“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline (Crown, 2011)

Ready Player One
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Ready Player One can best be described as nerd crack.  It joins the ranks of a growing sub genre of books featuring an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game as its main construct.  If you like anything about video games, the ‘80s, ‘80s music, ‘80s movies, computers, science fiction, dystopian futures, nerdy references, you will love this book . . . if you like all of these things – like I do – this book will become your bible.

In the not-too-distant future, the world is quickly going to hell in a hand basket.  It’s very much a dystopian world, but within this gloomy, depressing place is an MMO that just about everyone plays.  OASIS is not just a game, but a way a life for most, where you can have fun, meet friends, got to school, and pretty much lead a full and entertaining life under the guise of your anonymous avatar (whose façade is of your choosing).  Depending on what people can afford, the experience can be fully sensory so that players feel as if they are actually existing in the world of OASIS and experiencing it in just about every way possible.

James Halliday, who grew up in the 1980’s when computers were beginning to take off, quickly became addicted to video games and then began making his own.  He is the creator of OASIS, which has gone from a game to life and reality for so many people in this world, and he is many times a billionaire.  When he dies, he activates his will which states that whoever finds the three keys and solves the puzzles will be entitled to his entire fortune.  Wade Watts is an eighteen year old nerd who has hopes of finding all three keys and gaining those untold riches.  His parents are dead and he lives with an aunt who treats him terribly and he cares little for her, scraping by in abject poverty.  And now he thinks he might’ve just found the location of the first key.

Cline has written a book that just about any sort of nerd (whether they’re honest about it or not) will quickly get sucked into and not want to let go.  Not only is it like playing a video game or watching your favorite movie, but Ready Player One is literally filled with references and anecdotes and stories of the time period that Cline clearly holds close to his heart.

From the man who brought you the cult-hit movie Fanboys, comes a nerdy book featuring a nerdy story with nerdy characters set in a nerdy world that nerds will absolutely love!

Originally written on September 23, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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