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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (2011)

by Ernest Cline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1384591,214 (4.22)3 / 503
Recently added byFoodang, RJ_Bailey, madA63, snazz, eremiticlife, gamasennin, LopiCake, private library, Lokweesha
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    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2seven)
  2. 120
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (jbgryphon)
    jbgryphon: Gibson's Matrix and Stephenson's Metaverse are as much the basis for OASIS as any of the geek universes that are included in it.
  3. 100
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (jbgryphon)
    jbgryphon: RPO's OASIS owes it's existence as much to Neil Stephenson's Metaverse as to the miriad of geek universes that are included in it.
  4. 91
    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley (quenstalof)
    quenstalof: Both show classic video game inspiration
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    Halting State by Charles Stross (ahstrick)
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    Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black (quenstalof)
  9. 20
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (one-horse.library)
  10. 64
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (sturlington)
    sturlington: Ready Player One reminded me of a grown-up version of this classic.
  11. 32
    The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (GD2020)
  12. 10
    Wyrm (Bantam Spectra Book) by Mark Fabi (slagolas, slagolas)
  13. 00
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (infjsarah)
  14. 11
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  15. 00
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  16. 00
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  17. 00
    You by Austin Grossman (Anonymous user)
  18. 00
    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: Another cyberpunk story set decades in the future, but one that revolves around Disney World rather than the 1980s.
  19. 00
    The Blackouts by Robert Brockway (one-horse.library)
  20. 00
    The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (amysisson)
    amysisson: Different type of look at a virtual (Second Life style) environment, and where it might lead.

(see all 27 recommendations)


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English (453)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (459)
Showing 1-5 of 453 (next | show all)
Very good story about virtual reality and 80s culture. Very well done for a new author. Looking forward to his next book. ( )
  Guide2 | Mar 12, 2015 |
There were some sappy, cringe inducing moments, but they didn't ruin the experience. The writing was nothing special, but the imagination at work was enough to keep me interested. I really got into the idea of the Oasis and the "games within the game." If I was 15 and really into video games, this would easily get 5 stars. I did grow up in the 80's, and the pop culture trivia scattered throughout every page (sometimes annoying) made for enjoyable, and easy reading. It was like watching something like "Back to the Future." Something that kids and adults can enjoy. I can easily see this as a movie but it will probably be ruined in the process. So, read it before you're bombarded with advertising. All in all, nice change of pace from the writing that I usually pursue. ( )
  e-b | Mar 11, 2015 |
So, Willy Wonka and the virtual world. That's what this book is. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It still makes for a very interesting book.

The only thing that drives me nuts is the "Ready Player One" bit. That is a phrase for arcade games, or console games, where there are possibilities of a second player. The way this game is described, everyone has their own console, or actually a visor that logs them into the virtual world. At no time would this game ask "Ready Player One".

That argument aside, this is a very interesting book. A compelling read that is only slightly predictable. I mean, from the very beginning, you find out that the protagonist will in fact be the one who wins the contest. So, the rest of the book is just the story of the journey of how he got there.

I'm not even going to mention the completely impossible bits that make no sense. Okay, maybe I'll mention a few... Like the fact that the protagonist spent hours on an arcade version of Ms. Pac-Man, to get a perfect score. This is near impossible.

There was no reason for him to do this. He did not know there would be a reward from this accomplishment, that would win him the entire contest. So, why did he set forth to get the perfect score? Just because he has crazy OCD? He never had OCD before that... So, yea. Doesn't make sense at all.

It was still a very fun book to read. But yea, fuck Willy Wonka. Fuck him in his dirty chocolate asshole. ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
Starts a little slow, to set up the plot, but then takes off like a rocket! Great Characters that draw you into their lives, making you eager to turn the page. I read this in one sitting and passed it on. ( )
  bonnieclyde | Mar 4, 2015 |
If books could be designated as mashups, then Ready Player One would be called a glorious mashup of fantasy, science fiction, eighties culture, and gaming. The story is set a couple of decades in the future, and the world has not fared well. Energy supplies were exhausted, creating an energy crisis. Massive population shifts occurred as people abandoned rural areas to live near big cities where more resources could be found, wars increased as people fought over those scarce resources, and economies around the world plummeted. While the physical earth deteriorated, the virtual world exploded in a paradise of perfection and possibilities. A genius game designer, James Halliday, created OASIS, which began as a massive multiplayer online game that immersed players in the world with visors and gloves allowing gamers to see and feel what they played. OASIS quickly evolved into a virtual reality system, offering endless possibilities for communicating, gaming, shopping, and education. Now, more and more people are escaping into this still beautiful virtual universe as their physical world declines around them.

The story begins at the moment when James Halliday dies, and describes his unusual will. He informs the world that he has hidden an easter egg inside his massively popular OASIS system, inspired by programmers of the earliest video games he played. He leaves some cryptic clues about three keys that will open three gates, all of which need to be found, and then drops the most surprising revelation of all: the first player to find his hidden easter egg will inherit Halliday's entire fortune, along with controlling shares in his company.

The narrator of the book is Wade Watts, an eighteen year old high school student whose real existence is quite unbearable. His parents are dead, and his aunt despises him but puts up with his occasional presence in her trailer because she swipes his food credits as his official guardian. Wade is part of a growing population of poor persons who live in the stacks, lower class tenements comprised of trailers stacked up in teetering piles to economize space. He spends most of his time in OASIS, even to the extent of being enrolled in a virtual school system. Wade is a dedicated gunter, or egg hunter. While the prologue describes Halliday's death and will, the first chapter picks up five years later. Fervor over the egg hunt has simmered down after five years of unsuccessful searching. Not even the first key has been found. While gunters were supported and adored at the beginning of the hunt, they've become something of a joke, and most of them spend more time in petty fighting than making any real progress on the hunt. Wade, however, is faithful to the dream. In addition to working on finishing his last year of school, he spends his time researching the clues Halliday left.

This is where the culture of the eighties enters the future. Halliday was obsessed with the music, movies, books, and games of the eighties, the decade when he lived through his teenage years. Beside his brief rhymes about keys and gates, Halliday left one other resource for those interested in joining the hunt, a journal. However, instead of daily records or memories, his journal is comprised of essays and ramblings on his favorite eighties topics. Wade, like other serious gunters, realizes that the path to finding the clues is learning all he can about what Halliday liked, so his research involves immersing himself in everything mentioned in Halliday's journals. He watches old eighties sitcoms, listens to eighties music, and watches movies and reads books all referenced in the journal. If a movie is described as a favorite, Wade watches it over and over. He plays all the old video games until he has mastered each one. As he says, when one spends all one's time online, the day offers plenty of time for obsessing over the eighties.

Wade's biggest problem is his lack of funds. He can escape into the OASIS for free, but his avatar is stuck on the planet of Ludus, which contains all of the public schools students can attend. He may have amassed an insane amount of Halliday trivia, but he can't actually travel to find the keys or the gates.

I would say the story kicks into gear when Wade makes the mental leap that draws all of the preliminary clues together and he deduces where the first key is to be found, but actually, the narrative is fluid and brisk from the very first page. The first person narration pulls the reader in, and Wade is such a sympathetic character, one that quickly drew my attachment and had me rooting for him. The beginning of the book devotes most of its pages to developing the world, setting up Wade's character, and getting Halliday's contest established and running. Each of these three components are fascinating, and completely held my interest. The dystopian setting is convincing, Wade is a rounded and believable character, and the contest is simply exciting. The eighties material is cleverly built into this framework, and as a girl who was born in '79 and grew up in the eighties, I was delighted with every reference. How fabulous that each of the keys and gates were intricately connected to some tidbit from the eighties.

Sometimes, a book sets up a wonderful premise but doesn't deliver on its potential. Happily, this novel justifies the initial excitement generated by the contest at the beginning. The clues are complicated, the answers are convoluted but make sense once explained, and are in keeping with Halliday's character and the eighties fixation. Once Wade's avatar Parzival starts finding keys, he is not the only avatar to unlock the secrets of the hunt. His close friend Aech and his cyber crush Art3mis are right behind him (or sometimes before him) in deciphering Halliday's enigmatic scenarios. Two boys from Japan round out the top five gunters who soon become international sensations. The competition raises the tension in the story, and it is further increased when the company Innovative Online Industries demonstrates that it is willing to take any step to ensure that one of its employees wins that egg.

With an exciting plot, a crazy contest, likable characters and a couple of despicable villains, and a bang-up climax that is battle and show down and emotional reunion where people's actual identities are revealed, I didn't want to put this book down. The author Cline was clever in his merging of multiple fandoms into an original concept that is pure fun. For anyone who has ever geeked out, be it over Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft, or any other branch of nerdom, this book is a must read. ( )
  nmhale | Feb 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 453 (next | show all)
Ready Player One borrows liberally from the same Joseph Campbell plot requirements as all the beloved franchises it references, but in such a loving, deferential way that it becomes endearing. There’s a high learning curve to all of the little details Wade throws out about the world, and for anyone who doesn’t understand or love the same sect of pop culture Halliday enjoyed, Ready Player One is a tough read. But for readers in line with Cline’s obsessions, this is a guaranteed pleasure.
The breadth and cleverness of Mr. Cline’s imagination gets this daydream pretty far. But there comes a point when it’s clear that Wade lacks at least one dimension, and that gaming has overwhelmed everything else about this book.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Aug 14, 2011)

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cline, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, RalphDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Susan and Libby
Because there is no map for where we are going
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Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.
Like most gunters, I voted to reelect Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton (again). There were no term limits, and those two geezers had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade.
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Book description
A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut — part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera.

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS — a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly, the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

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"An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline's imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe."--Booklist, starred review "Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday's fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline."--Chris Schluep, Amazon Best Book of the Month… (more)

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