Ready Player One: A Novel

Ernest Cline
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 set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.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.  A world at stake.A quest for the ultimate prize.Are you ready?


Reviewed: 2020-05-27
This is one of those books that's so good, I'm sad it's over; a real stand out in modern speculative fiction. I'm sure it's also a special treat for anyone who remembers the 80s, or is a geek.

The only thing I feel less than positively about is that the settting is wildly similar to that in Jim Munroe's "Everyone in Silico." While the story is completely different, I feel defensive on my favorite author's behalf that this book gets all the credit for the amazing world we enjoy participating in.
Reviewed: 2019-06-18

Locus Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2012), Prometheus Award for Best Novel (2012), ALA Alex Award (2012), Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominee (2013), Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work (2016), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction and for Favorite Book and for Goodreads Author (2011), Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2015)

She had raven hair, styled Joan-of-Arc short...Overall, she seemed to be going for a sort of mid-’80s postapocalyptic cyberpunk girl-next-door look. And it was working for me, in a big way. In a word: hot.

This is light, easy, full of '80s nostalgia and fun. An eighteen year old kid living in rough conditions IRL has essentially retreated completely into an MMG in the US in year 2045. He finds himself in a deathmatch with a huge evil multinational, falling in love, and fighting battles we can only dream of. He's conveniently brilliant, and we feel for him because he's charming despite himself. I once spent an inordinate amount of time playing an online text adventure game called "Kingdom of Loathing" - which is not at all like OASIS, but also very much like OASIS in that it lives on pop-culture nostalgia. That's where I first learned about this book.

Nevermind that. There's nothing amazing about this one beyond pure pleasure. I do wonder, if you're too young to have seen Monty Python or played on your Atari (I played Pong for hours on end b/c my father said we couldn't afford more games) or booted up a Commodore 64, would the book be as interesting or funny? I dunno. I really enjoyed this. It was like taking a bath in my younger life.

If you want to read this, treat yourself to Will Wheaton's performance. It's worth it alone to hear him say the following lines when it's time for the elections:

It was also time to elect the president and VP of the OASIS User Council, but that was a no-brainer. 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.

That made me giggle so hard - at work, while running statistics. Normally not a funny task.

While this book tries to broach some larger topics, it's probably best to leave those aside. It won't change your life, it won't make you think super hard. It may, however, delight you.

Reviewed: 2019-06-09

I’m gonna start off by saying, I don’t really get the hype of this book. I was really hyped up before the movie came out and the hype just grew after it’s release.
Yeah, I have to admit, it was a good book. The idea behind the story, the characters, “the hunt” itself was brilliantly portrayed, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read.
I’m not a huge gamer, so I liked that the author included descriptions to the majority of the references in the books. That’s probably one of my favorite parts actually. Sometimes I felt the timeline blurred together in places and I lost track of where the story was and how much time had passed, that was something I didn’t really like.
I don’t feel I can say much more without spoilers, so I’ll keep it at that. This book was good, but not as great as everyone has made it out to be. The movie doesn’t actually look anything like the book from the trailers I’ve seen, but I’ll probably still see it just to see what it’s like.

Reviewed: 2018-09-13
pourquoi est-elle restée cachée aussi longtemps ? Pour le savoir
Reviewed: 2018-05-07
It’s 2044 and the Oasis is a virtual reality game that everyone is playing and living their lives through. Including teenage Wade Watts. He attends school in the Oasis and spends the majority of his time devoted to finding clues. The creator James Halliday left behind puzzles and clues for everyone to solve and win the massive prize he left. Clues that involve a lot of 80s references because Halliday loved the 80s. But it has been five years and nobody has found even one clue. Until now! When Wade finds the first clue, everyone is desperate to find out who found it and where the first gate is. Some players are willing to kill for the grand prize, so Wade must keep his identity a secret. Wade must find three keys and enter the three gates that correspond with the key. But will he make it before the other players or will he be killed in the process? I was totally blown away by this book. I, of course, knew going into it that I was going to like it a lot because of the great reviews but I never knew that it could become one of my favorite books of all time! I’m a huge 80s fanatic. Specifically, 80s music and movies. I did not know a lot of the video game references but I did know some. But I just loved being able to picture all of the movie references and hear the music that was talked about and I was loving it! Most dystopians, I read, I never want to picture myself in that world because it’s so awful. Take The Hunger Games for example. Never EVER would I want to be a part of that world. But with Ready Player One, I want to be there in the Oasis. The real world is really bad. Most of society is poor and going hungry. All of the poor people are living in the Stacks, which are just that. Stacks of homes on top of each other, to save room for the rest of humanity. It honestly, doesn’t sound like anything I want to be a part of. But then there’s the Oasis. And I want to be there! I do love video games so maybe that’s why it appeals to me but I can’t help it. Everything sounds so great in the Oasis. Wade is a very shy guy in reality but he can open up and talk to people more in the Oasis. He attends school there but he has a hard time paying attention because he’s very smart and knows most of the content already. He has studied everything he can on James Halliday. He has seen all of Halliday’s favorite 80s movies and TV shows. He’s listened to all of his favorite music and played all of the games that Halliday’s mentions in his journals. So it’s no surprise that he finds the first clue. But he does take some time getting there. Wade doesn’t have any money so he can’t travel anywhere in the Oasis. Therefore, making it harder to find clues and solve the puzzle. Halliday left behind three keys that open three different gates and the person who finds all of them, wins all of his fortune and the Oasis. So the race is on! I highly highly recommend this book as it is no surprise because a lot of people love it. I love all of the 80s references, all of the characters and the world itself! The writing is very simple but yet I couldn’t put the book down. At the end of every single chapter, I kept wanting to read more. I recently learned that Ernest Cline is writing a sequel. I’m not too sure how I feel yet about that. I think that the book ended very well and it didn’t leave me wanting more so I am a little nervous that a sequel won’t do as good but we will just have to wait and see.
Reviewed: 2018-04-27


This is not the first time I've read Ready Player One, but this time I read it though a new lens. I was looking for problematic thoughts and I was watching for how women are treated in the book. It was rough. This book has some issues. Besides the problematic line about trans people most of us have seen, it seems pretty anti-the ladies in general. There are two main female characters and one of them spends the entire book pretending to be male to the point where even after Wade learns that she is a woman, he still calls her "he/him". This is problematic because it heavily falls on that trope of lolgirlsdontplaygameslol. The character Ahch (or however the crap it's spelled), isn't allowed to be both female and a well-rounded character. She has to be male, she has to be butch for her character to make sense and that is shitty. The other female character is female throughout the book, but she is flat at best. Though she is bright and figures out the puzzles faster than the "boys" she just can't beat the games. UGH. Girls and games? Amiright? Really, I'm glad I read the book again. The first time I read it, I liked it. I glossed over all the problematic points because it's a popcorn book. But, we need to look at problems in our popcorn books because they are the ones EVERYBODY reads. I also read along using the podcast 372 Pages We'll Never Get Back. It's done by the rifftrax fellas, and they do a really good job of pointing out all the awful in a fun way. They also did Armada, so I'm going to read that once I get caught up in my other reading.

Reviewed: 2018-04-19

I absolutely loved this book! It was so clever and all of the references to 80's pop culture were just awesome. It ended with the standard "guy gets the girl," but that aspect took up only a small portion of all the action and suspense.

Reviewed: 2018-01-22

I gave it a few chapters, but I could not get through this. The writing is terrible and I just don't care that much about the 1980s.

Reviewed: 2018-01-16

I thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn that kept me reading this book. I don't know much about the eighties (just the little bit that my dad has told me or shown me over the years and the little bit in Stranger Things), but I loved the references that I did understand, and there were some things that I had to look up so that I would understand what was being talked about. The characters themselves felt so real, and I wanted to smack Wade/Parzival a few times for being so focused on such unimportant things. Luckily everything worked out in the end, and I can't wait for more about OASIS.

Reviewed: 2015-02-19

Finally got around to reading this book. In between classes, research, my TA job, and part-time job I finally squeezed this fun fast-paced book to read during my spare quiet moments. I highly enjoyed it. I am a complete video game nerd myself, and this definitely satisfied that side of me. Read it all in in a matter of two seatings.... I didn't get much sleep those nights though. haha. I recommend this book for all the geeks out there who enjoy 80s pop culture. 

I think the one thing that will make or break this book for most readers, is that the book is obsessed with the 1980s. Wade and the other characters are easy to relate to and their motivations are clear. What’s more is that the book is extremely easy to read and it moves along at a very fast pace–once the plot is setup it’s a race to collect the three keys and battle the evil for control of the OASIS.

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