Amok (novel)

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Amok (in the original: Rage ) is a novel by the American author Stephen King , who was the first to be published under the pseudonym of the writer "Richard Bachman". It was published by the NAL publishing house in 1977 . The German translation by Joachim Honnef was only published by Heyne Verlag in 1988.


The novel is about the 17-year-old student Charlie Decker, who nearly killed his chemistry and physics teacher John Carlson with a wrench. During class the next day, Charlie is called to the principal Thomas Denver, who bans the student from class. Instead of leaving school, Charlie goes to his locker and gets a gun and ammunition. With two aimed shots, Charlie shoots the algebra teacher Mrs. Underwood and takes the students of the class hostage. As a result of this hostage-taking, the class itself develops into a kind of therapy group. Charlie engages the class in an interpersonal game of cat and mouse; for example, the mother of the class crush is exposed as an alcoholic. After Charlie also shot the history teacher Vance, he ended the hostage situation and surrendered to the police, who took him to a hospital because of mental illness.

Origin and Effect

Stephen King began work on the novel in the summer of 1965, which explains the similarity to the 1968 short story "Kain Aufbegehren" (published in the short story collection "The Song of the Dead"). Stephen King initially planned to release the plot under the title "Getting It On".

According to the "Great Lexicon of Stephen King", King had the novel removed from the American book market in October 2000 because the violence with firearms in schools in the USA was increasing and he feared a bad influence. This was preceded by the coverage of some American media after several school shootings, especially after the rampage at Columbine High School .

Gunmen were associated with the novel several times, for example Michael Carneal, who shot three classmates on December 1, 1997 , is said to have kept a paperback version of the novel in his locker . Barry Loukaitis, who shot two classmates and his algebra teacher, is even said to have quoted from the novel: "This sure beats algebra, doesn't it?" In the German translation it says at this point of the novel: “Mr. Decker, do you have permission? "-" Yes. "

With the novel "Amok", Stephen King also dealt with the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome , after all, Charlie developed into a hero or, as it is called in Stephen King's lexicon: "Dead Man Walking".

It can be traced back to an oversight by the NAL publishing house that the bookseller Stephen Brown came across the name "King" during his research into the copyright documents on Amok, which is why the novel "Amok" was largely only when Brown discovered the pseudonym "Richard Bachman" made possible.


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