The Bachmann Books by Stephen King 📚 BOOK REVIEW

I read a hardback version of The Bachman Books.

Genre: Horror, fiction.

Publisher: Erid Press Inc. 

Originally published: May 22nd, 2019

Pages: 263 (paperback)

Synopsis by the publisher:

Rage

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

The Long Walk

In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple – maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings, and you’re out – permanently.

Roadwork

Barton Dawes’ unremarkable but comfortable existence suddenly takes a turn for the worst. Highway construction puts him out of work and simultaneously forces him out of his home. Dawes isn’t the sort of man who will take an insult of this magnitude lying down. His single-minded determination to fight the inevitable course of progress drives his wife and friends away while he tries to face down the uncaring bureaucracy that has destroyed his once comfortable life.

The Running Man

It is 2025 and reality TV has progressed to the point where people are willing to wager their lives in exchange for a chance at enormous wealth. Ben Richards is desperate – he needs money to treat his daughter’s illness. His last chance is entering a game show called The Running Man where the objective is to elude police and specially trained trackers for a month. The reward is a cool billion dollars. The catch is that everyone else on the planet is watching and willing to turn him in for a reward.

My thoughts:

First of all, I want to thank Alex Ochoa, the wonderful YouTube subscriber that sent me a hardback copy of this book! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was very excited to get my hands on the stories that Stephen King chose to publish under a pseudonym. This edition also has “Rage” in it which is a story that is no longer being printed. This is because a real-life event in 1998 was inspired by the book and Stephen King felt morally obliged to let the book die from the publishing world.

The typical Stephen King voice and references are definitely easy to spot when you already know that it is his work.
So let’s go through each of them, story by story.

Rage

The story of a young man named Charlie Decker who has been sent to the principal’s office because of an assault on a teacher. After that, he goes on a tirade in the school and holds a class hostage.

I thought it was interesting to read a story like this with the thoughts in mind of how often events like this take place nowadays. It’s equally as current now, and maybe even more so than it was back then. It is hard to try to set oneself in the shoes of someone who acts out in such an extreme way, and maybe even more interesting to see just how confusing it can all be inside the head of that person as well.
The story is one of slow-burning suspense and I thought it was quite interesting.

I can definitely understand why King felt it necessary to take it off the market, but in the same way, it seems like all the school shootings around are not specifically inspired by the literature that takes on that specific setting but more inspired by other events like them. Even so, I highly respect King’s decision to take the story out of print.
Rage was an interesting read, but it didn’t quite grab me.

The Long Walk

And what a long walk it was indeed! I have no idea why it took me what felt like forever to get through this story. It’s a really interesting story about the will to live. You have 100 boys setting out for The Walk where they have to hold a certain pace and always stay on their feet until there’s only one boy left who will win “the prize”.

It touches on some really good subjects of mental strain and mental health. Showcasing the way a mind can completely fall apart when it’s put under too much pressure. It’s also a take on a very conservative futuristic America.

It is a gruesome tale of staring death in the eye and trying to find the will to survive when everything feels hopeless. I also really enjoyed the friendships that we got to see between the contestants, as well as the rivalry. The pressure put on humans can bring out both the best and the worst in us all.

Roadwork

Roadwork tells the story of Mr. Dawes who has a lot of anger towards the new highway extension project in his town that forces him to move away from what has been his home for many years. We also get to know a lot of Dawes’s emotional hardships, and his unwillingness to let go of the past throughout this story.

We follow a man on a mission. A man who completely unravels.
Reading Roadwork is like watching a train crash in slow motion. You know it’s going to end in horror, but you just can’t look away. It’s a detailed and interesting journey of how a single thought or an idea can grow into something truly insane when fuelled by hate and unresolved issues.

I enjoyed it as much as I found it uncomfortable, but in a good way. If that makes any sense?

The Running Man

In The Running Man, we visit a dystopian US in 2025 where there’s a television game show that hunts its contestants to their death. Ben Richards joins the game show in the hope of winning enough money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter. The contestants earn $100 for every hour they stay alive, an additional $100 for each law enforcement officer or Hunter he kills, and a grand prize of $1 billion if he survives for 30 days.

It’s a suspenseful cat and mouse kind of story, with an interesting and mysterious countdown going on throughout that has you guessing.
I really enjoyed this story and found it to be the only one in the book where I felt like I was kept at the edge of my seat and did not want to put it down.
It touches on some interesting subjects of the economy and society. How far are we willing to go? How much are we willing to accept as entertainment instead of cruelty? How easily do we eat up the information fed to us by the media?

Again, this truly is a story of how horrible and selfish some people can be. I loved it!

Overall I found The Bachman Books to be a solid collection of good stories. It took me forever to get through them, but not because I didn’t enjoy them. I kind of wish that I would’ve read them as separate books instead of a collection. It might not have felt as intimidating as individual books.

💛If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission 💛

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