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Ready Player One (2011)

by Ernest Cline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ready Player One (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,1011001352 (4.12)4 / 883
"In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the Oasis. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines -- puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win -- and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape"--Page 2 of cover.… (more)
  1. 274
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2seven, whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both about teens fighting back against the greater power using computers.
  2. 190
    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. 170
    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. 100
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Anonymous user)
  5. 102
    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley (quenstalof)
    quenstalof: Both show classic video game inspiration
  6. 70
    Halting State by Charles Stross (ahstrick)
  7. 116
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (sturlington)
    sturlington: Ready Player One reminded me of a grown-up version of this classic.
  8. 50
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (bikeracer4487)
  9. 40
    Armada by Ernest Cline (brakketh)
    brakketh: Both books focus on 1980s culture, similar narrative ark for isolated teen to hero.
  10. 40
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (infjsarah)
  11. 20
    Warcross by Marie Lu (deslivres5)
    deslivres5: dystopian society with virtual reality
  12. 20
    Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black (quenstalof)
  13. 20
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (simon_carr)
  14. 20
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 10
    You by Austin Grossman (Anonymous user)
  16. 10
    Erebos by Ursula Poznanski (aliklein)
  17. 10
    Press Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: Similar subject matter -- where video games are more than they seem.
  18. 43
    The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (GD2020)
  19. 10
    Wyrm by Mark Fabi (slagolas, slagolas, Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Players inserted into a virtual world with real world stakes, and littered with cultural references.
  20. 43
    Kiln People (The Kiln Books) by David Brin (freddlerabbit)

(see all 37 recommendations)


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English (967)  Spanish (5)  French (4)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (988)
Showing 1-5 of 967 (next | show all)
Fun and nostalgic read! Loved that beyond the 80s American references there was plenty of Japanese anime too. A lot from my childhood :) ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
I have to caveat this review before it even gets started. Like the near mythical James Halliday in "Ready Player One," I was born in the mid-70's. That means my perspective on the 80's is skewed through the lenses of someone who saw them as a child to teenager. Cline's use of Halliday's obsessive fascination with the 80's and all things geek, then, fits into my world picture just fine. But if the rousing call of "Thundarr!" doesn't even tickle a memory cell, or if the thought of Ultraman and Mechagodzilla make you just scratch your head in bewilderment, then Cline's book is going to be a tough and/or boring read. The book seems to have been written for and caters to the sci-fi and computer geeks who came of age in the 80's, and despite its future setting was intended to pull on those nostalgic heart strings.
On to the review!

The year is 2044, and life is about as we expected. Fuel shortages, housing shortages, poverty, its all there in spades. The only saving grace in this near dystopian future is the OASIS, an MMORPG so vast and pervasive that it has its own equipment for accessing it, and nearly everyone in the world actually does. The inventor of the OASIS, James Halliday, is wealthy beyond measure. And then he dies, willing both his fortune and ownership of the OASIS to whoever can solve the quest he has designed to find the Easter egg. "Ready Player One" is the story of Wade Watson, told in the first person as he takes part in this global quest, to find the three keys that open the three gates that lead to Halliday's prize Easter egg. Its a fairly fast paced story, where a lot of the action takes place in the OASIS itself, the augmented virtual reality that is so key in this world.

As far as complaints go - well, you can see that Cline is a fanboy of Whedon with his references to the Whedonverse and Firefly, but where's Farscape? Where's Earth Above and Beyond? Was there really too much culture to be able to reference in under 400 pages?

More seriously, the biggest problem I see folks having with this book is that it is so niche. I'm not unfamiliar with the marketability of the culture in question, believe me, but outside of our circle I can see this book being a very boring read for folks. The book could have taken place in 2014 as much as 2044 - most of the technology that is critical is at least at the speculative layer today. Which means when you peel back the "sci-fi" of it taking place in the future, all that you are really left with is a book that's reminiscent of an 80's movie that takes place in a virtual reality where knowledge of the 80's is key.

And yet, I loved the book. I couldn't put it down, reading it within a week of getting it, which says something this time of year. If my caveats have done nothing to disuade you, then go grab a copy now, and enjoy! ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
Fun to read, a celebration of 80's geekiness! But not the masterwork it could have been.... Nevertheless, I enjoyed every page of it. ( )
  Shalomboy | Jul 30, 2020 |
Excellent futuristic novel in which people live in the real world, but spend most of their time working and recreating inside an online platform called The Oasis. Wade is a teenager who begins a quest to solve a series of puzzles designed by the creator of Oasis. Whoever solves it first will win control of Oasis and all of it's assets. There is a lot of adventure, strategy, puzzle solving, friendship and romance in this book. A real page turner! ( )
  kelgolden | Jul 29, 2020 |
Awesome story! If yo have ever played any MMO games and you have fond memories of the 80's and cloassic video games, you will love this book. The audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton, which just makes everything better. ( )
  JohnKaess | Jul 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 967 (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.
"Cline is an ingenious conjurer talented at translating high concept into compelling storytelling."
added by bookfitz | editUSA Today, Don Oldenburg (Aug 21, 2011)
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)
"Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles. "
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (May 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cline, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, RalphDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäkelä, J. PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, SaraÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rothfuss, PatrickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spini, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
WHISKYTREEINCCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Susan and Libby
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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.
"No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful." [199]
And now the conditions at any schools had gotten so terrible that every kid with half a brain was being encouraged to stay at home and attend school online.
The Great Recession was now entering its third decade, and unemployed was still at a record high. (2045)
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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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