Read the Short Story Hunger Games AND Battle Royale Ripped Off

Posted by Justin on April 26th, 2012

Prize of peril hunger games battle royale.jpg

Okay, that’s a deliberately provocative headline, I apologize.

But after all I’ve read pushing back on the popularity of the Hunger Games film and book series while citing the 1999 novel and 2000 film Battle Royale as the originator of the reality television kill show concept, it’s worth mentioning that either invented the idea.

Even The Running Man, penned by a scrappy author named Richard Bachman (Stephen King’s pseudonym), published in 1985 comes decades after the grand daddy of them all… Richard Sheckley’s The Prize of Peril, originally written in 1958.

It follows Jim Reader, a poor young truck driver’s assistant who takes on a career as a professional reality show contestant. The shows that pay the most are ones where you risk your life and where you could be forced to take the lives of other contestants.

He finds himself on the biggest of them all, The Prize of Peril.

A quick read, Peril deals with a lot of similar themes to Hunger Games (contestant as public inspiration, help from viewers, game manipulation) and just goes to show that as long as television game shows have existed, we’ve dreamed of killing each other on them.

Link to story at Arthur’s Classic Novels

  • Penguinempire

    Robert [corrected from my earlier post] Sheckley is brilliant! First learned about him from an article by Rudy Rucker, whose style is most closely comparable to Sheckley’s. I haven’t read The Prize of Peril, but I gotta now. Is Prize of Peril a short story or novel? Do’h it’s right there in the damn title of the article!! I’m a moron… but it’s Robert, not Richard Sheckley. I thought something was off about the name, wished I had checked. As I get older I find my mind has issues with recalling names quickly.