Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: August 16, 2011
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. 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.
I was given this book during Big-Little week by my wonderful Little, and it took me a while afterward to finally pick it up. I cannot believe it took me so long! This book combined my love of digital stories with their paper brethren in a wonderful ride that brought into question what will happen to the world when computers become the main sensory experience.
Wade Watts proves to be the super hero he was named to be, representing the dream of gamers across the world; to become famous and rich by playing video games. He also represents a self-taught computer genius who is a programmer and tech guy in one. In short, I am incredibly jealous of his innate computer literacy, and now consider him one of my multitude of book boyfriends.
This isn’t just a story about a quest for money and fame, it is a wonderful exploration of how the world can change when you can look however you want. The ability to work and play all occurs in the same web for (nearly) free. A world completely digitized still has “castes” of a sort; only the wealthy can move freely and have the best equipment. This facet of the world brings to mind current issues such as net neutrality, as Wade battles the evil corporation hell bent on privatizing entry into this magical universe of binary.
Do you really know your friends if you’ve never met them face-to-face? In a world now full of social media, and sharing sites, it can be harder than ever to tell your real friends from those just hiding behind a screen. The evolution of Wade and his friendships with those online made me evaluate how I view online friendships (I really don’t have any friends as awesome as Ach).
The classics will always come back. I’ll admit a few of the 80’s references in this book went over my head (I’m a 90’s kid), but I found the nostalgia present throughout the book charming and interesting. After finishing, I did go searching out a few of the movies referenced to get a little more context, and I will likely reread again soon so I can experience the book with a bit more background.
In summary, Ready Player One is an action packed sci-fi thriller and is high on my list of favorite books ever. I absolutely love and felt connected to all the characters, and can’t wait to see them adapted on the big screen next year (please, Steven Spielberg, don’t mess them up). I highly recommend it to anyone who loves 80’s references, classic video games, and explorations of what is to come in all of our futures.
Check out my Etsy for a Ready Player One inspired bracelet!
Thank you all for reading!