Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Bachman Books

I just finished reading a collection of books that Stephen King wrote under the name "Richard Bachman". I found them all to be depressing, and not exciting like I have found other books of his to be. For me, Stephen King doesn't match up to Dean Koontz for a just plain good book. That's not to say that I don't enjoy his writing, because I do, I read "Duma Key" a few weeks ago and it was great!

The three books included in this compilation were:

The Long Walk
The Running Man

My favorite of the three was The Long Walk. It dealt with an alternate reality (I think it was intended to be the future when it was written, as was The Running Man) in which contestants competed in a contest that was no more than "let's see how long you can walk without stopping" except if you slow down or stop, you get shot. I think if the stories had been in a different order, I wouldn't have read the rest. All of these boys are walking, knowing that they will all die, except for one, whoever wins, and they talk and get to know each other etc. They drop off one by one. It was grisly, but not so much that I put down the book. I felt there were quite a few loose ends that were never tied up, but not so much that It made me angry.

Next up was Roadwork, a story that showed me how we have learned nothing. It took place during the gas/energy crisis of the 1970's. But, that was only the setting. The protagonist was a man whose house was scheduled for demolition in order to build a highway. Bypasses have to be built, that's how it is. It drove him insane. It was pretty good too, but made me angry about the gas stuff. Which, by the way, if oil is at $96, why are the stations here in Indiana still charging over $4 a gallon. I think it's gouging. But since it's everybody, I don't know what to do.

Last was The Running Man. In this future, a large part of the population has been relegated to ghettoes, and life is bad. The only way out seems to be to risk your life in the reality show like games that air on the free vee. So, the protagonist goes down, registers himself and find himself in the biggest and most dangerous game, one where he runs for his life, and is paid for every hour he survives. This one got to me the worst, because it seems too much like real life sometimes. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class disappears. All anyone ever does is watch television shows in which people risk their lives for less reward than you'd expect. Thinking about it gets me back down in the dumps. HEy, people out there! Tell me it's not that bad!!

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