Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the world’s digital confines – puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive he’ll have to win – and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
To start with: THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!
There’s a bit of a story behind obtaining my copy of Ready Player One. I first heard of this book from my boyfriend on our first date – almost two years ago this October. Somehow our conversation circled geek culture and this book came to light. It sounded amazing when by boyfriend first explained it to me. Something along the lines of the anime i’ve been watching “Sword Art Online”, as well as the “.hack//sign” series. So of course i placed this book on my mental list of ‘to read’. Unfortunately it took me this long to actually get around to it. I had bought a copy for my brother for christmas – and never heard if he actually read it or not. Finally I was getting ready to ask my BF for his copy when the last LootCrate box arrived with a ‘game’ theme and lo and behold my very own copy of Ready Player One!
That was in March and it’s September now. Needless to say I had other books and projects on the go and couldn’t pick it up right away. It sat on my bedside table for six months until finally after projects were complete and i felt relax and ready to start something new I picked up Ready Player One.
It took me two weeks to read – maybe less than two weeks. Ernest Cline created a fantastic futuristic world and a massive virtual world that completely captured my interest and attention. His writing is also easy-going for me, which made it even better. I didn’t have to struggle with any words or concepts, it read smoothly and quickly to the point where I had issues putting it down and ended up reading until almost midnight sometimes.
The one thing that grabbed my attention and made me giggle like any other fangirl is how the multiple fandoms throughout time was thrown together and wrapped up with a pretty bow. I mean there are paragraphs that explain the different ships hovering around, from Fireflies, to Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars to Star Trek. Every fandom from sci-fi, to fantasy, Tolkien to Weadon is mentioned. I seriously felt my brain ready to explode.
But let’s get to the plot.
Ready Player One is told in the first person of Wade Watts or “Perzival”. The first person in the book to discover the first key to Halliday’s Easter Egg Hunt and gain instant recognition around the world. James Halliday is the creator of the OASIS system, a virtual realty that has literally engulfed the entire human population. By 2044, people live and work on the OASIS system, leaving very little desire to deal with the real world issues going on around them. From poverty to famine, to wars. The OASIS is a utopia for almost everyone. It was a fascinating concept and to see how it improved some lives while at the same time keeping humanity in a state of limbo it seemed.
Anyways, James Halliday was an eccentric and completely caught up in his own geekdom of the 80’s. When he died, an announcement was released by him saying how he had created an hidden easter egg in the OASIS world that contained his inheritance, the first to find it will gain his shares in the OASIS stock and market, all his money and powers within the OASIS system. He left behind three keys and clues, which would help the hunters on their path. From that point on, the world completely poured over his Alamanc, a list of shows, movies and video games that were in his collection, brining the 80’s back into pop culture. People became obsessed with finding the first key and the egg, naming themselves ‘Gunters’.
Out of them, came a devilish company called IOI who’s goal was to pretty much destroy the utopia Halliday created. If they gain the egg, the OASIS would not be free any longer, and the true spirit of it all would collapse into a corporation. We learn through the course of the book how ruthless these people are. Called the Sixers, they will stop at nothing to gain the prize, including murder.
I’m unsure how much more to share with you about the book. There is so many gems and references to vintage games and shows that I feel like it would spoil if I said too much. This book is a must read for any fan of any genre out there. I’m sure you’ll find some point of reference that will make you squeal as you too get swept away in the plot. I think overall, I may have only gleamed 60% of the reverences, unfortunately many of the arcade games are unfamiliar to me… but the movies and TV shows are unforgettable, especially when the characters begin to spew lines from them.
So please, go read it yourself – preferably before the movie release. 😉