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?

Reviews

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

Reflection

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: 2017-08-29
Book Description 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. Editorial Reviews
Reviewed: 2017-03-15

Loved this book! I read another Cline novel, "Armada" last year and was a big fan. His writing style and stories are very intriguing, I look forward to reading his additional books

Reviewed: 2017-01-12

I honestly did not like this book, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

 

The book could have been good. It could have been great. But it is not. The book overly relies on nostalgic references to the 80s (and throws in several anachronistic references to later time periods, while overly emphasizing that it is focusing on the 80s because the 80s were, apparently, awesome). However, it does not do what most well-executed nostalgia does: it neither acknowledges nor "cleans" some of the more nasty bits of 80s or nerd culture. There is casual transphobia, implying that trans women are not real women. Characters, including the main character, are reduced to flat caricatures. There is barely any humor, or anything else, that is not focused on nostalgia. Nostalgic references are overly described. The author overly relies on telling, rather than showing. In fact, the telling is so plain-faced as to be set-up as asides and handwaves to plug any perceived gaps or holes. There is so much deus-ex-machina, with such meagre foreshadowing that it feels like it was added after the fact to shove the plot foreward and cover up it's ass-pull nature. 

 

I believe that the author should have simply writen a screen play. Everything is overly-visual in description, when it doesn't rely on info-dump exposition. The dramatic moments feel forced and contrived. I just... I really didn't like it.

Reviewed: 2017-01-02
Enjoyable read for 80's nostalgia. The year is 2044. After various disasters (mostly man-made), life in the United States isn't all that great. Stacks of mobile homes are now standard living arrangements. Many people are now online, 24/7. They learn, work, eat and breath online. There is some sort of puzzle, some sort of urban legend that could possibly unlock untold fortune for some lucky son of a gun who finds it. But it's been years since anyone has made any progress on it. Until Wade finds himself on an adventure against time and an evil corporation (of course!) to find it.
 
I don't want to give too much away since this will give away the plot. But in combination of social commentary about social media, the internet and its pervasiveness plus a bunch of 1980's references is essentially what this story is about. I've never quite read anything like it (although I've heard of similarly themed stories) but I thought this was pretty enjoyable for what it was trying to do.
 
That said, I'm not 100% sure it works. I think that even if you're not into 80's pop culture and its references this can still work for you (I am old enough to recognize most, if not all of the references but a little too young to really know/understand them). I do wonder how someone who is more familiar/remembers these thinks about how well it worked. The author did a good enough job in creating this dystopian crapsack world but after awhile the story becomes familiar, and then cliched.
 
We see a hero on a journey with quests not unlike old games we are familiar with. The resolution is fairly straight-forward. I had thought and was somewhat expecting one of the protagonists to be a mole for the Bad Guys but it looks like I was wrong. I'm fine with being wrong but at the same time I thought the climax and resolution was a bit formulaic.
 
Overall I enjoyed it, found it to be a nice change of pace from recent reads but not something I'd keep and read again. I don't regret buying it but I'm not sure it's worth the hype (I'd say my rating is more like 3.5, but I liked enough to bump it up) Would make a good airplane read.
 
If this is important to you: apparently a sequel is being written. I'd be curious if he moves into the 90's for all his references but I'm not eagerly awaiting it either. That said: this book does work as a standalone, even if it's a bit open-ended at the end. So until more info is available, you can read this without fear of being left on a cliff-hanger.
 
There is some profanity, some violence, some mentions of masturbation/having sex with a fake sex doll type of thing. But an older teenager/mature younger one who's into games/the internet/80's stuff might like it.
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