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?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Listened for Fun!
Overall Rating 4.00
Story Rating 4.00
Character Rating 4.00
Audio Rating 4.0 (Not part of the overall rating)
Release date – August 16, 2011 Run time 15 hours 46 minutes.
First Thoughts on the book: Ready Player One was so worth my time. I wonder what they will do with the movie. Really I have no idea if there will be a movie but everything about Ready Player One would make for good movie. It is an Homage to so many movies in the 80’s and game within a game, I just would be excited about the idea, even knowing how they usually mess up book to movie adaptations.
What I Loved: Ready Player One is seeped in pop culture and nerd culture of the 1980’s. I was constantly reminded of things of my youth and that was delightful to me. If you didn’t grow up in the 80’s, I think you could still enjoy Ready Player One but the nostalgia certainly added to it for me. I remember Floppy Disks and computer games that you had a cassette tape to play along with it. I remember Joust and PacMan Fever. I also really found myself loving Wade/Parzival and I was on his side pulling for him to win. I was anxious and nervous listening to it, hoping that it would go the way I wanted. Ready Player One takes place in 2044 and most everything takes place in a virtual world: the OASIS. I have never had the patience for worldbuilding in SIM games but I wanted to be in the OASIS. I wanted to drive my tricked out Delorean or fly my Millennium Falcon. I wanted to be a gunter, I wanted to meet nerdy genius Halladay and play his Quest. I had no trouble picturing this story vividly as it was being read to me.
What I Liked: I thought Ready Player One had good character development. Some may disagree but I felt Cline did a great job building other characters even though the book is from Wade’s first person perspective. That might be because Ready Player One is an ode to the outcast geek and that resonates with me. In the OASIS you can be anything you want and Cline makes that clear in his main characters. I felt both empathy and victory with Wade, Artemis, and AECH (H). I liked the Little Guys against the Great Big Corporation theme that is central to Ready Player One. I still embrace the individual spirit and so I cheered that on in Ready Player One.
What I didn’t Like: There were not many things in Ready Player One that jumped out at me as something I didn’t like. I didn’t like some Wade’s dialogue (philosophically speaking) but he’s an 18-year-old boy. He is entitled to say quite a few kind of dumb things. It’s a tiny bit confusing from time to time the whole real world/online world because what is going on online is also happening in real life (a la holographic world). I was angry at the bad guys of Ready Player One, Sorrento, the Sixers and IOI, but hey, I’m on the good side.
Audio Specific Review: This book is read by Wil Wheaton. I am a fan of his and I thought him a good choice for a narrator. He is also mentioned in the book so that was one of those things I think only geeks would notice. I picked up on that of course and had a little internal geek wink at that.