- File Size: 5879 KB
- Print Length: 386 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (August 16, 2011)
- Publication Date: August 16, 2011
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004J4WKUQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,873 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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“The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to Ready Player One as a ‘nerdgasm’ [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture. . . . But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel . . . This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight . . . [but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Incredibly entertaining . . . Drawing on everything from Back to the Future to Roald Dahl to Neal Stephenson's groundbreaking Snow Crash, Cline has made Ready Player One a geek fantasia, '80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once.”—Austin American-Statesman
“Ready Player One is the ultimate lottery ticket.”—New York Daily News
“This non-gamer loved every page of Ready Player One.”—Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
“A treasure for anyone already nostalgic for the late twentieth century. . . But it’s also a great read for anyone who likes a good book.”—Wired
“Gorgeously geeky, superbly entertaining, this really is a spectacularly successful debut.”—Daily Mail (UK)
“A gunshot of fun with a wicked sense of timing and a cast of characters that you're pumping your fist in the air with whenever they succeed. I haven't been this much on the edge of my seat for an ending in years.”—Chicago Reader
"A 'frakking' good read [featuring] incredible creative detail . . . I grinned at the sheer audacity of Cline's imagination.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“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 of the Shannara series
“I was blown away by this book. . . . A book of ideas, a potboiler, a game-within-a-novel, a serious science-fiction epic, a comic pop culture mash-up–call this novel what you will, but Ready Player One will defy every label you try to put on it. Here, finally, is this generation’s Neuromancer.”—Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Dominance
“I really, really loved Ready Player One. . . . Cline expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future.”—Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse
“A nerdgasm . . . imagine Dungeons and Dragons and an 80s video arcade made hot, sweet love, and their child was raised in Azeroth.”—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War
“Completely fricking awesome . . . This book pleased every geeky bone in my geeky body. I felt like it was written just for me.”—Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wise Man’s Fear
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 SchluepGuest Reviewer: Daniel H. Wilson on Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
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.
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!
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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1. Love the 80's pop culture references integrated into the story. No book I've ever read has ever gone this deep into 80's game, movie, TV, music references. The writer is obviously a true 80's fanatic and geek. No doubt about that, this guy has lived it and did his homework.
2. The main character is completely unlikable. He never arcs or changes, even at the end (finding 'love' is not a character change). Honestly, I've never read a book where the main character is just a complete and utter unlikeable character even to the end. You never really want this jerk to succeed. His inner workings and thoughts are as just about as bad as the main villain.
Steven Spielberg did a brilliant job taking the meat of this story and actually making the primarily character LIKEABLE because the writer was just down right horrible at it. If the filmmakers had followed the book, no doubt it wouldn't have been successful. I did enjoy the 80's references, but too bad the main character was unlikable.
Here comes the plot set-up, and maybe a ***SPOILER ALERT*** now.
The year is 2044, and the global population endures its fourth decade of economic collapse. Huzzah. In a world of fading prospects and rapidly dwindling natural resources, everyone's favorite pastime is the Oasis, a massive, all-inclusive multiplayer online game that had metamorphosed into a globally networked virtual reality universe what's now habitually accessed by nearly everyone on the planet. The Oasis has become such a panoptic entity, it's become synonymous with the Internet. In the Oasis, kids attend virtual school, business offices can purchase virtual landscape to promote their wares, virtual concerts are staged. Who wouldn't prefer this utopian cyberspace over bleak reality? When they can look for James Halliday's fabled Easter egg, nestled somewhere in the vastness of Oasis?
Eccentric genius video game designer - and creator of Oasis - James Halliday, before dying, recorded a video in which he challenges all comers to seek out his hidden treasure, to first unearth and then figure out the clues he'd embedded in the fabric of his Oasis program. His Easter egg, when found, conveys untold riches and power and unfettered administrative control over the Oasis. Overnight, the hunt for Halliday's treasure became the new global recreation. Halliday's addiction with 1980s pop culture was well documented, and so, too, in their feverish pursuit did these Easter egg hunters - nicknamed "gunters" - immerse themselves in Halliday's obsession, triggering a global revival of 1980s culture. But years and years would elapse before the elusive first clue would surface. Meanwhile, the gunters developed into figures of ridicule.
In the slums of Oklahoma City, in the Stacks - a decaying community in which run-down trailer homes are stacked on top of each other - 18-year-old orphan Wade Watts ekes out a miserable existence. Reclusive and anti-social, Wade is a low-level but dedicated gunter, a walking talking encyclopedia of vintage 1980s facts and trivia. He realizes that his only hope for a better life is to win the game. And so he perseveres when so many have given up. And, even though he's only a self-declared "third level wimp," he works out the location of the first clue. It's a life-changing thing.
The virtual scoreboard allows everyone to track his and other competitors' progress. Wade - or, rather, his avatar Parzival - becomes an instant worldwide celebrity - making him the target of fellow gunters and groupies and the media and, worse, of sinister corporations hungry to seize control of the Oasis. In his quest for Halliday's holy grail, Wade Watts - alliteratively named by his comic book-reading father - must call on every bit of his tech savvy and knowledge of 1980s culture to outwit his competitors and enemies. He is an awesome character that boasts impressive measures of pluck and resourcefulness and audacity in the face of frightening odds. And Wade Watts only becomes more awesome once he's compelled to venture out into the real world for survival's sake.
If the cyberpunk yarns of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson tend to intimidate you, be at ease with Ready Player One. Ernie Cline has crafted an immensely accessible story. He makes you swim in nostalgia. I'm not a 1980s buff, but I'm an old cat who actually lived his childhood thru the '80s, and it is so much fun trying to catch all of Cline's references. Ready Player One is a well-told, richly realized, and incredibly satisfying adventure, one populated by appealing characters. There's even a sweet love story. Wade engages in an online flirtation with a talented fellow gunter named Art3mis, and so we get a peek into Wade's gnawing doubts as to what the person beneath the Art3mis avatar is really like (and even what she really looks like). But that's just misdirection. It's another character who drops the startling reveal.
"Unputdownable" isn't a real word, yet it's the perfect adjective for this book. I think that everyone, at some level, has a grain of geekness in them. If you've ever envisioned scenes of your favorite cartoons or animes interacting, if you've once loved a movie so much that you've memorized entire passages of its dialogue, or been influenced by a rock song to the extent that you'd picked up a guitar to learn the chords... Ernie Cline revives these feelings. Ready Player One moves like a locomotive, and there are scenes in it that will absolutely explode your nerdy brain. Ready Player One was a New York Times Bestseller. It's soon to be a blockbuster motion picture what's directed by Steven Spielberg, and, self-deprecating guy that he is, good luck to him trying to tamp down on the book's references to his movies. I'm hyped for the movie. But the book came first, and the book will have an even more special place in my nerd heart. It's easily in my top five favorite reads ever. Ready Player One, yeah, an immersive, imaginative, childhood-mining, unputdownable read. Armada, not so much.
So why only three stars? Ernest Cline writes really well, with one issue - the incredible amount of exposition. At least once every chapter, I found myself saying, "Enough already, get on with it." Sure some of it is from my growing up in the eighties and EC explaining parts of the decade *in detail*, but not all. There is a lot of explanation of the main character's life and how he got where he is. You don't find out things a little at a time - there are multi-page explanations. The book could easily have been half the length - or could include more from the virtual world. I did enjoy the imagination of the author in the building of the worlds (after seeing the amazing variety of user created content in existing virtual worlds).
So, I would have to say - very good book to read, but you can skip a lot of the exposition (or skim it so you don't miss something).
Top international reviews
It’s set in a dystopian future in 2044 – oil has run out, the climate is a wreck, and most people escape reality by spending their lives inside an immense virtual reality video game called the OASIS (similar to Second Life, if you’ve ever played it). It has its own currency, and kids even go to school inside the game. The creator of the game, James Halliday, died years earlier, without an heir to his immense empire, but left a video will with clues/easter eggs to be tracked in the game. Whoever solves these will inherit the OASIS, and the immense wealth that goes with it, and it’s an international obsession. Halliday was a teenager in the 80s and remained fixated with the era, so this means that everyone who is trying to solve the puzzle is just as fanatical, leading to some wonderful references. Wade Watts, our protagonist, is one of the millions trying to crack this. He’s a teenager, stony broke, living with his aunt, and at the bottom of the OASIS food chain. Through a combination of luck and skill with 80s arcade games, Wade somehow manages to be the first solve the first clue, and that’s when everything changes.
I’m not going to give you any spoilers, but I can’t recommend this highly enough. Great characters, very nasty baddies, loaded with 80s references, and actually worryingly possible – it’s definitely worth a read. Oh, and Steven Spielberg bought the film rights – the movie will be released in 2018. I hope he does it justice.
As we meet the principal protagonist we find that the world of the 2040s is in bad shape. The planet is beset with rampant global warming, economic collapse and the majority of its inhabitants living on government subsidies. So far, so, standard dystopian future! However the thing that moves this from a standard YA dystopia and into the realm of a bestseller are three key features; the hero Wade Watts, the world building and the massive amount of 80’s pop culture references.
Wade has real problems to struggle against; no mother or father, living on his own, no friends his own age and only the quest for the easter egg to keep him focused. A fat kid from the wrong side of town living on his wits and natural intelligence. With no friends or family he has to constantly fight for everything he possess.
The world building is excellent with the reader immediately able to visualise the world of deprivation, global warming and the end of oil. A world so terrible that most of the population has moved into the virtual world to get away from the grim reality of everyday life. The mechanics of the virtual world are also well detailed and thought out. As I was reading the book I kept thinking of a fully immersive version of Warcraft. The book is written from a first person perspective. The reader effectively lives inside Wade's head, which helps a lot with Wade being able to explain a lot of the 80's cultural references.
About half way through we meet the evil corporation trying to thwart our heroes plans. These "bad guys" are simple, one dimensional, greedy corporate goons. Having worked in the financial services sector for many years I recognised, their motivations and methods immediately. The bad guys are cheap and cheesy and a stark contrast with the heroes who are street punks living in a virtual world. The evil corporations motivation is greed and the heroes are motivated by fun, friendship, glory and the pursuit of the prize. Who you gonna root for — come on?
The final third of the book works well with our heroes facing bigger and more complex challenges. The finally is also well done and fun.
All in all an excellent, fun yarn. The book is well written, great entertainment with a blistering pace. If you are looking for a deeper meaning, or insight into nerd culture, this is probably not the book for you.
Having read some of the critical reviews of the book, I think they're missing the point - they compare it (often very unfavourably) with other, more highbrow authors' works. This isn't a highbrow book, it's simply a highly entertaining and imaginative romp, and on those terms it succeeds fully. I'm looking forward to further books by Cline. I'm waiting for his announced sequel Ready Player Two, and I've already downloaded Armada.
So very clever, fascinating, funny, enthralling - I didn't want it to end!
I read the book after watching the film - this is the way to go- the book fills in so many details and you do not mind that the story has so many differences because you know that the book came first and the film obviously had a great deal of limitations the book did not.
Read this book it is excellent!
I loved it!
The premise of a treasure hunt set in a gaming world/worlds, with Ready Player One the big corporate company trying to quash the little guys. Its whole concept is slick and witty but has a nostalgic charm that anyone who grew up in the 80's will recognise and i imagine admire.
Sorrento made a truly hateful villain, impressive since he's not in the book himself all that much, and even though I could see the OASIS was a poisonous obsession and scarily something I could imagine coming along and ruining our lives in reality I still despised the Sixers (Sux0rz, if you prefer) and what they planned to do. Not because I equated it to the end of the world like the characters clearly did, but because a dying wish is a dying wish and trying to manipulate it the way they wanted to was pretty sucky, to say the least.
Granted it's far from perfect and a lot of the 80s references went way over my head having been born at the tail end of the nineties but I appreciated the effort the author had clearly put into it, even if it felt like he was just like James Halliday attempting to enshrine and force his obsession with a bygone era on the reader.
There were a few things I didn't like about it besides this, Wade, for example, I found fickle - he dedicates five years of his life to obsessing over the hunt for the egg and within two seconds he doesn't care anymore and he's obsessed with some random girl he stalked as a side hobby? Pick an obsession and stick with it, dude.
There were very specific phrases and sentences that made several identical appearances which were glaringly obvious and slightly annoying to me since they could have been easily replaced by something else - "Get the hell out of Dodge" was used a total of four times in the book, doesn't sound like much but when it's only 372 pages long, it's 3 times too many in my opinion. That, and "I'd never had such an immediate connection with a human being," I think also tallied 3 or 4, - yeah we get it, you like her a lot. Shut up.
Yet despite all this, I did really like it because though I'm not quite on Wade's level, I could relate to the general nerdiness even if it was over a lot of things I didn't follow myself.
(The Rivendell themed mansion sounded a-mazing ).
Wade is an overweight kid addicted to a game. But this game is much bigger than any other - it is in fact an entirely separate virtual reality known as the OASIS complete with schools, quests and Easter Eggs. When the developer of the game dies, he buries one such Easter Egg inside the game and whomever should find it first will win the contents of his fortune. Wade, we know, is on his way to solving the riddles of the Easter Egg left within the OASIS. But he has some tough competition - the gaming world has exploded and all OASIS players are desperate to win the prize.
I really liked the complexity of the ideas within this book. There is an entirely new alternate reality created here, and it’s created so well that the game genuinely feels as though it should exist. The nature of the game, how to play, what it looks like, how the avatars are created and changed, what you can do as a player inside the game, rules and regulations and your currency is all explained so well that I’m surprised someone hasn’t figured out to how to create their own version of it. This is a genuinely interesting, unique and very well imagined world on a truly impressive scale. Equally the contestants and roles they play are extremely well thought out.
There are however some problems with this book. I’m unsure how many of these problems lie with me. I personally struggled with some of the dialogue in this book; often the boys Wade plays the game with throw insults at each other, which is fine and probably reasonably realistic too, but gets irritating quickly because they’re painfully immature. Perhaps that’s the point? These kids are growing up inside a game, rarely leaving their house to stop playing. But if that’s the case, I really feel like the issues surrounding endless hours spent within another world to escape your reality might have been worth more of a mention.
The second, much larger, issue I had was the level of description. Some of the content is lost on me because it simply speaks about games and technology I’m unfamiliar with, so that’s not a flaw of the book but rather a lack of knowledge for me which others might really appreciate. But what I hated about this was that it isn’t just occasional mentions and nods to popular games/consoles/etc or trivia in many cases, but rather PAGES of listing game titles, movies, facts which are relevant to other games but are just plain boring. I don’t know if even die-hard fans of such a game would value quite that level of description - it feels like paragraphs of lists of trivia irrelevant to the story. Is the author, as he puts it himself, just “geeking out” and using this as a platform to share his love of games? Maybe. More likely he’s trying to get readers to discover some of his favourite things, much like the developer of this challenge, to elevate their fan base. Either way, it’s not ideal.
The final issue I had was with the pacing. The first half of this book works well, excluding listing trivia, and moves quickly as the world builds around us. The second half does not. I became lost in a web of plot devices coming together to make that eventual ending possible (also, predictable ending) and that just felt dull.
This book just ran out of steam for me. If it HAD been a game, I would never have finished it. As it stands, I did finish the book and it didn’t surpass the 3 star mark for me.
The pacing is very inconsistent and it isn't until you're about seventy pages in that the plot actually gets going. The first six chapters are pure exposition, much of it either irrelevant or repeated over and over. The dialogue doesn't fare much better either, with one chapter in particular focusing on a conversation between Parzival and Aech, and it's painful to read. It sounds like someone guessing at how young people speak and trying to be 'cool', but in reality is just tedious.
Long stretches of the book are just no fun to read, and while the film remained entertaining for the most part, the book simply doesn't. There's one passage from the book that sticks out in my mind as the best example of this book's failings: "Driven by loneliness, curiosity and raging teen hormones, I'd purchased a mid-range ACHD, the Shaptic Uberbetty, a few weeks after Art3mis stopped speaking to me. After spending several highly unproductive days inside a standalone brothel simulation called the Pleasuredome, I'd gotten rid of the doll out of a combination of shame and self-preservation. I'd wasted thousands of credits, missed a whole week of work, and was on the verge of completely abandoning my quest for the egg when I confronted the grim realization that virtual sex, no matter how realistic, was really nothing but glorified, computer-asssisted masturbation. At the end of the day, I was still a virgin, all alone in a dark room humping a lubed-up robot. So I got rid of the ACHD and went back to spanking the monkey the old-fashioned way." - And this is the book described as "enchanting" and "superbly entertaining".
Looking at the other reviews on here, the book for Ready Player One seems fairly popular, so maybe I'm just not getting it. But at the end of the day, I just really couldn't enjoy reading this and it did feel disappointing.
Set in the not so distant future, the novel is set in the year 2044. The world is ugly difficult place to live, famine, poverty and disease are now widespread. The main character is Wade Watts, a teenage boy who finds it difficult to live in the real world, interact with others and make friends. However, when he is logged into a virtual reality utopia known as the OASIS, he becomes Parzival. Here Wade, can be anything he wants to be and do anything he wants to do. He spends all his time devoted to uncovering the puzzles left by James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS. After Halliday died, he left clues hidden in the OASIS, that when solved will result in the winner gaining control of the OASIS and his massive fortune. The clues are not easy to solve, based on Halliday’s obsession with 80’s pop culture, and Wade like the rest of the world have been trying to solve them for years. Then Wade manages to find the first clue and finds himself in a dangerous world both real and virtual, where his life is at stake as others try to solve the clues before he does.
This is a dystopian sci fi book, clearly we have ceased to be able to imagine the future in a positive way. Additionally, we are no longer able to imagine a healthy world where humans can live, and we have retreated into a virtual world created where we can do and go anywhere, we want.
I really enjoyed this book, loved all the 80’s references to music, film, technology, gaming and tv. It was slightly different to the film, the quests were different, but I can see why they were changed for the screen. The book sometimes gets bogged down a little in describing some of the games played, but if you are a gaming geek, interested in retro games, I would imagine you would love this. I don’t know anything about Ernest Cline but would imagine that he is a bit of a geek and a gamer, judging by the subject matter.
If you're in the 35-45 age bracket, this will bring a nostalgic tear to your eye with its countless pop culture references from the 80s/early 90s.
The references do sometimes feel a little forced, and can cause the action of the novel to become a little stilted, but thankfully that's a rare occurrence.
I understand that this was originally marketed as a young adult book, and the simplistic writing style would back that up. However, It also makes for a very quick, enjoyable read
I have to say though, the portrayal of the Oasis in both film and book was extremely unrealistic: not even ONE My Little Pony avatar?!? Shame on you, Mr Cline! ;)
If you don’t know blow-by-blow all the games, film refs, etc. then, fear not, you don’t need to, because Parzival has the obsessive encyclopaedic detail, and you just believe in him.
The book mixes dystopia e.g. Stacks description and poverty is unsurprising (shipping container homes with pirate aerial is now), with greater value on escapism to eutopian OASIS than food and rent.
The book is a paradox. On one hand, it's a reminder to step back from a current bonkers world, and old school simplicity -v- modern complex i.e. sometimes less is more, and as entertaining and rewarding. On the other, it's like a two-car dragcar race - single purpose, one direction and a freaking fast ride, as you are immersed and sucked following Parzival and fellow gunters to the next level, keeping a step ahead and dodging capture or being killed.
The purile competitiveness between Parzival and Aech is funny. The ping-pong of bs and insults between best buddies shows true camaraderie, and quickly establishes them as smart cookies.
If a RPO 2 film were slated, it'd be great to see more key features from the book i.e. portals, gates, space/environments, size, limitless OASIS, cheating IOI, Parzival’s technical genius, Og, etc. - there's still fuel left in the tank.
If winning the Egg is an opening move, and Sorrento/IOI isn’t going to let it go, then a devious attempt to wrestle back control of the OASIS could be an intriguing challenge/quest for RPO 2, with a final game battle with real world consequences – wishful thinking on this reader’s part.
It’s the old chicken versus egg thing; do you read the book before seeing the film, or vice versa? It doesn't matter. Seeing the film first didn’t corrupt reading the book because it didn't slavishly replicate the book e.g. key, gate challenges, scenes, characters and experiences differ, so whichever order you see/read, then doing the other just adds more meat to the bone.
Waterpistol to the head, though, if it's a choice between the book or film, then by a hair width it’d be the book, because you fill in the detail - the film you see, the book you feel. Though definitely BOTH.
Set in 2045, the book depicts a realistic world in decline. Jobs are scarce, the earth is overcrowded, and resources are limited. Most of humanity escapes the drudge of grim reality courtesy of a VR world called OASIS. Here, you can be whatever and whomever you wish. OASIS is a mixture of Minecraft, Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Duty - everything rolled into a world so real that you can feel and even smell it. When the reclusive creator of OASIS (James Halliday) dies, he leave his entire fortune to anyone who can discover the hidden 'Easter Egg' he's coded into his VR world. All the seekers need to do is discover three keys and complete three subsequent trials. To succeed, however, you must first understand Halliday himself - and he's a massive 80s geek!
I'm 50 years old this year. That means I was a teenager during the 80s. Many of the films, bands, records and video arcade games mentioned in the book are all very familiar to me. I actually owned a copy of one of the albums which is key to cracking one of the riddles. Passing references or film quotes which may be lost on younger readers had me giggling to myself. Cline creates a world here that I was genuinely immersed in. The story is highly readable, and generally very credible - there are one or two times this credibility gets pushed, but the magic is never broken. For me, I was torn between wanting to find out how the book ended, and yet simultaneously never wanting it to end.
I think this book will go on to become a cult classic. Unfortunately, I found the film to be a massive disappointment. If you read and love the book, leave the film well alone.