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Ready Player One: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)
by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)
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Adventure like I haven't read since Harry Potter. I had a blast reading about Wade's quest and all the 70's, 80's, and 90's references that went along with it. How did it take me this long to pick this book up?? Can't wait for the movie!!
Deserves 4* but a low 3* from me. A Book Club selection, and as I’ve really not played an on-line game or been obsessed with 80’s film, I know a lot of this was going well over my head. But still 4* because the narrator does come across as a true geek, and I liked how the writer absolutely committed to the story. I could too easily believe in the dystopian near future where life is spent on-line. Oh, and the bits I got, like Monty Python & the knight with the coconuts was funny, so would imagine this was a ‘yes’ for so many nostalgic gamers and their mis-spent youth.
This legitimately might be the best book I've read all year.
Posting this here for when I need it. Not my words, but a good summary of why this book gets 1 star. https://bitchlitblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/ready-player-one-gaming-gender-and...
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."
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.
"Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles. "
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Ready Player One (1)
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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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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The plot is pretty straightforward. Steve-Jobs-type-guy has created a virtual world, OASIS, that is a vast improvement over living in the real world. Upon his death, he leaves a contest behind - - whoever wins the contest will inherit his vast, beyond imaginable wealth. Eighteen year old Wade is the protagonist who is determined to win. The OASIS creator has a thing for the eighties and hence the OASIS world and the book are peppered with eighties references.
Now, on to my criticisms:
Who in the world is the target audience for this book? It totally reads like YA . . .at the level of Ender's Game . . .but with all the eighties references, no young adult is going to actually appreciate it. Although Cline spends a good amount of time actually explaining the references so maybe he thinks someone who didn't grow up in the eighties will be reading it.
SHOW DON'T TELL. Cline violates the cardinal rule of good writing just a few too many times for my taste. Narration is boring, and this book has lots of it.
If someone is really into video gaming, I think you'll love this book. The whole book revolves around the playing and solving of video games - - and if you think that sounds exciting, well definitely read this book. I enjoy playing the occasional video game, but really don't find reading about others playing video games to be a thrill.
There's a mystery component to winning the game, but there's no way for the reader to play along and/or try to guess possible solutions. But the protagonist is like an eighties/video game savant . . .so he can figure it all out . . .
The protagonist's biggest obstacle by far is not winning the game, but coping with an evil "corporate" entity that is also trying to win the game, at all costs. Of course. The good vs. evil component is not nuanced AT ALL. Evil is just pure evil.
The reason I gave it three stars is that I did appreciate some of the creativity that the author brought to the table. It's futuristic, but a lot of what is imagined is probably going to happen . . .so it's not wildly creative . . .but there are some interesting facets. I liked the contrast between the real and virtual worlds. There's one twist or two twists that I enjoyed (but won't reveal because it is a spoiler). And there are some Blade Runner type action moments that did give the book some forward momentum. ( )