Review from [...],
This review is from: Ready Player One (Hardcover)
For anyone who identifies as a good and who has fond memories of the 1980s and 1990s, then this is the book for you. Ready Player One combines modern gamer fiction with countless 80s and 90s pop culture references to leave you with a thrilling nostalgic ride through a futuristic virtual world.
The world that Cline created is not an unfamiliar one. It assumes the rise of online gaming continues and that it eventually becomes, essentially, a reality in its own right, allowing for user education, commerce, interaction, all the stuff that we do in our day-to-day lives. It isn't surprising that the ultimate online gaming world in this book, the OASIS, is preferable to the real world that contains fuel and food shortages, rising violence, and an almost unprecedented level of corporate corruption.
So when it's revealed that the dying wish of the creator of the OASIS is to hold a contest in the virtual world, and the winner gets his entire fortune, it's also no surprise that millions of people jump on the chance! The hero of the tale, Wade, is part of a group of people known as gunters, short of "egg hunters", who are looking for this Easter Egg hidden within the massive virtual world.
Cline shows his skill here not necessarily with the fact that he build this world, but that he effectively used dozens of world that others before him built. From Star Wars to obscure tokusatsu shows, Cline took bits and pieces of various realities, mashed them together inside the concept of the OASIS, and then went to town with it. The result could have been utter chaos, but instead functioned well within fairly simple rules and guidelines that were not at all unbelievable to set up.
Interestingly, this book was not a cautionary tale nor a glorious expression of love for online gaming and virtual interaction. Both sides of the coin are shown. On one hand, the virtual world allows for hours of entertainment for the masses, allows a virtual economy to affect the real world (when was the last time you paid your rent by slaying goblins, huh?), and a great chance for people to gain excellent educations regardless of their location. The classic negatives are presented here, too, by showing Wade gaining weight and becoming unhealthy from the sedentary lifestyle he leads while trying to win the contest, and there's the usual reaction of surprise when people find out that others look nothing like their avatars. But overall, the OASIS was presented as neither ideal or corrupt. It simply was, which was exactly what it was supposed to be.
The never-ending hit of nostalgia I felt while reading this book was amazing, refreshing, and a load of fun. It's not a heavy read, though it does have its moments of being downright disturbing in places (the way a megacorporation has the legal right to essentially force people into slavery to repay their debts is one case that comes instantly to mind). It feels a lot like a game, if truth be told. Fun, action-packed, entertaining, but not without a large amount of the little details and depths that make such games stand apart from their rivals. As far as gamer fiction goes, this is one of the better reads, and I highly recommend you read it if you get the chance.
And if you a don't, a grue will eat you.