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Ready Player One [Kindle Edition]

Ernest Cline
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,650 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $3.99
You Save: $10.01 (72%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Download this reading group discussion guide for Ready Player One: A Novel.[PDF]

Book Description

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 this 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.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011: Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline.--Chris Schluep

Guest Reviewer: Daniel H. Wilson on Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
Daniel H. Wilson is the New York Times best-selling author of Robopocalypse.

I dare you not to fall in love with Ready Player One. And I mean head over heels in love--the way you fall for someone who is smart, feisty, and who can effortlessly finish your favorite movie lines, music lyrics, or literature quotes before they come out of your mouth.

Ready Player One expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future.

The story is set in a near-term future in which the new, new form of the Internet is a realistic virtual multi-verse called the OASIS. Most human interaction takes place via goggles and gloves in millions of unique worlds, including the boring (and free) “public education” world from which our teenage protagonist must escape.

Our unlikely hero is an overweight trailer park kid who goes by Wade Watts in real life, and “Parzival” to his best friends and mortal enemies--all of whom he interacts with virtually. Just like the Arthurian knight that is his namesake, young Wade is on a quest for an incredible treasure guarded by mythical creatures. Specifically, the creator of the OASIS and richest man on the planet, James Halliday, stipulated in his will that his fortune be given to the first person who can find an “Easter egg” hidden somewhere in the OASIS. The catch? Every devilishly complex clue on this treasure hunt is rooted in an intimate knowledge of 1980s pop culture.

This leaves the people of the future hilariously obsessed with every aspect of the 1980s. The setup is particularly brilliant, because Ernie Cline seems to have a laser-beam knowledge of (and warm, fuzzy love for) every pop song, arcade game, and giant robot produced in the last thirty years. Seriously, this is a guy who owns and regularly drives a 1982 DeLorean that has been mocked up to look exactly like the time-traveling car in Back to the Future, complete with a glowing flux capacitor.

But Ready Player One isn’t just a fanboy’s wet dream. Real villains are lurking, threatening our hero with death in their ruthless hunt for the treasure. Worse, these corporate baddies are posers with no love for the game – they have movie dialogue piped in via radio earpieces, use bots to cheat at arcade games like JOUST, and don’t hesitate to terrorize or murder people in the real world to achieve their aims inside the OASIS.

As the book climaxes, a mega-battle unfolds with sobering life-or-death stakes, yet soldiered entirely by exciting and downright fun pop-culture icons. The bad guys are piloting a ferocious Mechagodzilla. Our good guy has to leave his X-Wing fighter aboard his private flotilla so that he can pilot an authentic Ultraman recreation. And how do you not grin when someone dons a pair of virtual Chuck Taylor All Stars that bestow the power of flight?

Cline is fearless and he lets his imagination soar, yet this pop scenery could easily come off as so much fluff. Instead, Cline keeps the stakes high throughout, and the epic treasure hunt structure (complete with an evolving high-score list) keeps the action intense. The plot unfolds with constant acceleration, never slowing down or sagging in the middle, to create a thrilling ride with a fulfilling ending.

Best of all, the book captures the aura of the manifold worlds it depicts. If Ready Player One were a living room, it would be wood-panelled. If it were shoes, it would be high-tops. And if it were a song, well, it would have to be Eye of the Tiger.

I really, really loved it.

-- Daniel H. Wilson

Questions for Ernest Cline, Author of Ready Player One

Q) So it seems you’re a bit of a pop-culture buff. In your debut novel Ready Player One you incorporate literally hundreds of pop culture references, many of them in ways that are integral to the book’s plot. What’s the first thing you remember geeking out over?

A) Sesame Street and the Muppets. I thought Jim Henson ruled the universe. I even thought it was pretty cool that I shared my first name with a muppet. Until the first day of kindergarten, when I quickly learned that "Ernie" was not a cool name to have. That was about the time I segued into my next childhood obsession, Star Wars.

Q) Like the book’s hero, you possess a horrifyingly deep knowledge of a terrifyingly broad swathe of culture, ranging from John Hughes movies to super-obscure Japanese animation to 8-bit videogames to science-fiction and fantasy literature to role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. What the heck is wrong with you?! How do you have so much time on your hands?

A) Well, I’m raising a toddler now, so I don’t have as much time to geek out as I used to. I think I amassed a lot of that knowledge during my youth. Like most geeks, I was a sponge for all kinds of movies, TV shows, cartoons, and video games. Then as an adult, I worked at a long series of low paying tech support jobs that allowed me to surf the Internet all day, and I spent a lot of my cubicle time looking up obscure pop culture minutiae from my childhood while I waited for people to reboot their PCs. Of course, I spent most of my off hours geeking out, too. Luckily, all those hours can now be classified as "research" for my novel.

Q) You’re stranded on an island and you can only take one movie with you. What is it?

A) Easy! The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition. (Can I take all of the DVD Extras and Making of Documentaries, too?)

Q) You’re given free tickets and back stage passes to one concert (artist can be living or dead)- who is it and why?

A) Are we talking about time travel back to a specific concert in the past here? Because it would be pretty cool to stand on the roof of Apple Records and watch the Beatles jam up there. But my favorite rock band that’s still together is RUSH, and I just bought tickets to see them this June!

Q) Favorite book of all time.

A) That’s an impossible question! I could maybe give you three favorites: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Q) Best failed TV show pilot available on Youtube?

A) The unaired Batgirl pilot starring Yvonne Craig.

Q) Favorite episode of Cowboy Bebop?

A) “Ganymede Elegy.” Or maybe “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui.”

Q) What’s the first arcade game you ever played? What’s your favorite?

A) I was deflowered by Space Invaders. My all time favorite coin-op game was probably Black Tiger.

Q) Your idea of the perfect day...

A) Play Black Tiger. Then go see Big Trouble in Little China at the Alamo Drafthouse with Kurt Russell and John Carpenter doing a live Q&A afterwards. When I get home that night, I accidentally invent a cheap abundant clean energy source that saves human civilization. I celebrate by staying up late to watch old Ultraman episodes with my daughter (who loves Ultraman even more than I do).

Q) True or False. We hear you own a DeLorean and that you plan on tricking it out to be a time-travelling, Ghostbusting, Knight-Rider car.

A) False. I actually plan on tricking it out to be a time-traveling Ghostbusting Knight Riding Jet Car. It’s going to have both a Flux Capacitor and an Oscillation Overthruster in it, so that my Delorean can travel through time AND solid matter. My personalized plates are ECTO88, just like a DeLorean that appears in my book.

(I’m so glad that you asked this question, because now I can justify buying the car as a "promotional tool" for my book. Everyone reading this is a witness! My DeLorean is helping me promote my book! The fact that I’ve wanted one since I was ten years old is totally irrelevant!)

Q) Speaking of DeLoreans: biggest plot hole in the Back to The Future Films?

A) The Back to The Future Trilogy is perfect and contains no plot holes! Except for the plot hole inherent in nearly all time travel films: The planet Earth is moving through space at an immense speed at all times. So if you travel back in time, you are traveling to a time when the Earth was in a different location, and you and your time machine would appear somewhere out in deep space. For a time machine to be useful, it also needs to be able to teleport you to wherever the Earth was/is at your destination time.

Q) But there are two DeLoreans in 1885--why doesn’t Doc dig out the one he buried in a cave for Marty to find in 1955 and use the gasoline from it to get the other DeLorean up to 88mph?

A) Doc would have drained the gas tank before he stored a car for 80 years, so there wouldn’t have been any gas. And tampering with the DeLorean in the cave at all could conceivably create a universe-ending paradox, because it has to be in the cave for Marty to get back to 1885 in the first place. Totally not a plot hole!


Review

“An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.”--Booklist, starred review

"This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans… sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.”--Publishers Weekly

"Fascinating and imaginative…It's non-stop action when gamers must navigate clever puzzles and outwit determined enemies in a virtual world in order to save a real one. Readers are in for a wild ride."--Terry Brooks, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"This non-gamer loved every page of Ready Player One."--Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Ready Player One expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future. If this book were a living room, it would be wood-paneled. If it were shoes, it would be high-tops. And if it were a song, well, it would have to be Eye of the Tiger.  I really, really loved it."--Daniel H. Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising and Robopocalypse

"The pure, unfettered brainscream of a child of the 80s, like a dream my 13-year-old self would have had after bingeing on Pop Rocks and Coke…I couldn’t put it down."—Charles Ardai, Edgar Award-winning author and producer of Haven

"Pure geek heaven. Ernest Cline's hero competes in a virtual world with life-and-death stakes -- which is only fitting, because he's fighting to make his dreams into reality. Cline blends a dystopic future with meticulously detailed nostalgia to create a story that will resonate i...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1657 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 030788743X
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (August 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WKUQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
258 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is going to be on my best of the year list August 13, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Brief summary and review, no spoilers.

The year is 2044 and the world is an unpleasant and grim place. Famine and poverty are rampant, and to escape the bleakness of real life most people choose to instead enter the world of OASIS.

Let me explain OASIS - this is a virtual world that is very elaborate and realistic,and it contains multiple planets and landscapes. It was created in main part by a man named James Halliday, the ultimate lonely computer geek, who was obsessed with the 1980's. Halliday died some time before the start of this story but had stated in his will that his vast fortune would go to the person who could find three magical keys hidden in OASIS, pass the portals associated with them, and then find the ultimate prize - the hidden egg. Over the years many people have searched for these magic keys and gates but none have prevailed. Those who search call themselves gunters. Also at play is a villainess corporation called IOI led by a man named Sorrento - who's agents searching for the egg are called Sixers.

The main protagonist of this story is an 18 year old named Wade Watts. Wade lives in abject poverty with his uncaring and cruel aunt. Because Wade's life is so grim, like so many others he spends almost all of his time in OASIS. It's where he goes to school and it's in OASIS where he meets his friends - avatars named Aech and Art3mis. Because everyone he meets via OASIS is an avatar, it's hard for anyone to distinguish friend from foe.

Because of his real world lack of money and help, Wade has few powers and weapons for his avatar (which he named Parzival, a takeoff of Percival the Knight which was already taken.
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent debut novel October 20, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ready Player One is a geektastic novel that invokes a nostalgic feeling for 80s geek culture. The 80s was, in many ways, the birthplace of the modern geek culture. Between video games, amazing geek-centric movies, the popularity and damning of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and the rise of progressive bands like Rush, much of what constitutes geek culture in the 2000s can trace its roots back to the 1980s. Author Ernest Cline obviously has a fondness for the time period and knows his stuff as he fills Ready Player One to the brim with pop cultural nods and firmly ties the 80s the entire plot of the novel.

It's 2044 and the world is in shambles. Poverty, war and other standard dystopian plot devices rule the day. Most of the population spends the majority of their time in a virtual world (think World of Warcraft on crack) called OASIS. OASIS started as a video game that grew in popularity to encompass multiple worlds and planets and systems that encompass virtually any geekdom you can think of (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, steampunk, etc.). Pretty much anything and everything is done in OASIS now. Even schooling. Ernest Cline spends a good chunk of the early novel setting up OASIS and creates a fairly believable depiction of what life would be like if we increasingly spent time in the virtual world as opposed to the real one. Wade Watts is a typical teenager in 2044. He's poor and goes to school in OASIS, where he is stuck on his schools planet because everything in OASIS involves real world transactions. In an interesting nod to the current financial situations engulfing our current world, OASIS currency is valued higher than "real" money and for those who don't have money, you're as stuck in OASIS as you would be in the real world.
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122 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever had a book you didn't want to end? September 27, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Well I couldn't stop reading this one if I were a gunter heading for the third gate. I didn't want it to end but I couldn't stop reading it either.
Do you remember a time when microwaves or CD's didn't exist? Floppy disks were floppy? When walkmans were cool? How about when Pac-man and Joust were the (edited) and you had to go to your local 7-11 or game room to play them?? Remember when you had to put your quarters up on the screen to get the next game and everybody stood around watching? This book brought back memories of that time. I've read the bad reviews. "No character development" "Same old plot" "Good guys vs Bad guys." For me, this brought back some vivid memories of sitting at a table with my D&D group. To have the visual of entering, virtually, a Gygax dungeon, holy (edited)! *bowing* "We're not worthy." It's almost too much for words on a personal level. I think that would be at the top of my g33k bucket list! Zork, my first true love of video games, when you had to create the scenery. (I can see the house and tree in my head vividly) I never beat it back then (I was 12 when my father and step mother introduced me to it and I was always getting kicked outside) but I own all versions of the game to this day. Cyndi Lauper,( "what time, I mean old Cyndi or now Cyn.." "Anytime Cyndi" Time After Time. I'm totally playing that at my wedding! I had all this running through my head as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep after two LATE nights and lack of sleep. While being drowsy at work, all I wanted to do was pick up this book or call off sick so I could immerse myself in this tribute to a childhood (now not forgotten). I HOPE I did this book some justice. I felt it was the least I could do.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book with plenty of blasts from the past.
This book is recommended to anyone who's childhood/adolescence spanned part of the 80's. The references to 80's pop culture and tropes is on every page. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm sorry, but your father's cyberpunk novel is in another castle.
I was actually sad when I had to give my copy back to the library. I really, REALLY enjoyed this book- it was WRITTEN for my nerdy, video-game loving,... Read more
Published 10 hours ago by Nenia Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars I really loved this book
I really loved this book. One of the best I have read in a while. I highly recommend it. Just wish it was longer, because I enjoyed it that much. One of my favorite books.
Published 15 hours ago by Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice read
I really enjoyed this book. It is great to read a great a book and have it be suitable for the entire family.
Published 1 day ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Panic
If you grew up in the 80's, 90's and are or at some point been a gamer, geek or nerd, you will love this.
Published 1 day ago by Kyle Maloney
5.0 out of 5 stars very fun read
Robin Williams mentioned that he was reading this book during a town hall conversation with Whooping Goldberg. I took his recommendation and was not disappointed.
Published 1 day ago by Doug Praw
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Best book I have read in a long time. So many cool references but not just nostalgic trip; a great story and vision of near future.
Published 1 day ago by Matthew Olson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Best book I've ever read. Couldn't stop reading it. Recommend to kids that like videogames, age 13 and up, male or female.
Published 1 day ago by Shannon Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars 80's fan
If you grew up in the 80's this book is for you. I could not stop reading it! Extremely fun to read. It draws you in from page 1 and does not let go until the end.
Published 1 day ago by Edward Mascorro
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book, I really loved it. All the IT references seems to be genuine, ether author was a kid in 80's or he has done a great research!
Published 1 day ago by Peter Kmet
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Why is the Paperback cheaper than the Kindle version?
Because publishers have yet to figure out digital distribution...
Oct 17, 2011 by Amazon Customer |  See all 4 posts
$12.99 are you kidding?
Agree with the OP, no matter how great this book is i won't pay nine ninety nine for the kindle version. Hope Amazon can set prices again soon, this is all apple's fault.
Jun 17, 2012 by Fabian Vargas |  See all 3 posts
Ready Player One 2 Versions
Well, there must be a problem, because I can't see the price for any of them.
Mar 1, 2013 by Sul_Silva |  See all 2 posts
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