The Long Walk is one of five books published by Stephen King under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. The book was first submitted for publication in 1967 but went unpublished until after King’s success with such novels as Carrie (1974). King himself has said, in the preface to the Signet paperback edition of The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King (1985), that the book is “full of windy psychological preachments (both textual and subtextual),” but he also says there is a lot of story in the book. The Running Man (1982, filmed in 1987), another of the Bachman books, also involves a futuristic “gaming” event. In that book, the premise is a televised manhunt in which contestants must try to stay alive for thirty days.
The subtle horror in The Long Walk may resonate with the reader long after the reading, in spite of the “preachments.” King is noted for horrifying elements and gimmicks in his novels, but the most horrifying element in this book is, perhaps, the straightforward, matter-of-fact way in which the material is presented. The first shooting of a walker may jolt the reader. Until this point, the walkers have referred to the possibility of a walker “getting his ticket” without specifying what that means.
At no point in the book does King explain the genesis of the Long Walk. Other than glimpses of the totalitarian regime governing the United States, readers are not...
(The entire section is 346 words.)
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