Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Rating: 5 Stars
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
This book is brilliant. How brilliant, you ask? It’s 3:38 am—and I just spent the last 9 hours reading non-stop. My eyes won’t even focus at this point. From the minute I picked up Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I couldn’t put it down.
Technically speaking, the book was exceptionally well written—but it isn’t going to be for everyone. There were no typos, awkward sentences, or misplaced punctuation to stumble over. The narrative was fairly clean and easy to follow. I was sucked into the story from page one and never lost interest. However, there is a bit of a caveat. This book is littered with geeky, nerdy 80’s pop culture references. If you weren’t around in the 80’s and you didn’t follow early game culture… you may have trouble getting through this book. It is absolutely saturated with name-drops and references.
That isn’t a bad thing though. Being a geek myself and having grown up in the 80’s, I loved every minute of it. I literally squealed when Aech and Wade argued over The Battle For Endor—hey, no judging. (Though my squeal when Whil Wheaton was mentioned as running in the OASIS politics was even louder.) I honestly can’t even imagine the amount of research that went into writing this book, but I am astounded by it. So much gaming culture and geek culture in general was woven into the narrative as to make this an instant classic in my eyes.
Though this book isn’t going to be for everyone (it is, after all, lacking in significant amounts of dialogue and littered with references and facts from a very particular decade and geek-gamer culture), I think it could be—for anyone willing to give it a chance. There’s a very real message in it’s pages for what could be in store for our human civilization as it stands right now. Wade’s future isn’t so different than our own. Our technology hasn’t quite caught up, but we’re not that far behind. In fact, Wade’s future is so eerily similar to our own future that the big red button was looking mighty tempting to me. (You’ll get that reference when you read the book)
I don’t want to give away spoilers, just know this: This book was fantastic. It was intricate, well-thought-out, and begs the reader to stop and think, and consider the human condition. I highly recommend that you read it. This is going on my Keeper Shelf…and then I’m going to log out of OASIS and get some sleep. I’ve been logged in for way too many hours.
PS: Imagine Og as Leonard Nimoy. It will make everything better.