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Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline

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

by Ernest Cline (Author)

Series: Ready Player One (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,3641230276 (4.07)4 / 947
"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)
Title:Ready Player One: A Novel
Authors:Ernest Cline (Author)
Info:Broadway Books (2012), Edition: 1, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

  1. 294
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2seven, whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both about teens fighting back against the greater power using computers.
  2. 230
    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. 200
    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. 112
    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. 126
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (sturlington)
    sturlington: Ready Player One reminded me of a grown-up version of this classic.
  8. 60
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (bikeracer4487)
  9. 60
    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. 30
    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
    Erebos by Ursula Poznanski (aliklein)
  14. 20
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (simon_carr)
  15. 20
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (TomWaitsTables)
  16. 53
    The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (GD2020)
  17. 20
    Wyrm by Mark Fabi (slagolas, slagolas, Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Players inserted into a virtual world with real world stakes, and littered with cultural references.
  18. 43
    Kiln People by David Brin (freddlerabbit)
  19. 10
    You by Austin Grossman (Anonymous user)
  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 38 recommendations)

2010s (99)

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» See also 947 mentions

English (1,205)  German (4)  Italian (4)  French (4)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (1,227)
Showing 1-5 of 1205 (next | show all)
(3.5 / 5)

Over 100 years in the future, mankind has been largely driven inside the virtual world. They work in the OASIS, go to school, hang out with friends, rely on it for entertainment, and even treasure hunt in the OASIS. The main storyline in the book is a treasure hunt that was created by the man who created the OASIS. The person who finds the Easter egg hidden in the virtual environment, by following all of the clues, will basically be the wealthiest person alive.

Ready Player One is my husband's favorite book. He's tried to get me to read the book or watch the movie here and there, but I told him that I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as him, because the 80s references would largely be lost on me. I was a teenager in the 90s, and a fairly sheltered one at that. I don't even know much about pop culture in the 90s and know way, way less about pop culture in the 80s. But now that I've started to get back to my bookworm roots, I knew it was time to give this book a read.

Keep in mind when reading the rest of this post that I was correct about the heavy 80s references not providing much nostalgia for me. However, I don't think that's the only reason that the plethora of references fell flat for me. I came to a point pretty early on when I realized how shallow most of the references were. Movies, games, books, TV shows, comics, music--all of these things were briefly named, often in lists, but that's about it. So I guess the people who get the references get to go, "Oh! That show!" and move on. Not much substance.

On the flip side, however, the times when the 80s pop culture was part of the challenges in The Hunt, even though I didn't get the hit of nostalgia during those sections that others would get, I really enjoyed them! So not diving into spoilers too much, the Easter egg hunt involved finding 3 keys, which each opened a gate. So the hunters had to find the keys, find the gates, and "clear" the gates, all of which involved solving some sort of challenge, even if just a riddle. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Unfortunately, in between these sections, the book mostly dragged for me, especially when the main character, Parzival, pushed his friends away and was alone for a while.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the way the author described things inside the Oasis. I actually thought it would seem silly or weird to read about the mechanics in this virtual world, but Cline did a good job of explaining it. I've played a decent amount of games that allowed me to imagine how the interface worked, so that might have helped.

As the book ramped up to the end, I kept expecting a huge twist. A certain specific trope that I won't mention so I don't spoil that it doesn't happen was especially on my mind, but it doesn't happen. Not that there wasn't any kind of twist near the end, but not what I was expecting, and not as big as I was expecting. I weirdly found the end of the book and the challenges the characters had to go through too easy and very difficult at the same time. It's hard to explain without giving anything away though. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
Edit of an older review:
When I first read this book, I was too involved with the nostalgia to notice anything else.
Now, once I glanced over it with an unbiased eye, it's a mediocre exercise in vanity - replete with things such as horseshoe theory, transphobia, racism, xenophobia and beautiful lines such as 'the Internet was the best thing that had ever happened to women and people of color' because you could choose a 'white male avatar'. Absolutely astounding as to how this guy even got a publisher in the first place.
The villains in the plot have nothing to do with the world's near-destruction - they're just people who want to put a monthly subscription fee for the Internet in place, which is apparently disgusting? As if everything else is okay in the first place and only 'net neutrality' is worth getting hyperactive over. I thought it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the net neutrality issue in the States, and the protagonist would eventually turn his attention towards more serious issues such as literally anything else, but that never happens? The end result is that Ready Player One is not a decent read at *all*.
The nostalgia is decent enough, I suppose. Worth reading if only for that. Someone should compile all the '80s references as a community Wiki which we all can lose our minds over, because as it stands the flimsy plot, the narcissistic characters and Ernest Cline himself gets in the way of appreciating those. ( )
  SidKhanooja | Sep 1, 2023 |
I enjoyed the heck out of this. It's a nostalgic love-letter to 80's console videogame culure. Imagine if all the time you'd ever spent playing computer games, watching cartoons and reading sci-fi and fantasy stories was actually preparing you for the ultimate VR treasure hunt with a multi-billion-dollar prize? It's a pure geek fantasy.
The story suffers a bit from having a pure-evil cartoon villain, but that also perfectly suits the theme (player vs the bad guys). It might also fall a little flat to anyone that isn't a child of the 80's/early 90's, but anyone that cares at all about gaming/TV/cartoons/music should have fun with it. Overall: a good, fun read. ( )
  ropable | Aug 20, 2023 |
What if all those hours (days, weeks) you spend playing video games and watching trashy television could pay off with a huge fortune and controlling interest in the largest corporation in the world? What if life in the real (AKA outside) world was generally so crappy that most people find refuge inside a ubiquitous, immersive video game (called OASIS) controlled by that same corporation? These are the big questions posed and addressed by this romp through 1980s nostalgia set in a bleak near future of 2040. Really, this is just a giant 80s nerdgasm.

The story is really quite simple. A poor boy, Wade (AKA Parzival, nee Percival), from the stacks (of mobile homes near Oklahoma City, a nigh-impossible construction given the huge tornado-magnetism of such a thing) seeks a better life and goes on a quest. Along the way, he makes friends and enemies, meets and loses a girl, triumphs over challenges, and meets his greatest enemy on a field of battle. In other words, this is a quest.

What sets this telling apart is the constant barrage of references to pop and geek culture from the 1980s, due to the fixation on the era by the creator of OASIS. Most of the time, this is plenty charming. But it does get a bit wearing after a while. I also have my doubts that any one person could absorb an entire decade's worth of pop culture, secondhand mind you, in the space of a few years. Much less also have the wherewithal to master most of those video games, plus the worlds of OASIS. But that is the conceit of the book and Wade's superpower.

The writing is pleasing and crisp, though a bit episodic. There's a bit of a deus ex machina (or two) to help wrap up the ending, but they are somewhat excusable (I kept waiting for a twist that never happened). All-in-all, this is a decent read for fans of the 80s or video games or pop culture or all of the above. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
You'd think I'd love this: I've played joust and zork and programed in BASIC and have feelings about THACO. And, well, I think I would have loved this had I read it in 2011, when it first came out, but in the last 9 years my tolerance for self-absorbed men who don't see women as human beings has deteriorated. You see, I've been a computer scientist while being a woman. You know that guy who begrudgingly tolerates you as long as you mind your place while he objectifies women, don't challenge his litany of his geeky obsessions and self-aggrandizing behavior? What if that guy wrote a not very well-written book (plot holes you could drive a spaceship through!), in which a thinly veiled version of himself was the main character, who became rich and famous for his geeky obsessions and then he became a multimillionaire? Yeah... ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 1205 (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
Ernest Clineprimary authorall editionscalculated
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, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whiskytree IncCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 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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