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Ready Player One: A Novel Paperback – June 5, 2012
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Elsewhere by Dean Koontz
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From the Publisher
From the Amazon Book Review: "A Heck of a Lot of Fun": Ernest Cline on the Film
In 2011, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One riveted readers to the page as unlikely hero Wade Watts used his gaming skills and his knowledge of 1980s pop-culture trivia to find clues left by billionaire James Halliday. Clues that would lead to control of the Oasis, the online virtual reality platform within which everyone in 21st-century Earth lives the better part of their lives.
We asked Cline for his thoughts.
Adrian Liang: Several years ago, when you and I first spoke about Ready Player One being made into a movie, you were over the moon because Steven Spielberg would be directing it. For a sci-fi author—or really any author—that's hitting the director jackpot. What was the actual experience of seeing Ready Player One taken from the page and put on the screen by Spielberg?
Ernest Cline: It's been one of the most exciting, educational, and creatively fulfilling experiences of my life. Steven is a huge fan of the book, and he was incredibly invested in making an adaptation that stayed true to the spirit of my story, so he allowed me to collaborate with him throughout the entire process. Every novelist who has their work made into a film should be so lucky.
How was the experience of writing a highly anticipated feature film screenplay different from writing a novel? What did you learn from the process?
It was incredibly challenging, but also a heck of a lot of fun. The process of adapting my own novel into a feature film helped me understand why it's almost always necessary to make considerable changes to the source material in order to tell the story in a more cinematic way. Books and films are two completely different storytelling mediums, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Things that work really well in a novel might not work in a movie at all, and vice versa. The best adaptations manage to capture the spirit of the story and the characters, and Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One definitely does that, in the best way possible.
Your book Ready Player One hit shelves in 2011. What are your thoughts about the immersiveness and escapism of the Oasis and whether it has real-life parallels to social media?
When I was writing the novel, I always envisioned the Oasis as an allegory for the modern Internet. Right now, in 2018, billions of us carry small hand-held computers that keep us connected to the Internet every second of every day. We already have virtual conversations and relationships with people we've never met. And we communicate through our social media profiles, which are just like Oasis avatars—idealized versions of ourselves that are often more representative of who we would like to be, rather than who we truly are. So yes, I always had those parallels in mind when I created the Oasis, and they only seemed to have deepened in the years since the book was first published.
“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
About the Author
- Lexile Measure : 970L
- Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307887448
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307887443
- Product Dimensions : 5.15 x 0.83 x 7.93 inches
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; 32089th Edition (June 5, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
1. The first 17% of the book (kindle says how far along you are) is pure exposition of the world. That's one sixth of the book where nothing happens except our hero attends two classes in his nonsensical virtual high school.
2. There is a chapter where the characters sit around and tell each other what's already happened in the book. Why?!! I've already read it, why are the characters explaining it to each other.
3. The insanely over explained pop culture stuff. Example "oh wow that looks like Rivendell!" "Yes it does! Rivendell, from the Lord of the Rings movies!" I'm surprised the author doesn't break the fourth wall and just scream "GET IT?!"
4. The swearing. The multi page treatise on the virtues of masturbation (Lord I wish I were kidding.) I'm not a prude and am all for profanity when it is natural and adds to the emotion of the story. Here it just feels like a 13 year old who just learned to swear and does it to feel grown up.
I skimmed the entire second half and am much happier for it. The only joy I got from this book is reading the one star reviews so I could agree with all of them.
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).
Look, I get it - I'm a nerd - I really am. I'm the kid that always wanted to grow up to be a Systems Analyst. I grew up on many of the references in this book. But being a nerd doesn't have to mean you give up an appreciation for good writing. You want clever, entertaining future dystopia? Go read Snow Crash.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
Lord knows I want to like this (I'm a huge fan of Mr W's performance in "Stand By Me" - forever dear to my heart for the late, great, River Pheonix).
But I didn't enjoy Wheaton's reading of "Information Doesn't want to Be Free" (about copyright - came as a free download with a 'humble bundle'), and I was hoping that I'd prefer him in a different genre, (i.e. fiction).
Alas, it hasn't clicked for me yet, so I haven't gotten past the first couple of chapters... This might be one of my Christmas re-reads.
Bought after seeing the film.
This is a fantastic story, especially for those that have grown up in the same eras of pop culture.
The unabridged audio book is narrated by Will Wheaton and his telling of Ernest Cline’s masterpiece is just fantastic. Named in the story Will brings this epic alive for me.
Different to the film in many ways, but the film is fantastic too and follows the heart of the book at least.
The characters are brilliantly developed and you quickly fall in love/hate with them.
Wade/Parzival is just the best and his story engages every emotion.
For me Ready Player One allows me to relive things from my formative years and allows me to look forward to what is possible.
Hopefully the real world in this story remains a figment of Cline’s imagination.
Well done Mr Cline, well done indeed!
The book is set in the near future and the world is in a mess. Resources are depleted, poverty is everywhere and a game universe that is something like World Of Warcraft on speed and with multiple genres is the only escape. This game is free. Its chief programmer and founder is dead and has left behind a puzzle with the ultimate prize. Control of the game (called Oasis) and its vast fortune. This book follows one such Gunter - Wade Watts (Gunter is short for Egg Hunter and that in turn means the dedicated Oasis players who try and solve the riddles for the ultimate prize. Of course there are those who try and cheat their way there and they are another organisation who wants control of Oasis and to charge and change the system.
That's the basics. The 80's influences are rife in the book and the Oasis description is a leap from where we are today with online gaming - but not much of one. However, this book is just a joy to read. If you grew up in the period of Commodores, Spectrums and 8bit then you are likely to love this. It's obviously written by someone who has and is in love with the games as they were then. The characters are likeable and the overall story arc might not be the most surprising or original but it does deliver.
I flew through this in days and enjoyed every word. Its made me want to play the old games I grew up with and made me think about where the games we are currently playing are taking us. Its also being made into a film and I saw some concept art for it and hope that its half as good as the book - how the hell can it be? Possibly the best book I have read this year and most certainly the most enjoyable its cast its spell on me like a level 99 mage and now I am finished I want to start again. The very highest recommendation I can give. Because I loved every geeky, guilty pleasurable word and line of it.
The character is the most relatable I've ever read, being a nerd who love video games and movies. The love side plot is great, not over the top and self deprecating to counter any cheese.
Totally different from the movie, so if that's putting you off don't be!