Original language: English
Original title: The running man
Translation: Hernán Sabaté Vargas
Year of publication: 1985
Valuation: Recommended if you are not expecting a horror story

First of all, comment that this novel was one of those that Stephen King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, perhaps in an attempt to get away from the horror novels that have given him so much success.

And what does the well-known author propose to us here? Well, it is true that this is not a “scary book” in the vein of Misery o Itbut it is also true that good old King does not do much to hide his true identity: the world of the novel is an agonizing and dying scene where there is no room for hope.

We move away from supernatural horrors and find ourselves in a dystopian future in which television (freevision) has emerged as a totem of false hopes and the only escape route for the substitute life that most people lead. But of course, not television as we know it: an evil, perverted and morbid version that plays with the lives of the contestants for the delight of the poor devil viewers; Although seen this way, the truth is that it does sound like ours… anyway.

Ben Richards – played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film adaptation, probably the actor with the physique that could worst fit the character – is a poor man with a wife forced by circumstances to prostitute herself and a sick little girl whom he doesn’t care about. can afford the drugs; the classic stereotype of a loser (in the “good” sense, a person who never had a chance) that takes us back to King’s most recognizable works. Pressed by circumstances, and bordering on an already quite pronounced nihilism, he decides to enter one of the wildest but also most rewarding contests in freevision: The Fugitive.

This program is a kind of Battle Royale a little uneven: All against one. The contestant must stay alive as long as possible while the entire society chases him. The more free time, the more money for the family – it is assumed that no contestant can survive.

Well, Ben, fed up, angry with the world, knowing that he is not going to get out of the test alive, decides to give it his all: he begins a suicidal adventure that leads him to break the contest’s duration records and an unexpected ending (not so unexpected, if you have a little intuition) that will leave its mark on the history of librevisión.

Once the argument has been outlined, I believe that the issues to be discussed are more than clear: the most obvious, the alleged alienation produced by television and the media (King was not able to foresee the Internet, I don’t blame him), the class struggle , the conspiracy, and the rebellion of the antihero who seeks justice in a world where there is – there can be – no place for it. Nothing new under the sun, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad; It is very difficult to be original.

It is a quick and short novel, without major significance, interesting for those who want to see Stephen King outside of his usual scope – although as I say, not so outside as not to recognize him – and interesting, of course. But it’s no wonder. I can only recommend it to those fans of the evil genie from Maine who don’t mind leaving the horror genre for a short time, but not too far.

Everything by Stephen King reviewed in ULAD here.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/05/stephen-king-el-fugitivo.html

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