I recently read The Running Man (only Backman novel I'd not read yet). I have no idea why I've put this off for so long (maybe because of the horrible movie version with Arnold.. maybe because SK gives away the ending in the Bachman intro!?). Anyhow, great read. One thing I noted about this read was the similarity between it and 1984 by George Orwell. The Network almost acts as Big Brother. Instead of the Thought Police, you basically have a stasi police forece that does little more than act as personal thugs of The Network. You have the suppression of information (i.e pollution) in The Running Man, just as information was suppressed (historical events/accounts were even changed) in 1984 by the Ministry of Truth. SK must have been influenced on some level by 1984, because this novel is very Orwellian.