I haven’t read a lot of books lately, I’ve been far too busy to do much of any recreational reading at all. I’ve had this book sitting around for quite some time, waiting to be read, when I heard a podcast while driving to Wondercon and mentally moved it to the top of my reading stack. It would be weeks before I could get around to taking a look at it and I am very, very glad that I did. As much as people I’d heard raved about it, I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed this one. So here’s my review of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
In the not too distant future, society has failed, people live in ghettos and most people spend the majority of their time in a worldwide virtual reality called OASIS. When the creator of OASIS, the most brilliant and wealthy man of all, James Halliday, dies, he leaves behind three easter eggs within OASIS. The first person who can solve the clues not only gets control of OASIS, but also Halliday’s near limitless wealth and thus, an online gold rush begins, but as time goes on, no one can figure out the clues until Wade Watts, a poor teenager, comes along and he and his companions start to get closer to the truth. Can he locate the final secret before an evil rival corporation bent on controlling the online world gets there first?
You really have to love the 80s to get the most out of this book, as such, anyone who didn’t live through the 80s probably need not apply. The references are pervasive and non-stop and there are probably parts of the book you just won’t get unless you understand 80s movies, music and books I suppose this could be a limiting factor for an audience but screw it, it’s still cool as hell.
I think it’s amazing that this is Ernest Cline’s first ever book, although he did write the script for the 2009 film Fanboys. As much as that was a financial failure, I still really enjoyed it so it’s not really much of a surprise that I’d like this novel just as much.
All that said though, it’s not the most sophisticated book in the world, the characters are not as fleshed out as they could be and the bad guys are really mustache-twirling, although they’re supposed to be. They are evil largely for the sake of being evil, to give the good guys something to fight against and we know they’re destined to fail. Still, it gives a great platform for an ongoing game of “I Love the 80s” and does it well.
Ready Player One has already been optioned for a movie, as well as Cline’s newest, still unreleased book Armada. I’d really love to see it made, although acquiring the rights to all of the properties in the book would be absurdly expensive so I’m not holding my breath. I loved the book though, I couldn’t put it down and burned through it in a day or two and it left me wanting more. I guess that’s the greatest praise you can give to a book though, isn’t it?