Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing that James Halliday had died during the night.

I'm not a fan of video games. In fact, I hate them. But Ready Player One was an interesting science fiction novel. "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."

Sounds intense, right? It is. There are a lot of 1980's references that I did not get, not being particularly impressed with culture at that time. And I really hate video games. The OASIS doesn't sound like a utopia to me; it sounds like a dystopia. Imagine it, the lines of reality and virtuality (is that a word?) blurring until it's hard to tell what is real and what is not. It's nightmarish actually, like something out of the Twilight Zone. Plus, the real world is in ruins.

Ready Player One wasn't an amazing book, but it was a good one, and somewhat thought-provoking. It is certainly not one of the best books in the world, as one of my classmates claims. It wasn't a bad book, though, and I liked the hardcover edition's cover (on right).

I loved the character Art3mis (pronounced Artemis). She's smart, pretty, and awesome. I loved her name too.

The descriptions in this book are really well done, and Ernest Cline writes well. Though he drops way too many references to 1980's culture. I enjoyed Ready Player One, though it's certainly not one of my favorites. It was pretty suspenseful though.

Read Ready Player One:
  • if you like science fiction
  • if you like video games or even if (like me) you don't
372 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

1 comment:

  1. Very clever character-based story with excellent integration of some of the best nerd/geek games and entertainment. I was very entertained.
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