#ReadyPlayerOne mini spoiler free book review
Ready Player One has been on my radar for a while. With my excessively geeky browsing history on Amazon, they sure seem to know me pretty well by now, so Ernest Cline's book appeared in my recommendations a while ago. I'm hella glad it did.
Set in a realistic, debilitated economy of a year 2044, where resources are few and far between and humanity is gradually deteriorating. Wade Watts like the rest of humanity seeks an escape from the difficult life of actual life by submerging himself in what has become so much more than the most epically scaled video game of all time, but a reality away from reality known as the OASIS. A person can craft their OASIS avatar to be whatever they like - fat people can become skinny, ugly people can become hotties, and people can be warriors, sports personalities, musicians, or simply live a different life within the realms of the many planets and destinations within the OASIS framework.
A story not a million miles a way from the tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the OASIS designer James Halliday has left in his will the mass of his fortune to the sole player who discovers a unique easter egg, hidden somewhere within the OASIS. When Wade Watts as his alter ego and avatar Parzival suddenly makes a breakthrough in discovering the way towards unearthing the prize, the contest once again gains momentum, and the race is on for every player to discover the egg for themselves. And not everybody plays fair...
Ready Player One appeals to me as a gamer, a sci-fi nut, a geek, a film buff and everything inbetween. It has a barrage of references to retro gaming consoles, computing, 80's pop culture including movies and music, whilst intertwining this with an up to date and believable vision of the near future. Cline clearly has a lot of affection for all of the geeky elements that make their way into the story; Star Wars, Star Trek, GhostBusters, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Amiga, Spectrum, Nintendo, Sega,.. The list is seemingly endless.
BUT it's worth noting that the story is also really well written! It's captivating, interesting, with lovable and memorable characters, interesting and believable bad guys and genuine relationships that I found myself really investing in. The plot has twists and turns, and the progression feels like advancing through a Legend Of Zelda game, with several climaxes like little bosses as the story vamps up to it's epic conclusion.
Whilst you're appreciation of this novel will be helped if you're as massive a geek as I am, it's definitely not a prerequisite, and I think the well written story alone should be enough to get anyone even remotely interested in good writing and geekdom.
So, blow your cart, power on and player 1 press start, to begin this truly excellent adventure. MTFBWA.