(Found) Paperback, near future, read in 1980/81, walking race/competition where the slow are shot.

Boaz

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I picked up a small paperback from my school library around 1980. The story dealt with a teenage boy who volunteered (against his parents wishes) for a great walking competition. The grand prize was a huge amount of money and a wish.It was a nationally televised event run by an infamous army colonel who was legally bound to grant the wish. Once the race got under way, the walkers were followed by the colonel in a tank and a squad of soldiers. Any participant not keeping the pace would be shot dead. The teenager's main competition came from another boy who turned out to be the bastard son of the colonel. The bastard's greatest wish in life was for the colonel to acknowledge his paternity. The main teenager made friends and watched as they all succumbed, one by one, to the exhausting pace, lack of food, the need to defecate, and the inexorable bullets. The teen and the bastard were the final two left. And while the teen wanted the bastard to get his wish, he found his desire to survive was greater than his affinity for his new friend. When the bastard could go no further and he asked his father for mercy, the colonel shot him. The teen won, but lost his sanity.
 

HareBrain

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Argh, I could have got this! From now on I'm staying up all night obsessively clicking "new posts".

FWIW, this was one of the most disturbing stories I ever read.
 

Toby Frost

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I knew this one too! I've got all the Bachman books somewhere in a compilation. I really ought to read them.
 

Boaz

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@Wyrmlord Thank you! I never knew that was King.

I just read an online summary... obviously I misremembered a number of details.

With this success, maybe I'll post another.

Edit: By the way, did you guys know it was The Long Walk from the thread title or did you have to read my description?
 

HareBrain

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Edit: By the way, did you guys know it was The Long Walk from the thread title or did you have to read my description?
I'm guessing most people who'd read it would know it from the thread title. Even just the second half of the title.

It made such an impression on me that even though I only read it once, in my teens godknowshowmany years ago, I remember that the Colonel's son's name was Stebbings (or something like), and that it was the first time I ever encountered the terms charley-horse, (ahem) dry-humping, and "grade" used for a road incline.

I don't even remember so much about most books I read a month ago.
 

dannymcg

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I knew it just from the question title as well.
I'd read the slim paperback by Richard Bachman and was somewhat amazed a couple of years later to learn it was SK under a pseudonym
 

Toby Frost

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The Bachman stuff is pretty brutal, from what I gather. The Running Man is quite savage (it's pulpy and raw), and my edition contains Rage, a book about a shooting in a school that I think King has had removed in the USA.
 

Matteo

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Yes, from the title - a great story. I have the original pbk that includes the rather good Rage which is no longer available in single or collected editions. Roadwork is so-so, but The Running Man (which is nothing like the film) is better.
 

Wyrmlord

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The Bachman stuff is pretty brutal, from what I gather.
I always thought King's newer stuff didn't meet the horror hype he usually gets. I never touched his older stuff, especially as Bachman. Are they more brutal, as you say? I'd be interested to read more.
 

Rodders

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I remember this story. It was pretty good. Deathrace 2000 for Pedestrians. :)
 

Toby Frost

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I've not read all of them, but from what I can tell they don't seem to have King's usual concern with the wholesomeness of "normal life", small-town America and so on. They seem to be more lurid and "nasty".
 
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