Tuesday, July 17, 2007

07.09 Escape From New York by Mike McQuay

Escape From New York (1981) by Mike McQuay
Pbk, Bantam, 181 p.

I finally found a copy of this book after searching forever. I don't generally read movie novelizations but I kept hearing good things about this one.

It actually turns out to be a lot of fun. I don't need to go into the plot so much because I am sure most people have seen the movie. What the novel does primarily is flesh out the character of Hauk (the warden, played by Lee Van Cleef in the movie) and his relationship to Snake. It turns out they both fought in Leningrad during World War III and share the same nihilist perspective. Hauk dislikes his job but realizes that sending Snake in to rescue the President is his only option and a fortuitous one, at that.

There is also a great sequence at the beginning of the book where Snake has robbed the Federal Reserve Despository and results in a great chase scene and ultimately his capture. The novel manages to capture the darkly humorous tone of the movie but makes the setting even grittier. We learn that out in America a large portion of the land is uninhabitable because of the war and that most people are being driven mad from the nerve gas that was used.

Definitely pick up this book if you ever see it in the store. If not for the fun read, then because the thing is so damn hard to find.


Olman Feelyus said...


Where'd you pick it up?

Crumbolst said...

I loved the movie. I'll definitely keep an eye out for the book.

Doc Holaday said...

Wow. Finding this one at an affordable rate looks hopeless. Amazon.com lists three for sale and the lowest is $32.00! I looked up Mike McQuay and he apparently did a series of pulpy cyber-punk in the vein of Escape from New York. (It's probably how he got the novelization gig.) The main character is called Mathew Swain. Check out on of them here: http://www.amazon.com/Mathew-Swain-Deadliest-Show-Town/dp/0553201867/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195369645&sr=1-6

Leonard said...

I just picked up a copy on Amazon for 20 bucks WITH shipping! Not bad, keep your eyes open and you may get lucky.