As a kid growing up in the late eighties/early nineties, my heart had a special place for the books of Stephen King and the action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can imagine, therefore, my enthusiasm for reading the book penned under King's pseudonym Richard Bachman. I'm not really sure how it has taken me this long to get and read a copy, but that time finally came. Let me start by confirming that the book has very little in common with the movie. No Lycra, no man mountain of a Lycra clad hero, no definitely no Lycra (as per below).
The protagonist and villain's names and the idea of a killer game show are about the only similarities that I could gauge - let's just say the interpretation was exceedingly loose.
Back to the novel, because that's why you're here right? Well it is a non stop action extravaganza. The short, staccato chapters drip with increasing tension and momentum and the finale is **potential spoiler** devastating.
The novel represents a vision of the nadir of reality tv - where contestants vie for their lives and death is presented as an amusement sport for the viewing public.
While I did miss Arnie's muscular hijinks, the novel is certainly more thrilling and cerebral than the film's amusing script. This has it all, corruption, drama, love, misery, tension and violence.
5 out of 5, working up a sweat from all that running