Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Cyberpunk
Pages: 374 (hardback)
Publication: August 2011
(Crown Publishing Group)
Goodreads Summary: At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Review: Ready Player One is a geektastic fanboy dedication to the 1980’s and one heck of a fantastic novel. Ernest Cline weaves a tale of epic proportion that takes the readers on a quest to the past, but weaves it into a future that is so technologically advanced I am not sure it is one that we would even want to entertain.
Ready Player One (RPO) centers on Wade Watts, an 18-year-old orphan who has dedicated his life to James Halliday’s quest. Halliday is the Steve Jobs of RPO; he created the OASIS, a virtually simulated world that everyone uses to escape real life. Prior to his death he created a contest. To win you must find the prizes hidden throughout the OASIS: three magical keys, each of which will unlock one gate. The first person to find all three keys and open all the gates finds the golden egg, completes the quest and wins Halliday’s fortune. While scouring this virtual world Wade manages to make friends, enemies and maybe even find love.
RPO throws 80’s pop culture and trivia at you from page one, almost to the point that if you are not familiar with the decade it will go over your head and seem pointless at times. I found myself loving the trivia and references, especially the movie and television references. The only thing I found a little annoying was that at times the pop culture was used as a crutch to push the story along making it seem a tad over used.
Ernest Cline should be proud of his debut. I think that it will appeal to fantasy and science fiction fans, as well as to 80’s pop culture junkies. There is a quest, love, action and electronics... basically something for everyone. RPO is well written and keeps you on your toes. I have a feeling that this book will be a cult favorite for years to come.
Rating: 4 stars