Thursday, 26 August 2010

Rage (Richard “Stephen King” Bachman)


RagebachmanRage is currently out of print and its Author has no intention of changing that. Rage is a book that has been allowed to quietly die.

How did I read it? Well it still exists in those archaic “library” things and mine just happened to have a copy of The Bachman Books including Rage.

Stephen King is a hugely prolific writer, so prolific that his publishers were concerned that he would flood his own market, align this with Kings own curiosities about luck and talent and you have the perfect excuse for a pen-name. Richard Bachman was intended to be this anonymous face. With a background of his own it was the perfect cover, King was now releasing books under two names, King books were hardback and publicised and Bachman was his bastard offspring languishing in the pulp racks, books equivalent of straight to video.

After a few books people began to draw parallels between the two persona and shortly before the release of Misery which was intended to be by Richard a wily reported tracked down a link to King in the copyright of the book Thinner. The cover was blown. Stephen never really got his answer. Bachman HAD been a success but how much… well it was unclear.

Anyway back to Rage. Its a very raw book and obviously a very early one in the King canon. Stylistically, like the brushstrokes of an artist, it is undeniably Stephen Kings work. However it feels rather…young. The plot revolves around the story of a high school student who shoots and imprisons here peers and teachers, using then in an elaborate mind game and soul finding exercise.

Obviously there is the crux of its availably problem. Given Americans propensity to shoot each other a ban would seen sensible. To be honest I don’t agree. I still do not believe that media affects violence. After all we were killing each other years ago before ANYONE could read at all!

However the ban isn’t such a bitter pill when you consider that it really isn’t that great a book. It is slow and rather dull really lacking the spark of Stephen King. His characters seem flat and poorly realised, something very unusual, and no empathy is ever really built up. The story isn’t really that good.

Its direct successor The Long Walk however…

Paul out.

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