Stephen King Slams 'Hunger Games' for Being a 'Knock Off' -- Pfft!

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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

books, celebrity, celebrity gossip, harry potter, hunger games, interviews, movies, people

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EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

An absolute total knock off, not only of that but also of battle royale.

Taisie Taisie

Totally my thought too! When I watched "The Hunger Games" I was immediately brought back to the first time I read "The Running Man" by Steven King. I believe it was originally a short story in one of his "Bachman" books. I could be wrong though, it was so long ago! I read it the first time in 1986 I believe. Trust me, it is one of those stories that once you read it, you can never "unread it."

Taisie Taisie

Ooohh.. now that I read your article again, I realize that the book in question is "The Running Man". I was thinking it was "The Long Walk", and now that I think more on it, Suzanne Collins’ "The Hunger Games", is such a perfect mix of "The Running Man" and "The Long Walk". 


I do think that both Steven King and Suzanne Collins may have been influenced somewhat by "The Lottery". It was required reading in my Junior year of high school, and our teacher also played an old black and white short movie of it for us.


Wow, this post has been such a walk down "memory lane"! Good times!

keelh... keelhaulrose

A lot of stories don't have totally original plots (how many stories can be likened to Romeo and Juliet?) That doesn't mean they're bad. Heck, Wicked was, in essence, a work of fanfiction, and look at how great that turned out!

Todd Vrancic

My wife read "The Hunger Games" trilogy once, and said that once was enough.  The theme, as she described it, was very disturbing, and not original, but I doubt it was a ripoff of "The Running Man."  Mr. King is entitled to his opinion, though.  That sort of story has been told often before.

nonmember avatar m

actually the article is incorrect. what mr king stated is that the hunger games is a very similar to a short story he did called the long walk. It was published under an alias as richard bachman and can be found in "The backman books". The story is about teenage boys forced to compete against each other until only one is left alive

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

to quote one of my college creative writing professors: "Every story that has to be told, has been.  It's the way they are told that remains new."

nonmember avatar Emmie

Hahaha that's so stupid. There were Gladiators in 216 BCE. Not what you'd call a new concept.

Emmie25 Emmie25

Not A Big Fan Of Steven King. I Did Like The Hunger Games. Obviously Not Original But Entertaining.

Danny Hall

Funny that the writer took "bit of a knock off" and turned it into Mr King saying that the story is a rip off. Really, anyone who has read his works would likely realize the similarities of Hunger Games to both his Long Walk and Running Man stories. It is very much like she morphed the two, picked out her favorite elements and went with it.

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