In a recent interview with the UK’s The Guardian, horror novelist Stephen King admitted that he’s not a fan of The Hunger Games. He told the paper that Suzanne Collins’ trilogy about a group of “game show contestants” that fight to the death is a “bit of a knock-off” of his 1982 novel The Running Man, and he didn’t feel the need to read on after the first book.
This is despite his review of the book to Entertainment Weekly in 2008, when he said he couldn’t wait to stick around for the rest of the series to find out what happens to Katniss. I guess writers are fickle creatures.
Anyway, can we get back to the idea that Stephen King thinks Suzanne Collins ripped off his story? I know you’re majorly successful, Mr. King, but you’re hardly the originator of every story concept in literary history.
There are some ideas that are just fascinating to humans, and we can’t get enough retellings. We love our rags-to-riches ‘Cinderella’ stories, and we love to root for the underdog. And for some reason, we are gripped by stories in which people are tasked with killing each other for entertainment or sport.
The man versus man archetype isn’t exactly new, Mr. King. Ever heard of The Most Dangerous Game or The Lottery?
It’s also interesting to note that in the same interview, King said that he's a fan of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, because in The Order of the Phoenix, it’s mentioned that a relative of Sirius Black’s wanted to pass a bill to make it legal to murder muggles. No mention if he felt that J.K. had ripped off the idea from one of his books.
Do you think The Hunger Games is a knock-off?
Image via Cedrick Ledesma/Flickr