Which came first, the Corman movie or this frightfully credible vision of drivers licensed to cause a crash.
Short Science Fiction Story Review Harlan Ellison Along The Scenic Route 1975 Dell Press
It’s interesting that this story was released in the same year as the David Carradine / Sylvester Stallone film from Roger Corman – Death Race 2000, as the dark, dystopian themes are very similar.
Set in a future where the norm is to drive high-speed powerful cars crammed with gadgetry that James Bond 007 would have loved. Unfortunately, the drivers in this future don’t use the deadly weaponry on evil megalomaniacs, but on other motorists.
This can only be done with permission from the government, and when the hero is overtaken and almost run off the road by a show-off hot-rodder, he seeks and gains permission to engage in a high-speed duel to the death.
His terrified wife is helpless in her efforts to stop him engaging in a superior car, and against a shrewd opponent, who taunts them by their radio contact.
It’s a real thrill ride to read, and victory may itself come at a price as good road-killers filed with rage attract attention from other wannabees seeing glory and the winner’s crown.
All too often I see road rage drivers going by who seem to be playing this out for real already so it’s a future vision that seems all too frighteningly possible.