- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 46 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 16, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005HG7BWC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Ready Player One Audiobook – Unabridged
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In "Ready Player One," a love-story-space-opera-hero-quest-mashup novel from screenwriter and poet Ernest Cline ("Fanboys"), 18-year-old Wade Watts lives in the laundry room of his abusive aunt's trailer in one of the many "stacks," mobile homes piled atop each other 15 high, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. But like most of the miserable, unemployed, starving people in the world he spends his time in OASIS, a massively-multiplayer virtual utopia co-created by billionaire game design genius James Halliday. Thanks to goggles that use low-power lasers to write images directly on your eyes and gloves that let you "feel" everything you touch, OASIS is the virtual reality universe that Second Life only wishes it was. Everything -- schools, businesses, fantasy worlds, famous science fiction universes -- is in OASIS, somewhere, including Halliday's greatest challenge: his own estate.
5 years before the book begins, the famously eccentric and reclusive Halliday died, leaving $280 billion and controlling interest of his game company to whomever could figure out his insanely devious puzzle, find three hidden keys and successfully navigate through three hidden gates somewhere in the vast OASIS universe in the ultimate Easter egg hunt. For a significant amount of humanity, including Wade, hunting for the egg has become their primary occupation.
He doesn't have the opportunities most of the other egg hunters (called "gunters") do. The game is practically free -- 25 cents gets you a lifetime membership -- but things like armor, weapons, and teleportation to any world besides the starter planet or Ludus, the school world, costs real money, and he's still a broke high school student. What Wade does have is knowledge, specifically knowledge of all things 80s, Halliday's (and now the world's) main obsession.
Halliday was a teenager during the 80s and his game worlds show it. To even begin to solve the puzzles players need encyclopedic knowledge of everything from that decade: Sitcoms, Japanese cartoons, John Hughes movies, Monty Python dialogue, Dungeons and Dragons games and, of course, old videogames of all sorts. Remember Cyndi Lauper? Sit-down Ms. Pac-Man games at Pizza Hut? How to load up a game in a Commodore 64? Every episode of "Family Ties," "Mighty Isis," and "Airwolf"? You might have a shot.
But when Wade cracks the first clue and beats millions of gunters to the top spot on the Scoreboard, he attracts the attention of IOI, an evil corporation that will stop at nothing to get control of OASIS, including real-life murder.
"Ready Player One" is, plain and simply, a love letter to the 80s. You don't have to know every reference to enjoy the book, but for those of us who also grew up back when you could find videos on MTV there's a shoutout on nearly every page. I sat down and read it in one sitting, something I haven't done with a book in years. Sort of a combination of "Neuromancer" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," it's funny and reasonably fast-paced and it became a little disturbing to me how many of the really obscure references I got right away.
There are giant Japanese robots controlled by shouting. There are Jedi Knights and wizards, replicants and Intellivision, "Silver Spoons" and hair bands and Ally Sheedy. There are magical artifacts and electronic wonders. There are ancient Dungeons and Dragons modules made "real." There's a DeLorean with a Knight Industries Two Thousand computer and Ghostbusters equipment (a wild pop-culture contraption the author is now actually building for himself). There are friends and allies he's never actually met, millions of other gunters trying to beat him, and an army of unstoppable IOI agents who want him dead.
This is Ernest Cline's first novel and it shows. The dialogue doesn't vary as much as it could from character to character and while bad things happen, you rarely get a sense of anything going really wrong until you're told it does. It's kind of like reading a novel in god-mode, with occasional infodumps of exposition. But the charming "Ready Player One" pulls you along, doesn't cheat you, and makes you laugh along the way. Cline was clearly having the time of his life when he wrote it and the feeling is catching. There's a reason it made it on so many Best of 2011 lists.
And if you emerge with a new appreciation for that magical pastel decade, well, James Halliday would surely have wanted it that way.
Just oh my goodness if you haven’t read this yet please do. I need someone to nerd out with me. I fangirled so hard at BEA when he signed Armada.
I read on kindle but the paperback I have since bought is pretty awesome. It’s simple but still cool.
Wade: Can I just say how dedicated all three of these kids are. Wade just wants what is best and he is so determined to solve the puzzle. He is helpful and near the end rather have friends in reality then over the Oasis.
Art3mis: That twist though….Just wow. Strong and an original character. At first is a little mysterious but starts to open up to Wade and Aech.
Aech: Out of all the players I feel like he wants this more than anyone. He wants the world to be better but most of all he doesn`t want the prize to fall in the hands of the Sixers.
Sixers: They are a completely ruthless group of “gamers” that work together to try and solve the Famous Easter Egg. They aren`t in it for the love of knowledge and gaming they are in it to monopolize the Oasis.
Ernest Cline is able to take 80`s pop culture references and turn it into a futuristic alternate (or real) reality. The Oasis is the perfect place for everyone to run away from the horrible tasks of everyday life. They can be whoever they want to be and best of all they never have to leave their seats.
The hunt itself was what really did it for me. There was so much excitement and puzzles that I found myself wanting to search and watch the games a movies referenced.
Along the way, alliances are formed, enemies are declared, loopholes are discovered, and progress is made. This book was an absolute geek treasure trove in and of itself, with hundreds of reference pulled directly from my own childhood. If you grew up with Basic D&D, the Atari 2600 and Infocom games, you will absolutely LOVE this book. It's bursting at the seams with pop-culture reference that any child of the 80s will appreciate.
The book is cleverly written, with great plot twists and clever puzzles. I can say that I got most of the references, but certainly not all. Either way, I really did enjoy every second of this book.
However, there's so much "insider" detail, it might be overwhelming to the casual reader. There is a definitive audience for this book, and I'm not sure how much people outside of that demographic will like it. If you spend hours on your Atari 2600 playing Adventure, Asteroids and the Pac-Man that didn't rotate, or wiled away hour after hour playing the Basic D&D Modules of the early 1980s, or spend countless days in Video Game Arcades at your local bowling alley or Mini-golf complex, playing Galaga, Space Ace and Tron, this book is for you and you will absolutely love it. Put your quarter on the top of the game to declare "next" and get. this. book.
Audiobook note: The audiobook was superbly read by Ubergeek Wil Wheaton, who does a fantastic job of playing out the chaos and geekthink.
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