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Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Ernest Cline

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,347569820 (4.22)3 / 579
Title:Ready Player One: A Novel
Authors:Ernest Cline
Info:Broadway (2012), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

  1. 222
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2seven, whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both about teens fighting back against the greater power using computers.
  2. 150
    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.
  3. 150
    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.
  4. 70
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Anonymous user)
  5. 92
    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley (quenstalof)
    quenstalof: Both show classic video game inspiration
  6. 50
    Halting State by Charles Stross (ahstrick)
  7. 52
    Kiln People by David Brin (freddlerabbit)
  8. 20
    Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black (quenstalof)
  9. 20
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (TomWaitsTables)
  10. 20
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (infjsarah)
  11. 65
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (sturlington)
    sturlington: Ready Player One reminded me of a grown-up version of this classic.
  12. 10
    Wyrm by Mark Fabi (slagolas, slagolas)
  13. 43
    The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (GD2020)
  14. 21
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (bikeracer4487)
  15. 10
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (simon_carr)
  16. 22
    Redshirts by John Scalzi (ryvre)
    ryvre: Fans of pop culture nostalgia will love both of these books!
  17. 00
    Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (bluepolicebox)
  18. 00
    Press Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: Similar subject matter -- where video games are more than they seem.
  19. 00
    .hack//Legend of the Twilight, Volume 1 by Tatsuya Hamazaki (Mind_Booster_Noori)
  20. 00
    You by Austin Grossman (Anonymous user)

(see all 28 recommendations)


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English (559)  Finnish (3)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (568)
Showing 1-5 of 559 (next | show all)
Going outside is highly overrated.

Wade Watts lives in a bleak, and probably fairly realistic, version of our future. It's 2044 and we've got an energy crisis, a lack of food, overpopulation, and a recession. Most people live in literal stacks of trailers. Much of the time, it's not even safe to leave your home. Suffice it to say that it's not a great situation. To escape the miserable state of reality, James Halliday invented the OASIS, a giant virtual reality in which anyone with an internet connection can immerse themselves in a completely different world. Like most people, Wade spends most of his time in the OASIS. It's where most shopping and socializing are done, where meetings are held, and even where Wade goes to school.

Since there are no limits to what Wade (aka Parzival) can be in the OASIS, he absolutely lives and breathes it. When Halliday dies, news quickly spreads that he left his entire fortune, and control of the OASIS, as an elaborate Easter egg within the game. OASIS users obsessively dig through every corner of the virtual reality, trying and failing to make sense of the vague clue that Halliday left before his death. After a number of years, the scoreboard is still blank, and everyone but the most dedicated hunters have given up hope. Suddenly, Wade has a revelation and Parzival becomes the first to discover the meaning of the first clue. As his name appears on the scoreboard, he's skyrocketed to immediate fame and the rest of the world watches for him to figure out the next move -- or fall flat on his face.

Ready Player One had been on my radar for a number of years, ever since I saw a friend post a glowing review of it shortly after it came out. I was lucky enough to get a copy for Christmas this year, and pretty much devoured it chapter by chapter at every chance I could get.

The beginning in particular really appealed to me. The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, was notoriously obsessed with the 80's, which would have been his childhood. Because of this, Halliday's Easter egg challenge is chock full of 80's references - from movies to tv to music to games. My favorite parts of the book were those where scenes from famous 80's movies were recreated. Some of my favorite movies are from the 80's, and I could practically see the scenes playing out in my mind.

Most of the references in the book are to video games, and while I've never been too interested in playing them, I still understood the majority of those references. Of course, the more obscure ones did go over my head, but not to the point where I stopped enjoying what I was reading. And of course a book about a guy obsessed with video games is going to contain a multitude of video game references, so they weren't out of place, either.

As for the actual story, the plot moves along at a nice, steady pace, neither too fast nor too slow. The characters were great. I loved Wade, and Aech and Art3mis really grew on me as well. The bad guys are believably evil, and the good guys aren't perfect. The book maintains a good balance between action and character development, and is overall very well-written.

Ready Player One really plays out like a movie, and I would be thrilled to watch it on the big screen. As it is, I highly recommend it to anybody who wants a good story with a heavy dose of nostalgia. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
It's fun and worth reading, but I didn't like the subtext. There's too much 1980s nerd culture (I say this as a nerd who remembers the 1980s), and glorification of a selfish billionaire. I read it a few years ago, and now I can't remember exactly why I didn't like Halliday, but the way he chose who was worthy to inherit his estate & corporation seemed immoral to me. In other words, I had a problem with the fundamental premise.

But the plot and main characters are likable, it moves along at a face pace, and that was enough to cover up the deeper problems for me. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
If you lived during the 80's and liked games this is the golden book for you. Back then I wasn't the geekiest around, but even though this book brought back a world of memories while having a page turning story. ( )
  Leticia.Toraci | Feb 10, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book a lot. That said, I feel like it has a very narrow audience; a reader much younger (or older) than me would probably miss a lot, and a reader geekier than I would probably like it even more. But if you were around for 80s pop culture, you'll get something out of this.

In the near future, a virtual reality world has taken over pop culture. Gaming, socializing, even school classes take place in this MMO environment. It only adds to the popularity when the fabulously wealthy designer of this interface dies - and leaves his entire fortune to the person who follows the clues and wins the secret video game he's hidden in easter eggs in his virtual world.

The deceased programmer was a child of the 80s, so his clues are all based in 80s video games, movies, music and other pop culture references - which spawns a massive cultural retro fad for all things 80s, which creates an odd veneer on this dystopian future landscape (things aren't doing too well, out IRL.) Communities of people devoted to playing the game spring up - but, with that much money at stake, evil corporate interests also have an eye toward winning.

Wade (known as Parzival online), a poor but fully geeky boy, becomes one of the leading players of the game, hoping to leverage his videogame skills and his in-depth knowledge of 80s trivia into success. With the help of his friends - whom he's never actually met - he goes up against the Borg-like Sixers (paid corporate hackers) - and soon gets in deeper than he'd expected.

The book's a fun adventure, but it also has a lot to say about both the good and the bad aspects of today's increasingly wired environment; the pitfalls and the benefits of online identities, and how the 'virtual' can also be quite real.

One thing that struck me while reading the book, however, which wasn't really discussed as deeply as it could've been, is the limitations inherent in fandom. The author is clearly, as we could say himself, a 'fanboy,' as are his characters. However, the author has now created his own art, in the form of this book, and his other creative output. However, his characters don't. They spend hours obsessing over and memorizing trivia. The can play pre-programmed video game routines flawlessly. They can recite all the dialogue to movies that others created, lyrics to songs others wrote. They immerse themselves in virtual worlds that others designed. This may apply to today's 'geeks' as well, but in the book it's much more glaring because for these characters it's practically ancient history, decades removed - their grandfather's pop culture. Not much new and creative seems to be going on at all; the world is kind of falling apart, while people escape into VR. There's a fun, rich aspect to this fandom - but also a desperation, and a stagnant, stifling side.

I forgot to mention: the 'armchair treasure hunt' aspect to the video game contest made me remember the book, 'Masquerade' from my childhood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masquerade_(book). I thought it was funny that the book didn't make even a passing mention of book-oriented puzzles of this sort, that were very popular in the 80s.

(revisiting for book club, 5/15) ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This is absolutely the best book I have read this year. It has instantly jumped to my top 10 books of all time. It was an exciting read that brought back so many memories. If your formative years were the eighties, you will enjoy the trip this book will take you on. If you were a geek, a nerd, or just a plain freak during that time, you will love this book.
It brought up memories of the very first time I played D&D in my friend's dimly lit basement. The wonder and the endless possibilities that were presented to me. My world changed at that moment and it was nice to remember what that felt like.
I so want to gather up a bucket of quarters and seek out the classic games that I have long forgotten.
I am looking forward to see what Ernest Cline has in store for us next.
BTW... I firmly believe that the IOI is Apple. Apple is the embodiment of evil! ( )
  beertraveler | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 559 (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 (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cline, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, RalphDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rothfuss, PatrickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary 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.
It was the dawn of a new era, one where most of the human race now spent all of their free time inside a videogame.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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"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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