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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ernest Cline

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4,3954861,117 (4.22)3 / 516
While creative and even brilliantly inventive in some spots (yes, Saturday Night Live shows are still entertaining audiences a few decades into the future), Cline's book simply is too long for its storyline. Midway through this peek into a bleak futuristic society, it's easy to feel like a computer gamer who realizes that are still 32 grueling levels to conquer before the real payoff occurs. Don't get me wrong. "Ready Player One" is dotted with some eyebrow-raising wow factors, and there are a good number of laugh-out-loud moments. But there are just way too many unnecessary details and diversions from the main story path for my liking. This would have made for a wonderful novella -- or at least a scaled-down novel. I'm usually a fan of dystopian tales (I'm a magnet at parties for folks in search of nuggets of optimism and inspiration), so I was surprised that Cline's yarn wore thin after our gamers started the second leg of their explorations. Still, I think readers with more patience than I have will enjoy this unique journey into a problem-plagued futuristic society. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Feb 12, 2012 |
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Wade aka Perzival loves life in the OASIS, even if he doesn't have credits to travel much in the virtual worlds. He goes to school there and is a full time Gunter, egg hunter. When the creator of OASIS died, a contest was announced to solve a series of puzzles within the game to inherit the fortune. After five years, Wade finds the first clue and finds himself in a race for survival and to ensure the freedom of the virtual world for the future.
Tons of 80s pop culture references, lots of actions, interesting questions of what's of value in the "real" world. ( )
  ewyatt | Jun 22, 2015 |
Very enjoyable; gave it 3 stars for some incongruous coincidences and loose ends. It should make a fun movie--which I will definitely go see! ( )
  NatalieSW | Jun 21, 2015 |
Wow! I'm ready for Player Two to take the joystick!

This is a book for lovers of the 1980s. For lovers of 80s movies. For lovers of 80s music. For the lovers of video games. For the lovers of MMO games. For RPGs. For first person shooters. For the fantasy genre. For the sci-fi genre. For geek culture. For nerd culture. For The Matrix. For Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For dystopian novels. For the shy recluse who would rather meet someone online. For all those things and more.

This is an absolutely great book if you fall in any of the categories listed above. The entire book is simply a love-fest of all things related to any and all of those topics, I don't even know where to begin. There's so much attention to detail, so many quips and one-liners that only a true nerd will get, so many insane childhood fantasies come to life in this novel. I just can't!

Sure, there were some parts where I definitely had to suspend my disbelief, but it was easier once I, myself, was in the world of OASIS, the computer generated software of [b:Ready Player One|20603758|Ready Player One|Ernest Cline|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390275705s/20603758.jpg|14863741] that basically recreates any and all universes in nerd and geek culture. And then some. But what can I say?

If you haven't read this, then stop what you're doing and pick this book up now! You'll be glad you did. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
I completely enjoyed it, the only thing preventing me from giving it 5 was that plot had too much details. ( )
  ardvisoor | Jun 10, 2015 |
In a word? Overrated. And it reminded me a great deal of Ronald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", except not as witty, imaginative nor as well-written. Also clearly written for videogamers and/or D&D fans. If you aren't a fan of videogames, barely played them, and never played D&D - this book will most likely begin to bore you after a bit.

The plot? In the distant future, earth is run by corporations and the vast majority of its inhabitants spend all their time in a virtual world called OASIS. The creator of this world, an odd recluse named James Halliday, upon his death - created a game within OASIS, whereupon the winner would inherit all of Halliday's money including all rights and/or control over OASIS. During the last five years, two groups have emerged to seek the inheritance. IOI - or the Sixers, an evil mega-corporation that wishes to obtain control over OASIS. IOI wishes to restrict access, increase advertising revenue, remove offensive items, charge a fee to all users, and basically turn the OASIS into a virtual shopping mall/resort for the privileged. The other group is basically individual players/competitors, who have become obsessed with winning the game, they are called gunters. The protagonist - Wade Watts, who is 17-18 years of age - just a few months shy of graduating high school, is a gunter. Outside of the time he spends in the virtual school on the planet Ludus - one of the many planets inside the virtual universe of OASIS, he lives breaths and sleeps the game. Wade is also an expert on videogames and has literally played every videogame made in the 1980s. Apparently Halliday was obsessed with the 1980s, but not everything in the 80s, his interests were somewhat restricted to pre-teen cartoons, anime, action-adventure series, sitcoms, a few sci-fi movies/comedies, a couple of books, and basically every video-game and/or D&D game created. He also loved old computers. So, apparently, does the writer.

Wade Watts spends a great deal of time telling us who Halliday was. We also get a lot of information on the history of videogames. (I skimmed through a great deal of it. It's extensive.) The book is exposition heavy and detailed in regards to virtual reality equipment/devices, computers, and videogames.

The characters however are underdeveloped, outside of Wade aka Parzival and James Halliday, we get very little insight into the other characters - in part because the story is told via Wade's point of view and Wade is a self-absorbed 18 year old boy who spends all his time researching James Halliday and playing Halliday's game.

There are some shout-outs to popular 1980s and 1970s films, such as Blade Runner, War Games, Revenge of the Nerds, and Monty Python's Holy Grail. Two of which are actually incorporated into Halliday's game in a rather innovative and geeky way. (You play the character in the movie and get points added or subtracted for every piece of dialogue or action you replicate exactly. Basically if you're great at being a parrot, you'll win.)

Other minor shout-outs are to the Whedonverse, Firefly, Matrix, and briefly Star Trek and Star Wars.
But no details are provided. And the references are sort of throwaways.

The story does end well, if a tad too neatly. Everything wrapped into a tidy bow.

Overall? I'd recommend for videogamers and 1980s computer geeks, but I think it will bore everyone else.

( )
  cmlloyd67 | Jun 7, 2015 |
Fun read, but character and plot details just okay. ( )
  cptvegetable | Jun 6, 2015 |
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is such a fun and entertaining book! My husband doesn't enjoy reading as much as I do, but I've started checking out non-fiction audiobooks that relate to his interests on Overdrive*. We listen to them on road trips and it has been such a great way to share my hobby with him. As soon as I read the blurb on the cover of Ready Player One (Matrix meets Willy Wonka, video games, 80s nostalgia and virtual worlds), I knew it would be the perfect fiction book to start with. The best part of this book was listening to it together and seeing how much he enjoyed it! He loved it so much that we listened to the last three hours at home, instead of waiting for our next trip!

The year is 2044 and the entire world is plagued by poverty and unemployment. The real world is in such bad shape that people are living a majority of their lives in the OASIS, a virtual utopia. The OASIS even contains an educational system. When the the eccentric, 1980s-obsessed creator of the OASIS James Halliday dies, he leaves behind a video message revealing that he will leave ownership of the OASIS and his entire multi-billion dollar fortune to the first person who can solve the series of challenges he has left hidden within the massive virtual world. Some people devote their entire lives to poring over 1980s culture, in order to find some hint to decipher Halliday's cryptic clue and locate the first challenge. Everyone is stumped! Five years after Halliday's death, orphaned high school senior Wade Watts finds and beats the first challenge and the competition goes into overdrive!

The story is told in first person, from Wade's point of view. The writing is really straight forward and easy to read. The best parts were the scenes inside the the virtual utopia of the OASIS. The descriptions were so vivid that I kept forgetting that much of it was set in a virtual world rather than a real, fantastical world. I was born in 1982 and a bulk of my pop culture memory relates to the 1990s, so I wasn't overly familiar with 100% of the references. Cline does a good job of giving an overview of the most important mentions, so being born in the 1990s or 2000s shouldn't be a hindrance to reading this book. The challenges were based off 1980s video games and it was fun to see what challenge Cline would concoct next! The action was well-paced and I was always eager to start the next chapter. Wil Wheaton did a fantastic job with the voices and transitioned flawlessly between characters. I think I enjoyed this story more as an audiobook, than I would have in written form.

I liked the friendship that evolved between Wade and a few of the other contestants. The message about not missing out on your real life by spending your entire all of your time in a virtual world is relevant and will continue to be relevant as technology evolves.

The negatives didn't detract from my overall positive feelings of the book. There are a lot of exhausting info dumps, especially in the beginning. It felt like there was some master checklist of 80s geek culture and the author wanted to mention them all! The book was so focused on 80s culture that it would throw me off when general geek culture from other decades was mentioned. Of course no decade or generation exists in a vacuum, so that is more my issue than Cline's. The biggest issue for me was that things seem consistently go well for Wade and he gets out more than a few dilemmas with some really good luck, particularly during his crazy plan at the end. The story could have benefited from more tension at points.

The more books I read, the harder it is to read without a super critical eye. Ready Player One was such fun and it reminded me of my love of reading for reading's sake. I'm looking forward to the move and Cline's next book! I would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a fun "popcorn" read and a little escapism. It would also be a great book to recommend to a friend who isn't a big reader.

*Houston Public Library cards are free to all Texas residents and their digital collection is awesome! ( )
  tbritny | Jun 1, 2015 |
I gave it 4.5 stars!

"There, inside the game's two-dimensional universe, life was simple: It's just you against the machine. Move with your left hand, shoot with your right, and try to stay alive as long as possible."

I will have to say this review may be my shortest just yet, because Ready Player One is one of those books that can't be summed up in a nice little bow. It is by far not a two-dimensional universe, rather it is complex, intelligent and if you were a child of the 80s then you will love the nostalgic movie, television, music and game references throughout the story. Our main characters are thrust together either voluntarily or by circumstance to either support or undermine one another while trying to figure out the riddles the deceased James Halliday, creator of OASIS, an expanded version of an MMO has placed within the virtual reality to help find his well hidden Easter Egg that connects you with all his fortune. You meet and connect with characters, Wade( Parzival "Z"), Aech, Art3mis, Daito, Shoto and shady IOI Nolan Sorrento.

Ready Player One is one of those books a person needs to read in their lifetime and embrace its beautiful writing and close their eyes and remember the nostalgia of the 80s. The reason I gave the book 4.5 stars is because it was slow and drawn out for about 100 pages and I did not understand all the gaming lingo. Although, those were nuances, I still consider Ready Player One a book that will go down in history as a must read through many generations.

I would not be surprised to see this book become a required read on some history professors reading list in a college history class. ( )
  BtweenLibShelf | Jun 1, 2015 |
Loved it! Wish there was more.... ( )
  GSB68 | May 19, 2015 |
If you've ever become irrationally obsessed with anything, you'll find a little piece of yourself in this book. If you also grew up in the 80s, you'll find a whole lot of pieces. Cline sets his cautionary tale in 2044, years after James Halliday, a Steve Jobs-like innovator, created a total immersion experience called The Oasis. Take our current society and fast forward 30 years - would you be surprised that people have become more interested in their virtual Oasis lives than in reality? Not only is it the ultimate escape through which you can shop, download any kind of entertainment, hold virtual meetings, or play a huge array of video games at a ridiculously low cost, it also allows for complete anonymity.

So, when the creator dies and leaves his considerable wealth to the person who can solve a series of virtual challenges, thousands all over the world become obsessed. Among them is Wade Watts, a geeky kid who feels more comfortable and confident in The Oasis than he ever has in real life. His avatar, Perzival, is a low level warrior but Wade spends countless hours studying Halliday's obsessions - vintage video games, 80s pop culture, and more - searching for clues to solving the challenge. Wade and his companions aren't just competing with each other. An evil conglomerate will do anything to win, gambling that Halliday's wealth also comes with control of The Oasis, and therefore, a vehicle for great profit.

Cline captures the nature of obsession thoroughly and uses an entertaining milieu to illuminate contemporary concerns such as the decline of personal interaction, the importance of net neutrality, corporate corruption, and even discrimination. Knowledge of the 80s is not necessary but the references serve as a fun wink-and-nod to those of us who came of age in the greatest pop culture decade. ( )
  bookappeal | May 17, 2015 |
Okay, so first off, I liked most of this novel. And there are spoilers in this review.

Where it goes sideways is how Cline tries to stuff every single 1980s reference and tiny bit of trivia and so much stuff in between the action that it really does bog it down, at least for me.

Also I did not believe for a second that Wade had enough time to do all the things he said he did, all the movies he watched, games he played, and music he listened to. It just seemed too impossible, too perfect that he knew everything about everything just at the right time. I would have liked him more if he were slightly more flawed.

The whole game itself seemed so completely... overly complex. I understood why but -- to me, it wasn't that fun. Wade seemed miserable most of the time, between the quest for the Egg and his strained relations with his friends, angst over Artemis, and being hunted down. This could have been a great, fast-paced race to the finish, where you have no idea who is actually going to win, after all. But it just wasn't.

I am not sure I would recommend it, but I know other people have enjoyed this book so if the premise seems interesting to you by all means, dive in.

Despite all this, I am interested in what Cline will come up with next! ( )
  thessaly | May 17, 2015 |
One of the very best books I've read so far in 2015. I'm also excited that Spielberg will be directing the film. But back to the book... The premise is its 2044 and a young 18 year old down on his luck has just hit the jackpot with finding the first hidden key in a simulated game. Finding all the keys will make the winner very rich. The book is filled with 80s nostalgia from video games to movies.

For the rest of the review, visit my blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/89149.html ( )
  booklover3258 | May 15, 2015 |
All the elements of a great and fast-paced read present themselves in this Science Fiction tale, soon to become a classic. Creative, prophetic, and absorbing, Cline's novel is this generation's "Ender's Game." A young man teams with others to complete a quest that will affect the outcome of a failing global society. If you read anything this summer, you should read this book. ( )
  Meghanista | May 12, 2015 |
Thee ultimate geek read. Really well done.

look its not Shakespeare but its a great quick fun read. ( )
  dham340 | May 10, 2015 |
This book was an entertaining ride. It had parts that had me laugh and possibly cheer out loud. While I do wish it went a little deeper into the societal impact of virtual reality (big red button!), this was a page turner. I enjoyed the gaming and '80s references. Thanks to the Nerdist Book Club for bringing this one to my attention. #nerdistbookclub And it is fantastic to finish a book you really like only to find out that Spielberg will be bringing it to the big screen. He's a great choice, considering so much of his work is referenced in this book. ( )
  EllsbethB | May 9, 2015 |
Surprisingly, one of the most exciting books I have read in a while. I learned a lot of stuff about video games that I probably wouldn't have known about otherwise. The OASIS is both terrifying and awe inspiring. While I would not want to live in the world Cline has created, I wouldn't mind a visit.

Also, I would have given it 5 stars but there was too much unnecessary angsty teen drama in the book for my liking. ( )
  katherineemilysmith | May 4, 2015 |
I had never heard of Ernest Cline before this book arrived at my door and now I am glad that I have. Having been there at the birth of the home computer revolution, owned a number of those pieces of plastic history that I remember with more fondness than any of my old girlfriends this book can only be described as Geek Porn. Why? Put simply it tickles every bit, pops every stack and loads my drive. It bytes!

Ready player one is written with such a depth of love for its subject that it reads like a digital historical novel. Yeh verily it is sooth. I could happily sit and read this all over again - right away. There is nothing in this book that I would change. The characters are believable teenagers with enough street cred to make them instantly viable in the real world. There is action on every page without it ever being overdone. Even the bad guy fits in his world of corporate greed as much as any that you could name in our world. Ernest Cline has crafted a story that I sincerely hope falls into cult lore right up there with the Rocky Horror Show.

You don’t have to be a geek to enjoy this book but if you are you even a tiny bit geeky (or a lover of all things 80’s) you’ll get so much more enjoyment from it. Others have tried and failed miserably to write stories like this one. Tron was a masterpiece of just this sort of idea its sequel however falls into that category of: oh dear. Like the last Indiana Jones movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I pretend that it never happened.

Ready Player One has leapt into my top twenty books along with the likes of Lord of the Rings, The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Invisible Man, The One Tree, and others of that ilk. Not because of its eloquence of words, its flowing language, or the rich vibrant, living world in which it dwells but because it just deserves to be there. Nuff said.

So, I can only give it that rarest of all accolades a bright shiny fully rendered 10/10. ( )
  MathewBridle | May 4, 2015 |
I'm a little too young for proper 80s nostalgia, but this was a fun read nonetheless. ( )
  maliora | Apr 24, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
I'm not a big fan of the 80's, but this was sure a good book! It says at the back of the book that it might be made into a movie. If so, I'll definitely want to see it! If you are a gamer geek, then you'll love this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
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