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About charles_richter

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  1. charles_richter

    Episode 163 - The Running Man

    Stephen King's book owes a great deal to the 1958 short story "The Prize of Peril," by Robert Sheckley, who had been playing around with the idea of legal hunter/hunted games for a few years. In his 1953 story "The Seventh Victim," anyone could join a game that would match you with a random hunter, who would be tasked with finding and killing you. If you survived (by killing your hunter), you got the chance to be a hunter yourself for a random prey. (If they filmed this today, there would surely by a Tinder-style app to make the matches.) "The Seventh Victim" was expanded into a series of three novels and adapted a a film starring Ursula Andress. But "The Prize of Peril" added the element of live television to the hunt genre, and eerily predicted elements of reality television. The protagonist has already survived other, less-lethal programs such as race-car driving, bull fighting, and a man-shark battle royale. He finally competes in the big show, in which he is hunted down in a city by trained killers. Meanwhile, "good samaritans" can help him out with supplies or intel--an idea later lifted for Hungee Games. The whole game plot, though, is almost exactly what Stephen King used in the novella. And finally, the end of the King's book is even more amazing than how it was described on the podcast: Ben Richards not only crashes the plane into the network building with his intestines hanging out, but he flies it right into Killian's office window. Killian looks up to see the plane coming at him--and through the windshield, Richards grinning and giving him the finger.