Terminator is my favorite movie of all time), I somehow never saw The Running Man. It was my love of Hunger Games, and a lunch break where I had nothing else to read but a worn out copy of The Running Man a colleague gave me a while...more
 Charlie - A Reading Machine Blog
Simply one of the best dystopian stories from Stephen King or any other writer. Dont judge it by the movie.

When Benjamin Richards baby girl gets emphysema from the shitty environment they live in his only hope of making some real money is to participate in the Federal Games. A variety of television shows with various risks and rewards and played 24 hours a day through the Free-vee, a television that can not be turned off, but ensures the propaganda of those in charge is spread far and wide. The...more
Ryan Sean O'Reilly
Summary: Dystopian thriller of prescient vision

Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: “No Deodorant In Outer Space”. The podcast is available on iTunes or our website:

Review: Stephen King wrote this novel very quickly under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. He talks about this in the book’s prologue. As many reviewers point out, he also provides a major spoiler. So...more
Stephen King's The Running Man is not one of those books one finishes and then visits either the "Well, this was shit" or the "Ohmygod where can I get more" extremes of the reading experience spectrum. At least to me, finishing The Running Man felt like being jolted awake after daydreaming on LSD for far too long - things calm down, and it gets a bit confusing.

The Running Man plays out inside the mind of Ben Richards, a man who decides to play for the panis et circenses-style governmental game c...more
Set in the year 2025 with a ruined economy with mass unemployment, one of the few ways to make some money is through shows hosted on The Games Network.

To raise money for his sick daughter and stop his wife prostituting herself, Ben Richards decides to try out, he's selected for The Running Man, the Networks most successful show.

Declared an enemy of the state he has 12 hours head start before Dog The Bounty Hunter the Hunters come after him. Richards earns $100 per hour that he stays alive and a...more
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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“In the year 2025, the best men don't run for president, they run for their lives. . . .” 52 likes
“He understood well enough how a man with a choice between pride and responsibility will almost always choose pride--if responsibility robs him of his manhood.” 18 likes
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