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The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
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The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  54,487 Ratings  ·  638 Reviews
Four of Richard Bachman's eerie works are gathered here in a posthumous edition. They are Rage, a story of stunning psychological horror about an "estra" ordinary high school student; "The Long Walk," a contest with death; "Roadwork, a strange variation on the theme of "Home Sweet Home"; and "The Running Man," where you bet your life--literally.
Paperback, 944 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Signet (first published January 1st 1985)
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Popular Answered Questions

BRNTerri Sudipto, yes, that ISBN matches up with the 1987 edition that says it has all four books in it.

I just received this edition, ISBN 0452257743 that I…more
Sudipto, yes, that ISBN matches up with the 1987 edition that says it has all four books in it.

I just received this edition, ISBN 0452257743 that I bought from Amazon for 83 cents, so you may want to try that one too.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jennifer Lynn
While I do love all 4 of these works, currently, I have just re-read THE LONG WALK, a bok I re-read every single year- yes, it is THAT good. I never tire of it. I always think new thoughts when I get to that ending, even if I do think the ending happens rather abruptly and is left open to interpretation on purpose. King is a genius. I think this story was written in 1979 or so, and yet he like...predicted the future of humanity. The book takes place in America's future, with The Long Walk becomi ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefan Yates
Feb 01, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
One of King’s earliest works, Rage wasn’t published until he had established himself and when it was, it was published under the author name Richard Bachman. This novel is definitely raw in many aspects, but I think that is what helps to give it its charm.
The story centers on a student who kills his teacher in front of his class and holds the class hostage for most of the day. He and the class then discuss a variety of issues, but the main conversation revolves around what has led him to t
Jul 06, 2011 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These four novellas are almost as good as their cousins from Different Seasons . It's a shame that the Columbine Shootings have directly proceeded to the best of the four stories—Rage, with its everyone-can-find-some-angle-to-relate-to protagonist Charlie Decker, he who thrashed in his sleep whilst in the marescape of The Cherokee Nose Job—being consigned to the ashbin of publishing history. No more shall the intrepid young reader experience the thrilling fractured-mirror empathic pulses from t ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Kandice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rage was so predictive! I'm glad it's no longer in print, but equally glad I read it first.
Aurora Dimitre
Every time I re-read this, with my old, ragged copy that's falling apart at the seams with masking tape and hope keeping it from completely collapsing into a pile of loose pages, I fall a little bit more in love with it. I'm going to take it a novel at a time, because I love each and every one of them, even if it did take me a while to enjoy Roadwork as much as I do now, or at all, really, so let's get started.

Rage, first of all - I've always loved Rage, and I love that it's the first one in the
Jul 24, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans
Shelves: horror, scifi
Road Work is the only weak link in this book, although legend has it that Rage is out of print finally (probably to King's great relief).

Rage - 20 years before high school massacres started in America, King wrote this story of a misunderstood and clearly mentally ill kid going apeshit and holding his classroom hostage.

The Long Walk - Once a year, one representative from each state, all boys around 18, set off walking at 4 MPH. If they slow down, they get warned. After the 3rd warning...let's j
Jul 08, 2008 Gabriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of four novels. As I finish them, I will write mini-reviews for them.

Rage: While unrealistic in many senses, this has been among the most interesting and gripping Stephen King story I've read yet. The mob mentality that is created and the twist that makes this horror instead of just a thriller is something that could have come off as amaturish, but works really well under King's hand. The horror in this story is namely in that in underminds all the classical stereotypes of w
Nandakishore Varma
Stephen King created the alter ego of Richard Bachman just to prove that he can make it once again by himself, he says: an enterprise in which he was moderately successful before somebody ferreted out the real identity of this elusive author. (This "multiple personality syndrome" that occurs with writers is explored by King in the story "Secret Window, Secret Garden" and the novel The Dark Half.) However, after Bachman was 'outed' as Steve King, the sales soared (naturally) and this book was pub ...more
Veronika Duritzdeschain
Without a doubt one of my favourite books, the Bachman Books proves that horror is not about vampires, werewolves and blood but rather about human nature, depravity and circumstance. The Long Walk, Rage, Roadwork and the Running Man were included in my copy, with Thinner and the Regulators being read seperately. Out of them all I would have to say that the Long Walk was my favourite for its intensity and bitter comprehension. I used these stories as examples whenever people feel it necessary to ...more
Janie Johnson
Nov 26, 2012 Janie Johnson rated it liked it
I hate to rate this 3.5 stars, but the story Roadwork really pulled it down a lot. The other 3 stories in this book were pretty decent, The Long Walk being my favorite. You can find seperate reviews that I have wrote for each one.

King did a great job with creating different writing styles between King and Bachman. I applaud him on that. So it was refreshing to read something a little diferent.
This is a great collection of early Bachman stories written by Stephen King: Rage, The Long Walk, The Running Man, and Roadwork. I've reviewed them all separately, and some I've liked more than others, but still, in my profession and expert opinion, it's hard to go wrong with King. ;)
Nicola Mansfield
May 21, 2014 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: I'm in the process of of re/reading all of Stephen King's works in chronological order. I'm reading these books individually in the order they were published between his other works. After having read through the entire book over the time period of a few years I've concluded that "The Long Walk" is my favourite novel here, which I do remember enjoying a lot the first time around also. My least favourite was "Roadwork", though I'll say I didn't not like any of them. Taken toge ...more
Jul 12, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fiction fans
Shelves: stephenking
I think this was my second or third King book. It collects all but Thinner of the original five Bachman novellas.
"The Running Man" I already reviewed. Better than (and WAY different from) than the movie
"The Long Walk" I also already reviewed. it's one of my favorite stories of all time. Love it.
"Roadwork" I don't remember all that well, but I know I liked it.
"Rage" was the controversial one. It's about a student who took his high school class hostage, killing the teacher in the process. The rest
May 10, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
This is the omnibus that is no longer sold commercially, thanks to the lead novella "Rage," which was found in the locker of one of the school shooters of the late '90s. You will now find editions of the other three novellas sold separately. Luckily for me, I bought this before SK took this one off the market.

Looking back 10+ years later, I think most of these stories hold up very well (especially since some of them were among the first things King ever wrote); "The Running Man" is the only clun
Agustín  Szeinman
Just finished the Bachman books, I skipped through the long walk because I already read it. I found rage and the running man both fascinating in their own way but hit a slump with roadwork, I can almost say I hated it hahaha. If you go for rage and running man, i totally recommend this.
Billy Roper
Oct 15, 2016 Billy Roper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original version of "The Running Man" would have made a much better movie than the one Arnold starred in, but with the 9/11 attacks and the protagonist's obvious racial views and language, it couldn't have been done by a Jewish owned Hollywood movie studio. King had a more realistic worldview before he got hit by that car and totally cucked.
Erik Graff
Sep 08, 2009 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans
Recommended to Erik by: Fin Einar Graff
Shelves: literature
I actually like a lot of what Stephen King has written although some of it, like The Gunslinger, seems too hastily written and lengthy. This one of the better collections. I liked The Long Walk (1979) especially.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I read Rage and The Long Walk. Very violent and depressing. I didn't care for them. They were well-written but as any who know me, I don't do depressing pleasure reading. I'm glad that King's style has changed.
Aug 17, 2016 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King....oops Richard Bachman is a master of short stories and I really loved this collection. Mind you, I read this years ago but I still remember how good it was.
Mar 05, 2017 Jason marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Links to individual reviews for each story below. Well, there will be once I read them. This is just a set up for now.

Rage ★★★✰✰ (2.5)
The Long Walk
The Running Man
"The Bachman Books" is a collection of 4 novellas/ short novels that King had previously published under his alter ego name but with the secret revealed they are available in this nice bind-up. And if there is one thing I specifically love when it comes to King's work it is his novellas. For me this one doesn't quite line up with the absolute outstanding ones that are "Full Dark, no Stars" and "Different Seasons" but it is really darn good.
1) "Rage" - the controversial one
And I see why. For me i
Jun 19, 2007 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves the King and his early work
I should say here that I'm willing to swap this book on the condition that I get it back, but not sell it.
In King's earlier years, he was a big name in the horror genre, and was churning out novels faster than anyone else. He had published a handful under a pseudonym because the publishers didn't want to saturate the market with his name, hence, Richard Bachman came into existence.
"The Bachman Books" is really fantastic. It's a collection of four novellas: "Rage," "The Long Walk," "Roadwork," a
Nathaniel Hardman
I read this, or parts of it, back in junior high school. I remember being captivated by King's storytelling, but put off by how dark and ugly the material was. Some mini-reviews for the sub-books:

The Long Walk is a very, very simple story (dystopian ultra-marathon where if you stop, they kill you, and only one person wins/survives), and it only works because King is good at tellin' stories. It's a macabre premise, but I don't remember it being particularly dark or gruesome (all the main characte
Dec 27, 2011 Daisy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A gripping, horrifying story about a mentally ill teenager driven to breaking point. More than just a here-and-now, action filled, adrenalin rush thriller about a kid going mad with a gun, most of the book is relatively calm and focuses on past events that have led up to this point. (view spoiler)
Michael Hanscom
Individual novel ratings: Rage, three stars; The Long Walk, four; Roadwork, two; The Running Man, three.

Rage was quite interesting, especially as I didn't realize it had been taken out of print until I'd finished it. For all the stigma it has gained through it's connection to non-fiction school shootings, there's really not much violence to it. Much more psychology of the people involved.

The Long Walk ended up being my favorite of the four. Very focused on the walk and the personalities of the
Jun 14, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can definitely see that these are VERY early works by Stephen King (What? Bachman is really King? I totally didn't see that! ) but "The Long Walk" is one of his best stories. King is at his best when he either a)takes a normal, everyday idea and makes it horrifying or b)takes a horrifying idea and writes it up as a normal, everyday situation. "The Long Walk" uses the second technique, and it's frightening how quickly you can believe that one hundred people would literally walk themselves to ...more
Deborah Good
I gave this book only a three star because it isn't "typical" Stephen King. It is early Stephen King and a bit "sick"--He has taken this book out of publication, and I had to search libraries and use interlibrary loan to find it. Perhaps it is with good reason that he has stopped further publication of the book. It contains one story (Rage) which is about a school shooting--very disturbing to me, since I am faculty at Virginia Tech and was here for the 2007 shooting incident. It contains another ...more
Apr 12, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this collection of short stories back in high school because I was intrigued that the cheesy sci fi movie "The Running Man" came from a Stephen King book. This was before I realized what a ripe source Hollywood seems to think King's stories are for screen plays. In any event, the one short story which always stands out in my mind when I think of Stephen King is not The Running Man but another from this same collection...The Long Walk. Both stories take place in a futuristic Uni ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Roadwork & The Running Man reviewed elsewhere got 2 and 4. And with a strong 2 for Rage and a whoppin' 5 for The Long Walk, that's about 4 rounded off, right?

Rage; it's good, it's a very in-your-face and depressing/angering story and it goes not much further than that.

The Long Walk; is absolutely relentless and terrifying. The description of a "march-until-death" participated in by 100 teenage boys is a tough and spellbinding read.
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This is a Stephen King pseudonym.

At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name, in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King "brand". He convinced his publisher, Signe
More about Richard Bachman...

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“I do have one slightly crooked wheel upstairs, but everything else is ticking along just four-o, thank you very much.” 22 likes
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