Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Running Man” as Want to Read:
The Running Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Running Man

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  113,295 ratings  ·  3,959 reviews
The runaway bestseller about the ultimate reality show The year is 2025. The Running Man is America's favorite television game show. Ben Richards is the program's latest contestant-and the Hunters' latest target in a rigged game of death. ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Signet Book (first published May 1st 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Running Man, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Thomas J Jameson Very good book! Read it in one go! Тhe action takes place relatively quickly and your interest is confined till the last page!
Joseph I would say it is not like a horror book with some supernatural element or demonic like entity such as an evil clown. The plot of the book is about a …moreI would say it is not like a horror book with some supernatural element or demonic like entity such as an evil clown. The plot of the book is about a man who decides to join a game show to earn money for his wife and daughter. The game show, though is about the man being chased after by law enforcement, hunters, and society wanting to turn you in if they find you in order to kill the person. The book can be scary for people who have paranoia or anxiety thinking they are being watched. It is more of a scare about the boogeyman of big brother/government and continuous gap of socioeconomic status in society.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  113,295 ratings  ·  3,959 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Running Man
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I ended up reading this book in one day!

Fast-paced action pack book that will keep you on adrenaline. Would recommend!
Luca Ambrosino
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
English (The Running Man) / Italiano

While I am enjoying the sci-fi / dystopia of acclaimed TV series such as "Black Mirror" or "The Handmaid's Tale", the novel "The Running Man" falls into my lap. The fact is that this novel inspired the 1987 movie of the same name. And the fact is that I am one of the few that loved that movie. Therefore, I immediately buy the novel. Stephen King wrote it in his "Bachman" phase, maybe it's a minor novel. No matter, I bought it... and thank God!

The concept of re

Mario the lone bookwolf
Gladiator games, dystopic government systems controlled by consumerism and companies promoting slaughter fun, and the beginning of the debate who reinterpreted what fuse to a piece of literary history.

One of my favorite, sick, and inhuman Sci-Fi tropes tuned to perfection by the young master himself, and I also don´t know who stole what, but this is definitively the first version of it and that speaks for itself, sorry Battle Royale and Hunger Games. On the other hand, there might be elder novel
After The Most Dangerous Game, there was The Running Man

Before The Hunger Games, there was The Running Man

After 1984, there was The Running Man

Before reality TV, there was The Running Man

This is a disturbing and enthralling cautionary tale predicted by our fore fathers, seen in new dystopian novels, and becoming all too real in this age of political turmoil, social media, and reality overload.

One of King’s early novels under his Pseudonym Richard Bachman, he mentions in the foreward that it has
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Stephen King’s 1982 novel, published under the pen name of his darker alter ego Richard Bachman, describes a feral dystopian landscape where over population, under employment, financial segregation of society along cultural and class lines and woefully deficient in fundamental healthcare has led to an almost Roman decadence of survival games and cheap entertainment for the pitiful masses. King’s malnourished and desperate Ben Richards is nothing like the character played by Arnold Sch
Henry Avila
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The future for Mr. Ben (Benjamin ) Richards is not grand, not bright in the year 2025 it's dreary, the economy has sunk the poor are poorer, the harsh government doesn't care they just want to rule. Stephen King writing in 1982 under the pen name Richard Bachman in order to have unbridled freedom from his reputation makes this novel as hopeless as possible for the sake of the plot, a not very accurate forecast of coming events yet entertaining, it remains be warned however, a no holds barred of ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, dystopia
Let me give you the most important information you need before you read this book:

Do not read the forward by Stephen King before you read the story!! He spoils his own book's ending in it!

Yeah, that really sucked because I knew what would eventually happen and it was so suspenseful that it would have been awesome to be kept wondering if this poor shlub would actually make it. But, even knowing what I unfortunately knew, I was still on the edge of my seat for the entire book. That Stephen King
Well now........This was not what I expected. AT. ALL.

THE RUNNING MANis not only different from the movie (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) but has a much deeper storyline and greater sense of desperation and hopelessness among the very interesting characters.

THE RUNNING MAN is still a TV Reality Show (broadcast on the Free-Vee) that survives by ratings and is still corrupt in its methods of revealing less than the truth to further incite wrong-doing by the participants and gain a greater audience.


Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Dan Schwent
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Think of this book as a mixture of The Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451. I really liked the futuristic theme and liked Ben Richards’ smug attitude. The movie adaption of this novel is quite good too and even has Arnold Schwarzenegger play as Ben Richards. If you’re looking for a short thriller book this is right up your alley.
Karl Marberger
A fast-paced Dickensian, Sci-Fi dystopia thriller. Perhaps too fast-paced. Not much character development or appreciable ambiance.
Kayla Dawn
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Yeeeeeeah I don't know. Not his best work.

I was bored most of the time and I feel like a lot of things just worked out for the protagonist out of luck (or simply because of our beloved plot device "deus ex machina" - which is kind of funny because King talks about that in his book "Misery").

I actually liked the ending though, which he sucks at most of the time so that's good lol - and I'll forever adore his writing style!
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'In 2025 the best men don't run for president, they run for their lives'.

Think Hunger Games on a grander scale but less than 300 pages and your get an idea how epic this adventure is.

Absolutely loved this super fast paced dystopian. Totally rooted for Ben from the first page and the ending has me screaming! Ah the satisfaction.

This will go down as one of my favourite SK books. Five stars.
DNF @ 45%

I do not know why but this was such a torture to read. This is not a terrible book, but on the other hand, I had a really hard time concentrating on it. The plot didn't intrigue me enough to actually know the story and be invested in it. Plus, I didn't like the main character, he was boring for me.
I hope this book will find its readers, but it's surely not me.
Montzalee Wittmann
The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Pseudonym), Stephen King is one of the few Stephen King books I somehow managed to miss or get sidetracked from reading. I decided I really wanted to change that!😁 This book reminds me of 21st century gladiators and something that the bloodthirsty TV consumers would really enjoy a show like this if it was legal! Very interesting book and a close look at the inner darkness of man.
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Running Man completes my read of the four early Bachman Books. What a fine way to go out. We’ve all seen the movie (well, maybe only us older GR folk). Schwarzenegger uses some wit and the muscles to survive the death match game show that is The Running Man. Once again, the movie is the reason I never bothered to read the book, and once again I made a mistake by not doing so. Hint: They changed the story.

Some aspects of the book found their way into the movie. A bit of the persona that is Be
With rumours of real Hunger Games being played out in Siberia, I found this sickeningly scary in its implications.

Beware of governments who will make it compulsory to watch dystopian TV

BBC report 6/12/2017

Description: 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
Vicki Willis
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2016
I loved this book. I know I saw the movie years ago, but I don't know if I ever read the book. It was a fast paced book full of action. I was feeling tense for the main character the whole time. The futuristic setting and societal make up was interesting to me. The ending was a surprise for me and it was a perfect end to the book. A 5 star read for me! ...more
The year is 2025. The world is a mess. The job market is virtually nonexistent. Unless, that is, you want to be on a game show run by the corrupt government.

This is exactly what Ben Richards does. His daughter is sick. Not just sick, but deathly ill. Tired of his wife having to whore herself out- quite literally- he decides to stand in line at the local welfare agency hoping to be selected for a gameshow.

Ben is an asshole, though. He says what is on his mind. He makes bold statements about the
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The incredible mind of Stephen King on full display in this nearly forty year old prescient classic. 8 of 10 stars
Edward Lorn
The only part of this book I enjoy is the final bit, aboard the...well, spoilers. But that's it. The entirety of this book is a bore up until that point. Typical of the Bachman books this one is bleak and nihilistic, which is usually my jam, but perhaps my view was changed by reading all four of these early novels back to back over three months. Was it too much despair too close together? Who knows? It's my third time through these four early novels and easily my least favorite experience of the ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Richard Bachman and I are not friends.
I read this Bachman Book years ago when it was released in a compilation edition called The Bachman Books (along with Rage, The Long Walk and Roadwork). I have never seen the movie version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger made in the 80s. But after finding a copy of this book with a movie tie-in cover, I've arranged to borrow a DVD of The Running Man. Before watching the movie, I decided to re-read the short book. I'm glad I did.

The Running Man is basically the story of a man desperate to bring i
Valliya Rennell
3.75 stars

As I continue on my quest to read all the King books in order, I am pleased to announce that I actually finished another one! The last two I read (or attempted to), Cujo and Roadwork, I had to DNF because I couldn't stand them. The Running Man, reanimated me in making me want to continue the reading. We follow Ben Richards, a poor man, as he joins a TV show where for every day he survives while being on the run in a futuristic USA, he will get a certain amount of money that he wants to
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
This was thumping good fun!

This is probably the fastest I've ever paged through a King novel. King said this is also the fastest he's ever written a novel. He wrote it in the space of a week-long vacation. Impressive.

I'd say The Running Man veers slightly away from the typical King novel. Most King novels are fleshed out, the characters really developed over time, and the novels themselves quite lengthy. But The Running Man is fast paced right from the beginning. Yet, even with that in mind, you
Ashley Daviau
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about King’s work as Bachman but I’ve quite enjoyed each one I’ve read so far. This one definitely isn’t my favourite out of the gang but it was excellent nonetheless! I really enjoy the rawness that you get when King writes as Bachman, it draws me in every time! My only minor complaint about this story is the ending, it’s not quite how I was hoping it would end but it was an intriguing ending anyways.
Johann (jobis89)
"In the year 2025, the best men don't run for President, they run for their lives..."

The Running Man is a story set in a dystopian United States in the year 2025. In order to obtain money to cover his sick daughter's health costs, Ben Richards takes part in a game show called The Running Man, wherein the contestant is allowed to run anywhere as a pack of "Hunters" chase them and try to kill them within a certain time frame.

The Running Man is the first Bachman novel I've read and I felt like I co
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**The Stephen King Goodreads Discussion Group is doing a re-read of his works from the beginning to the end. It’s been a long time since I have really immersed myself in Uncle Stevie’s world, but a rate of a book a month, I am all in. My goal is to read and review each one with as much honesty and reflection that I can give. **

Background – “The Running Man” was originally published under his well-known pseudonym of Richard Bachman as a paperback original in 1982. My paperback copy of “The Bachm
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.0 Stars
In this dystopian, King imagined a near-future society, filled with pollution and poverty, that felt terrifyingly possible. Before the age of reality tv, King accurately predicted a world where society is entertained by the desperation of people who need money. While the premise of this story was quite bleak, the narrative was fast paced and absolutely engaging. I was hooked in from the very first chapter.   
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Missing ISBN 1 6 Jan 25, 2021 10:33AM  
Stephen King Fans: The Running Man - Book 13 50 165 May 15, 2020 08:34AM  
Club literario: 10ª lectura: EL FUGITIVO (10.09.2018-04.11.2018) 117 88 Aug 25, 2019 01:19PM  
Play Book Tag: The Running Man by Stephen King (Richard Bachman) - 3 stars 7 26 Jul 16, 2018 07:23AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cujo
  • Christine
  • Cycle of the Werewolf
  • Firestarter
  • Different Seasons
  • Misery
  • The Dead Zone
  • The Tommyknockers
  • The Dark Half
  • The Mist
  • Night Shift
  • Carrie
  • Skeleton Crew
  • The Talisman (The Talisman, #1)
  • One Past Midnight: The Langoliers
  • Danse Macabre
  • The Green Mile: The Screenplay
  • 'Salem's Lot
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

Science fiction and fantasy are the go-to genres for writers—and readers!—who like to explore the wilder borderlands of contemporary fiction....
117 likes · 35 comments
“In the year 2025, the best men don't run for president, they run for their lives. . . .” 100 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.” 37 likes
More quotes…