Michael's Reviews > The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King

The Bachman Books by Stephen King
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May 10, 11

Read in January, 1998

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 clunker, made even more ridiculous when memories of the movie are backlit on the page, but the other three are solid. "The Long Walk" in particular is some kind of masterpiece of psychological terror, and "Rage" was more intense than pretty much anything else I'd read up till then.

I haven't spent much time teasing out the differences between a Stephen King novel and one with the Bachman imprimatur on it, but I would guess it has something to do with the utter dourness of the Bachman stories. No matter what evil conspires to ruin the down-home characters of a SK book, there's usually a good bit of humor sprinkled throughout. Bachman characters just get shit on from start to finish, and the endings offer no glimpse of hope.
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