A science fiction classic in the making, Ready Player One immediately grabbed my attention by being completely plausible. “I could totally see this happening,” I thought to myself during the first chapter. Cline seemed to effortlessly cast a protagonist who anyone would feel compelled to root for while simultaneously casting his counter-part to be The Corporation and Big Business we all fear will take over our meager existences and cause worldwide unhappiness by diminishing our personal rights and freedoms. Basically, my jaw dropped early in the prologue and continued to hang open for the remainder of the novel. I respect any author who can set up a plot and create an entire dystopia so successfully during a time in literature where imperfect dystopian worlds run rampant and are often not thought out enough. Ready Player One embodies many modern themes that plague the human race, however I won’t mention them all as to avoid spoilers. Similar to previous dystopian novels, Cline perfectly tackles the world’s current problems through his words; we of the world are destroying its energy while constantly seeking refuge in our own realities rather than living in the world itself. This notion along with the countless 80s references and relatable geeky characters littered throughout Ready Player One have boosted it to my high score table of Best Books Ever.
The novel follows protagonist Wade Watts (a.k.a. Parzival) throughout Cline’s virtual reality game of the OASIS, which is what all of us video gamers dream of coming true. Despite the limitless possibilities and worlds within the OASIS, it sheds both a positive and negative light on reality. Because our future selves have destroyed many of the earth’s resources, many have decided to use the OASIS as an escape from the tragedy and brokenness of society. For kids like Wade, who are poor and have no real family, the OASIS gives them an identity they can shape for themselves, which I believe is an excellent concept.
The creator of the OASIS, Halliday, was born in the 80s and amassed an unreasonable amount of money from the profits of it, even though there was no fee for joining the OASIS community. He died with no friends or family, so in his will, he created a giant Easter egg hunt full of riddles and 80s trivia. So, although Cline’s world is set in the 2040s, there are 80s references everywhere, giving the story plenty of relatable nostalgia. The unpaid “professionals” who spend all of their time online hunting for these eggs are known as Gunters, and Wade, who has no money to do anything else, has spent the last 5 years gathering knowledge for the hunt while playing through 80s video games. Several years after Halliday’s death and still no one has been able to crack the only riddle he left behind. This is where we put on our own haptic suits and insert ourselves into Cline’s dystopian world to watch the plot unfold.
I am anxious to see the movie and read the sequel when they are completed. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. Everyone has something to gain from reading it, and this is especially true for anyone remotely geeky over the age of 25. 5/5 stars.
Ernest Cline also just announced that pre-ordering is available for his new book, Armada, which I expect to be just as amazing as Ready Player One. It is available for pre-order here: Amazon
Joe and I will be filming an in-depth video discussion of this book very soon, which will contain spoilers.
Goodreads rating: 4.33
Recommended for: 80s kids, Video Game Lovers, Everyone