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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
13,3471060326 (4.1)4 / 903
"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. 284
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2seven, whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both about teens fighting back against the greater power using computers.
  2. 200
    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. 60
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (bikeracer4487)
  8. 50
    Armada by Ernest Cline (brakketh)
    brakketh: Both books focus on 1980s culture, similar narrative ark for isolated teen to hero.
  9. 116
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (sturlington)
    sturlington: Ready Player One reminded me of a grown-up version of this classic.
  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
    Erebos by Ursula Poznanski (aliklein)
  13. 20
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (simon_carr)
  14. 20
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 20
    Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black (quenstalof)
  16. 10
    You by Austin Grossman (Anonymous user)
  17. 43
    Kiln People by David Brin (freddlerabbit)
  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. 10
    Press Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: Similar subject matter -- where video games are more than they seem.

(see all 37 recommendations)

2010s (99)
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» See also 903 mentions

English (1,031)  Spanish (4)  French (4)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (1,051)
Showing 1-5 of 1031 (next | show all)
I almost could not even make it through the first chapter of this book-length "Only 80s kids will remember this!" listicle that Cline has unleashed upon the world, and at many points I cursed the culture that allowed a novel like this to be written at all. At various points it showed promise of becoming self-aware, and, cynical jerk that I am, I hoped it would reveal itself as a sarcastic commentary on the mindset of its target audience, but no such luck: it always takes the easy way out and sincerely flatters you for being brilliant enough to know what a John Hughes movie is, or that was once such a thing as the Atari 2600, or that Rush lyrics sound like sci-fi novels. Nothing new or even technically creative happens within the book, unless you get into the "is a remix a new work?" debate, and the constant stream of references is actually distracting since every stray detail is yelling at you to track it down. It's a book of Wikipedia lists (which fortunately is still around in the dystopia of 2044 where corporations have debt slaves). Originality isn't really the point here though; the point is pages and pages of fanfiction for Reagan-era childhood delivered via lengthy infodumps until the protagonist works hard and collects enough plot tokens beat the evil megacorp, to get the girl, and grab the powerup and win the game, which, if you think about it, is much like life itself. Could it be a metaphor...?

As usual, The Onion warned us this was coming: "U.S. Dept. Of Retro Warns: 'We May Be Running Out Of Past'". The term "Millennials" has always sounded to me more like members of a religious cult than a birth cohort, and as us individuals of a certain age begin our gradual transmogrification into adulthood, our wistful memories of a halcyon youth are becoming ever more profitable. Cline has wisely decided to go all-in on my Millennial market segment, and honestly good for him. Someone should be making money off our collective yearning to retreat into adolescence, and it might as well be someone who actually enjoys it. I do find it vaguely depressing that this Ouroboros of retro adulation is so popular, but I don't blame Cline for nerding out about the things he loves, I don't blame the publishers, editors, or marketers for helping birth this money-printing nostalgia vampire, and honestly, I don't even blame the people giving this top marks. This is probably the greatest novel about playing video games ever written and the specific obsessive mindset it takes to get really good at them (see the documentary The King of Kong for a hilarious look at what these people are like in real life). His passion is unmistakable, and that in itself is worth something. Besides, you could certainly pick worse things to worship than old video games and pop culture. Everyone is a fan of something, and I'm hardly immune to the lure of recapitulating my childhood for the right price or geeking out in general. Let he who is without sin, etc. A big theme of the book is to do what you love, believe in yourself, and fuck the haters. That's as true here as it is anywhere; it's a timeless message that not even GameFAQs-level writing can ruin.

However, this is inarguably poorly-written, an unapologetic Mary Sue with painful dialogue, zero-dimensional characters, a plot with at least one eye-roll per chapter (just try to count the jams the protagonist gets out of by having been brilliant offscreen), and seemingly endless stretches of fetishized nerd-wankery. It's Fifty Shades of Gray for people who bought a Nintendo Classic. This economium to dorkitude is to literature as putting a Zelda bumper sticker on your car is to being able to get it out of first gear. But, Cline's love letter to the 80s, gaming, and fandom has made roughly a zillion dollars (sorry - has made Scrooge McDuck-tier money), and Spielberg himself directed the film adaptation, so I'm clearly wrong about its merits. If you want homages crammed with references stuffed with in-jokes, you basically can't do better than this; it's "Remember Alf? He's back, in Pog form!": The Novel, and thus I give it five Breakfast Club protagonists out of five. ( )
1 vote aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
This is the most enjoyable book I have listened to in a long time. If you grew up in the 80s and spent time with computers, video game systems, and/or arcades, you'll probably enjoy it as well. ( )
  atari_guy | May 11, 2021 |
A pretty bad book, and one that kind of has me puzzled as to who the target audience is supposed to be? It is clearly YA literature, but why would young adults be interested in early 80ies cultural references? Maybe thats why he spells every reference out in detail because he figures most people won't get it?

An utterly pointless book. Read Snow Crash or Neuromancer instead. ( )
1 vote summerloud | May 9, 2021 |
This is easily my favorite book of the year. I enjoyed all the references to the 80’s, the plot development, the world building, and most of all, Wade! I almost DNF this book, but I’m so glad I stuck with it! I was sucked into the book at about chapter 5. When I finished the book I wanted to re-read it immediately... it was that good!

Basically this book is a dystopian novel set in our not so distant future. It follows a boy(Wade) as he goes to school and plays an epic quest on the oasis. The oasis is an escape from the world you’re in, to a world that is better and has so much to offer. The oasis is a VR program built by a genius software designer and his partner. When the Genius dies, he has no one to give his vast fortune to... so he creates an epic quest that anyone can participate in, and the winner receives the entire inheritance and control of the oasis. Wade is a poor kid living in the stacks, which are trailers stacked on top of each other. He uses the oasis to go to school, but also longs to play the quest. He is witty and extremely intelligent, and knows everything about the 80’s!

I highly recommend reading this novel! It is just that good! ( )
  DawnReaderone | May 8, 2021 |
I really liked the first part of this book and all the 80's pop and gaming references. However, it felt as if the author decided halfway thru that this is the first in the series of books this made the ending weak with a lot of hanging threads. . It is a fun and easy read and if you are into 80's gaming and pop culture than I recommend this book. ( )
  klrabbit58 | May 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 1031 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cline, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, RalphDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Funioková, NaďaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäkelä, J. PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mičkal, JiříCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, SaraÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rothfuss, PatrickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spini, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whiskytree IncCover artistsecondary 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.
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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 unemployment was still at a record high. (2045)
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"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.

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