I’m about a quarter of the way through The Hunger Games and am enjoying it so far. I’ve gotten past my initial reaction of “Hey, this is a watered down Battle Royale!” and have been thinking about the novel’s other antecedents, which are all novels that I enjoyed. I like what Collins is doing with their DNA.
Of course, I had to make a chart. And of course the chart got bigger ( I have gone back and added to it three times while writing this post). The simple progression above represents the stories and novels that share major plot points (a death lottery and government sanctioned child killing as mass entertainment). Let me stop right here and tell you to read Battle Royale. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d actually recommend that you skip it in favor of the novel. If you have seen the movie, read the novel. Now, I haven’t gotten to the actual killing part of The Hunger Games yet, but I feel safe in making an assumption that the violence is much more graphic in Battle Royale, so consider yourself warned.
The Long Walk is one of the pulp novels that Stephen King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and features kids being killed directly by the government rather than being forced to kill each other, so it’s slightly less horrific than Battle Royale. It’s a solid sci-fi/thriller hybrid by a gifted story teller.
Oh, and I can’t imagine anyone hasn’t read “The Lottery” but, if you haven’t, you can read it here.
As for the expanded chart, it includes a few novels, stories and movies that are definitely related to The Hunger Games, but not quite as strongly. And, yes, I realize I used a movie poster to represent “The Most Dangerous Game,” but the book covers were all really ugly and that poster is beautiful (and that pre-code movie is great). I also realize that Predator doesn’t really connect to The Hunger Games, but how can I have “The Most Dangerous Game” on there and not link it to Predator? How?
I also like how Richard Bachman has two novels on the chart and isn’t even a real person!