Revisiting The Running Man by Richard Chizmar
THAT WAS THEN…
I first read The Running Man in the fall of 1985, when the Plume omnibus edition of The Bachman Books was published. I was nineteen years old and laid up with torn ligaments in my ankle, an unfortunate lacrosse injury. I read a lot of books that autumn.
I remember The Running Man because I tore through it in a single day sitting outside in my parents’ screened-in back porch, a November breeze sighing in the trees that bordered our yard, falling leaves dancing just out of my reach.
Feeling sorry for myself was something I rarely did, but I remember my mindset that day, and if I wasn’t slipping into a dark hole of self-pity, I was pretty damn close. I was just coming off my sophomore year in college, a year that saw me earn All American status as a lacrosse midfielder and a scholarship to a Top 20 Division One university.
I had worked hard my first two college seasons to overcome a nagging knee injury, and now my ankle was a mess and I was hobbling around on crutches. It felt like I couldn’t catch a break.
Of course, I knew better, and it didn’t take long for common sense to make an appearance and kick me in the ass. A lot of things contributed to the quick rebound: my own stubborn nature, the support and encouragement of family and friends and teammates, and books like The Running Man.
As a lifelong fan of “man hunting man” stories such as “The Most Dangerous Game,” I knew that The Running Man was my kind of book just by glancing at the overly brief jacket copy:
Welcome to America in 2025 when the best men don’t run for President. They run for their lives…
Cheesy as hell, but that’s all I needed. » Read more