Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Constant Reading Project: The Bachman Books

The Bachman Books (contains Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man.)
Released: Oct. 4, 1985
Pages: 692
Screen adaptations: "The Running Man," starring Ah-nold, 1987.
Connections to other works: The name Ray Garraty, main character in The Long Walk, appears in Bag of Bones. Just the name, though.

These four books were individually released under King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman. This collection also includes the essay "Why I was Bachman," which is worth the read on its own.

In that introduction, King states that only The Running Man is really a horror novel. The others are suspense thrillers, but I think modern definitions of horror would allow them in. What I find most interesting is that two of the four are centered on reality TV-type game shows. (Nothing new under the sun.)

You might be asking why I am reading this now, as opposed to putting the individual books in their proper order (Rage, 1977; The Long Walk, 1979; Roadwork, 1981; and The Running Man, 1982). The answer is two-fold. The first reason is that Rage is King's only out of print book. So unless you have a few thousand bucks to lend me, this is the only way I can read this book. The second reason is that this is how I first read each of these books. Mentally, they belong together.

As I mentioned, Rage is out of print. It's about a high school kid taking his algebra class hostage and killing a couple teachers. After a school shooting in which the suspect had this book in his locker, King chose to let the book go out of print. So if you want it, the used or collector market is the only way to go. I imagine this would have been a tougher choice for King if Rage was a better book. After all, you don't copies of The Skeleton Crew without "Cain Rose Up," do you?

I will be reading a Signet paperback, clocking in at 923 pages. Seems long, but that's four books in one. Let's get it on.

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