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Ready Player One Kindle Edition

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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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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: 1708 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (August 16, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 16, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WKUQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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369 of 427 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on 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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90 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Terry Mesnard VINE VOICE on 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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278 of 329 people found the following review helpful By owookiee VINE VOICE on September 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm fairly shocked at all the 5-star reviews on this. The book is a young adult book that is targeted to appeal to 30 and 40-somethings. As such, it falls short for both groups. The young adults can't relive all the 80's references, and the older people have to suffer through the low-level writing just to reminisce about Atari games and Broderick films.

The story had suspense and was interesting, but it is an unfinished product. There is way too much exposition. Pages and pages of this happened, then this happened, and this is why. Everything is just laid out matter-of-factly, and that's a very boring style. All the obstacles faced by the protagonist seemed contrived, and the solutions to them were too convenient; picture the scene in Independence Day where they hack into the Alien ship with a Mac - that's the kind of ridiculous non-thought-out way everything gets resolved. Many other things weren't well thought out - he paints the areas between major cities to be wastelands run by robbers and murderers, yet all the infrastructure is in great shape - the roads are fine, the internet works great, etc. Somehow 30 years from now Saturday Night Live is still on the air and Youtube is still the main portal for sharing videos. The protagonist fills up a "10 zettabyte" USB stick (yes, they're still using slow flash memory in the future!) with data that would probably fill less than a terrabyte, he uses the term for a billion terrabytes just to make it futuristic yet doesn't think through anything else, and this sort of carelessness ruined the book for me in many places.

Despite all this, I think it could make a decent movie, it reads like a script and I wasn't surprised to find out the author is a screenwriter.
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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
Fantasy TV Series on HBO or Showtime?
Um, the book mentions pretty much every fantasy and sci-fi show from the period - want to narrow that down a bit? :-)
Jul 2, 2015 by epb |  See all 2 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 Nucleomante |  See all 2 posts
What a fun ride... Be the first to reply
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