Sunday, May 19, 2013

So You Like The Hunger Games?

About a year ago I finally gave in to the hype and ended up reading The Hunger Games. Though the prose didn't blow me away, I thought the book was well plotted and entertaining. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games but aren’t sure what to read next, here are some suggestions based on some opinions you may have had after finishing the series.

I totally think Gogo Yubari would whip Katniss’ ass.

Me too. I mean she was thisclose to taking care of the bride in Kill Bill. The actress who plays Yubari, Chiaki Kuriyama, is in the film version of Battle Royale, a novel by Koushun Takami which is basically the earlier, more violent, Japanese version of The Hunger Games.

You know this whole forcing teenagers to kill each other is so distasteful. I wish they were volunteers or something.

Then you’ll want to read Stephen King’s The Long Walk, the gold standard in the teenagers fight to the death game show genre. One hundred volunteers start walking along the United States eastern seaboard at the Maine/Canada border. They have to maintain a pace of 4 miles per hour. If they fall under that mark they receive a warning (which can be reset to zero if they walk for another hour without falling below 4 mph). Once they receive 3 warnings if they fall under 4 mph again they are shot and killed. Once the long walk is started there are no breaks for sleeping, eating, or bathroom breaks... they keep walking until only one walker is left alive. The participants are not allowed to physically harm each other... but oh the mental gamesmanship is awesome. How this hasn’t been made into a film yet I have no idea.

I love all the blood and guts and even the forced participation is fun. But the age of the participants makes me feel bad.

No worries I’ve got you covered. In fact, you can stay right here with Stephen King with another story in The Bachman Books, The Running Man. Though the novel itself is fine, I highly recommend the movie, as you get not only Arnold Schwarzenegger but also former Family Feud host Richard Dawson egging on the bloodlust of the viewing audience. That blue haired freak in The Hunger Games couldn’t hold Dawson’s jockstrap.

You know I just don’t like the game show aspect. Can’t we just throw a bunch of kids into a desperate situation and see what they do by themselves? Surely they’ll all get along and build a new society right?

Well I suggest you take a trip back to sophomore year and check out Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In this novel a plane crash leaves a group of boys stranded on a deserted island without any supervision. Despite their English pedigree their attempt at creating a new civilization on the island slowly but surely descends into delicious chaos. Don’t worry about the symbolism bullshit crammed down your throat by your English teacher. Yes we get that the gradual destruction of Piggy’s glasses reflect the gradual disintegration of civilization amongst the boys. That ain’t what we're here for. On one side we’ve got Ralph and on another side we’ve got Jack. Let’s get it on! FEED THE BEAST!

I’m having a hard time visualizing all the blood and guts. Hunger Games would have been better with some illustrations. Give me some comic books!

Well there’s this obvious Hunger Games rip-off called Avengers Arena where Arcade, formerly a D-level bad guy, turns into a bad ass and kidnaps members of Avengers Academy, the Runaways, Braddock Academy, Darkhawk, etc. and forces them to fight to the death.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Those dingbats killed my favorite character!

Well then I have to recommend Strikeforce Morituri, a late 1980s Marvel comic book with the tagline: We Who Are About to Die!. The storyline revolved around an alien race known as the Horde that had invaded and basically conquered Earth. Humanity's only hope was the Morituri process, a process that would grant a person superpowers. However, the Morituri process also causes that person to die within a year (on average... a person could last longer or go quicker). Thus, one could gain the power to save humanity but at the cost of their own life. This lead to great stories as the heroes struggled with the fact that they were mortal and could literally die at anytime. The cast was constantly revolving due to the deaths and the creative team never failed at creating new and intriguing heroes, who gave their lives to fight the Horde.There are a TON of comics book storylines that follows The Hunger Games formula. Contest of Champions. Secret War. Almost anything that happens in the Mojoverse. The X-Force/New Warriors crossover called Child’s Play. Contest of Champions II. Marvel vs. DC. Planet Hulk. Inevitably Thor jobs.

Hunger Games had too many damn characters. Let’s get rid of the red shirts and get down to business. One dude hunting another dude. That’s what I want! And make it quick! I’ve got a short attention span and no time!

Then you have to check out this short story by Richard Connell called The Most Dangerous Game first published in 1924. A big game hunter by the name of Sanger Rainsford is shipwrecked on an island and soon finds that he himself is being hunted.

Ya know I really don’t even like reading and barely got through The Hunger Games. Any TV Shows?

Well in the ‘90s there was a TV show called Sliders, where a group of 4 people (a physics student, his professor, his girlfriend, and a musician) are stuck traveling (i.e. sliding) from dimension to dimension.Like Quantum Leap but different worlds instead of different times. For example, one of their earliest slides takes them to a dimension where the Soviet Union won the Cold War. In the first episode of the 3rd season the Sliders travel to a world where they find themselves competing in a televised game show where groups of teams try to make it to a sanctuary before other teams do. Along the way they face the dangers of the environment as well as the other teams trying to kill them.

Whoops, that was my bad. I meant any TV shows not starring the fat kid from Stand By Me.

Hey Jerry O’Connell is a stud muffin! You’ve gone too far! I’m out of here!

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