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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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12 February 2014


Today I'm continuing my regular feature of reviewing Stephen King's books with 'The Bachman Books'. The title of this book refers to the author Richard Bachman - this is a pen-name King used to write books. The reason? According to Wikipedia, King suggested to publish books under a different name to his publisher as he did not want to over-expose the 'brand King', as it is common belief in the publishing world that an author should only bring out 1 book a year (I guess King had more to give :) Of course, it is also said that he wanted to see whether he could still sell books if people would not know that they were written by him, or if they are just selling because they have his name on it. Well, I'm not sure but I think they didn't become bestsellers. Eventually, fans and people in the book business became suspicious that in fact, this Richard Bachman is Stephen King because of the similarity in writing style and also, because of hints dropped in the books (King is known for dropping hints and references to other books/characters in his books).


The Bachman Books contains the first 4 books he has written under the Bachman-alias:
  1. Rage (written 1977)
  2. The Long Walk (1979)
  3. Roadwork (1981)
  4. The Running Man (1982)





RAGE

Story of a High School Shooting (written long before they became -sadly- more commonplace). Charlie is a High School Student and when gets a gun from his locker, shoots two of his teachers and locks his classmates in the classroom. In the stand-off and negotiation which follows, just as the  'Stockholm Syndrome' , some of his classmates start to identify with him, and other students start to tell embarrassing secrets about themselves. Can there ever be a 'good ending' to a school shooting?





THE LONG WALK

Dystopian book at its best. Set in the near future. Fancy taking part in a marathon-style run /walk where the price is 'anything you could ever want for the rest of your life'? What if you have to keep walking until out of 100, there is only 1 left? What if you are never allowed to fall below 4 miles an hour and if you are, there are deadly consequences. Continue walking day and night, watched and cheered on. Physical and mental exhaustion and horror that is not bloods and guts, a the typical King-kind of horror. Parts of this must have influenced The Hunger Games me thinks. 



ROADWORK

Barton Dawes, a middle aged man, is fighting against the local town authorities and construction company against a motorway project which will see him lose his house. Whilst all neighbours have moved on and accepted compensation, Dawes is emotionally attached to his house since his son's death from cancer and cannot imagine living anywhere else, in fact he is prepared to go to any length and starts to lose his mind over the issue. Bureaucracy and politics, and how important is a human life amongst this. 
Noteworthy for me a as a King-fan was the fact that Dawes worked in an industrial laundry, and, of course, this is where young Stephen King worked as a young struggling author to support his young family. 



THE RUNNING MAN

Another dystopian book from Bachman, set in a near future and a wonderful parody on TV exposure and the need for entertainment at any cost, again, long before it was normal to discuss and acknowledge this. Richard is desperate for money and enlists into a TV show called The Running Man. For nothing other than entertainment, the contestants in this show are 'declared enemy of the state' and can be killed by hitman employed by the TV show, and their sole aim is to stay alive. He can earn $100 for every hour he avoids capture and/or stays alive and extra money if he kills. Dark stuff indeed. 
The movie of the same name with Arnold Schwarzenegger changes some elements but keeps to the main idea. 


If you are a King Fan it would be criminal not to have those on your shelf. If you have not yet read him, that I think those a re good ones to try, they are not too long and demonstrate excellently the King-kind of Horror.