People love to complain that Battle Royale was the original of The Hunger Games. True, both of the stories have similarities: Teenagers being forced to kill each other until one stands as the living victor within a secluded ‘battleground’. BA was published in 1999, HG was published in 2008. However, there is a book that was written before either of these dystopian realities. 20 years prior, Stephen King under the pen name Michael Bachman wrote The Long Walk that was published in 1979.
Every May there is a lottery where boys enter their names. 100 are selected to embark on a walking contest until one of them remains. This last survivor is crowned the winner. The winner of the contest receives whatever he wants for the rest of his life.
There are similarities to BR and HG: it’s set in a futuristic time period, technology is used to determine that the boys are walking more than 4 mph at all times and if they try to leave the road they get shot.
Thrilling and horrific, The Long Walk precedes these books that have rocked the world with their cruelty and grief. King, the master of terror has paved the way with this book that was before it’s time. Can King write YA? With this book I think the proof is more than exceptional.