»Running Man« – von Sheckley bis Bachmann

Running Man - Synopse
Synopse: Die besprochenen Texte und Filme im Vergleich als Infografik [PDF]

Trailer zum Film und seinen Vorgängern in umgekehrter chronologischer Abfolge

Running Man (USA 1987) – trailer english, remasterd version
Running Man – deutscher Trailer
«Le prix du danger» (Frankreich 1983)
[deutscher Titel: »Kopfjagd – Preis der Angst«]
»Das Millionenspiel« (1070) – Trailer


„The Price of Peril“ (1958) von Robert Sheckley
ist in Originalfassung (engl.) zum Nachlesen online verfügbar.

Robert Sheckleys Kurzgeschichte „The Seventh Victim
(später umbenannt u. auch als Film adaptiert unter dem Titel „The 10th Victim„)
ist als Hörspiel-Adaption auf Youtube verfügar

Das Millionenspiel (1970) – ganzer Film, auf Youtube verfügbar

Entstehen und Inspiration, Vergleiche

Robert Sheckleys Kurzgeschichte „The Prize of Peril“ von 1958
hieß auf Deutsch zunächst »Der Tod spielt mit«.
In einer Anthologie von 1988 findet sie sich jedoch als erste Geschichte
unter dem gleichen Titel wie der deutsche Films von 1970: »Das Millionenspiel«

Unter dem Pseudonym Richard Bachmann erschien
Steven Kings Roman „The Running Man“ im Jahr 1982.
Auf Deutsch wurde er veröffentlicht unter dem Titel

Stephen King sagt in „On Writing“, dass die originalen vier Bachmann-Bücher vor Carry entstanden sind. Veröffentlich wurden sie dann: Carry (1974)

Und nach dem Erfolgen seine alten Entwürfe unter Bachmann:

Rage (1977)
The Long Walk (1979)
Roadwork (1981)
The Running Man (1982)

Es ist also theoretisch möglich, dass „The Running Man“ vor „The Prize of Peril“ geschrieben wurde.

According to King’s 2002 memoir On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he wrote The Running Man within a single week, compared to his normal 2,000-word or ten-page daily output—so that writing a novel normally takes approximately three months.[3] In „The Importance of Being Bachman“, a new introduction to the 1996 edition of The Bachman Books, King describes The Running Man as „a book written by a young man who was angry, energetic, and infatuated with the art and the craft of writing.“

In the same introduction King describes Ben Richards as „scrawny“ and „pre-tubercular“. He observes that Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Ben Richards in the film adaptation of The Running Man, portrayed the character very differently than he wrote about him in the book, saying that Richards (in the book) was „as far away from the Arnold Schwarzenegger character in the movie as you can get.


Bob Sheckley told me he was surprised at Running Man because it was so close to The Prize of Peril. Sheckley said King was apparently a fan of his, so I asked Bob how he handled it. He said he wrote out a list of all the similarities between the two stories and then called King on the phone. He said King was surprised and said he didn’t remember reading The Prize of Peril. Sheckley really had nowhere to go after that and the conversation was over. Sheckley didn’t characterize King as a thief or as not as nice guy, but he told me King probably read it and forgot about it, and then was too embarrassed because he’d accidentally stolen from Sheckley, a writer he liked.


The late Robert Sheckley was one of science fiction’s premiere satirists and humorists, rivaled for that title only by Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams (who was himself clearly influenced by Sheckley), and he was more prolific than either of them, particularly at shorter lengths, turning out hundreds of short stories over the course of his fifty-three year career. Sheckley sold his first novel, Immortality, Inc., in 1958, and followed it up over the years with other novels such as Dimension of Miracles, Mindswap, The Status Civilization, Journey Beyond Tomorrow, Watchbird, Journey of Joenes, The 10th Victim, Hunter/Victim, Victim Prime, and Godshome. He has also written five mystery novels as Stephen Dain, three „Hob Draconian“ mysteries under his own name, a Babylon 5 novel, and three novels in collaboration with Roger Zelazny, Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming, A Farce to Be Reckoned With, and If at Faust You Don’t Succeed. His many short stories have been collected in Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?, Citizen in Space, Notions: Unlimited, The People Trap and Other Pitfalls, Pilgrimage to Earth, Shards of Space, The Robot Who Looked Like Me, Untouched by Human Hands, and others. His last book was a massive retrospective collection, The Masque of Manana. He was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2001. He died in 2005.

Two of his most famous stories, „The Seventh Victim“ and the story that follows, „The Prize of Peril,“ predicted the twin crazes of reality TV and Adventure Gaming more than forty years before they actually came into existence—and still bear palpable stings in their sleek and shiny tails even to this very day.

Quelle: Vorwort zu
Robert Sheckley: The Prize of Peril

Ben Richards, der magere, schwindsüchtige Pro ta-gonist von Menschenjagd (er ist ungefähr so weit von der im Film durch Arnold Schwarzenegger verkörperten Figur entfernt wie überhaupt möglich), knallt mit seinem ent-führten Flugzeug gegen den Wolkenkratzer von Network Games, nimmt seinen eigenen Tod in Kauf, reißt aber Hun-derte (vielleicht Tausende) von leitenden Free-Vee-Angestell-Regulator.indd9Regulator.indd 920.12.201013:58:19Uhr20.12.2010 13:58:19 Uhr10ten mit in diesen Tod: Das ist Richard Bachmans Version von einem Happy End.

»Was es bedeutet, Bachman zu sein«
– von Stephen King“, Prolog von »Menschenjagt«
„Running Man“Film und Romanvorlage im Vergleich [engl.]

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The SFFaudio Podcast #422
The Running Man by Stephen King and The Prize Of Peril by Robert Sheckley (engl.)

Weiterführende Links

The Running Man TV:
How Dystopian ICS Programming Compares to What’s On Now


The Story behind the Making of Running Man (weminoredinfilm.com)

Basierend auf Sheckleys Kurzgeschichte gibt es ein Textadventure, verfügbar zum Download auf heise.de

Geplante Neuverfilmung: Edgar Wright To Direct Stephen King’s ‘The Running Man’
(Deadline.com February 19, 2021 12:03PM)

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