Ready Player One
By Ernest Cline
Reviewed by Dom
I’m a fan of writer John Scalzi, so when he referred to a book he loved and called it a “nerdgasm,” I was just about hooked.
The book was the debut novel by Ernest Cline – a guy I’d recently seen in a fascinating documentary film called Atari: Game Over – and the book was called Ready Player One.
Now, a quick disclaimer: I’m not a video game dude. Sure, like Ernest I had the early Atari stuff like Pong, and, also like the author, my first real love in an arcade was Space Invaders. But other than playing some Nintendo with my son when he was young, it hasn’t been my thing. (Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never owned – or played – an Xbox, PlayStation, or even a Wii.)
That didn’t stop me from diving into Ready Player One. In a nutshell, the book centers on a boy named Wade who lives in a very grim near-future, where poverty and climate crises dominate. People have escaped (sort of) by venturing into a virtual-reality world called OASIS. They can play games, get an education, meet people, do just about anything, in any world they can dream up.
But here’s the cool part. The creator of OASIS became the richest person of all time, and when he died he challenged people to find a hidden Easter Egg within OASIS. (If you don’t know what a digital Easter Egg is, look that up on Wikipedia.) The first person to find it would inherit the creator’s fortune.
I guess, in a way, it’s like Willy Wonka bestowing his kingdom upon poor little Charlie.
Anyway, it’s not all fun and games. There are some bad, bad people out there, who will kill in pursuit of this fortune.
One quick note to add: Cline is a major 80s buff, emphasis on “major.” Well, so is the OASIS creator in the book, and his digital clues are hidden within thousands of 1980s references. This book is an 80s fanatic’s paradise. You’ll encounter enough 80s movies/TV/arcade references to make your head spin or explode. And you’ll love every minute of it.
The book will be a major motion picture, coming in late 2017, with some guy named Steven Spielberg directing. Uh huh – what does THAT tell you?
I think you’ll have a blast with Ready Player One. Pick it up at your nearest Tattered Cover Book Store. If you mention Dom’s Book Club, you’ll save 20 percent on this title. Enjoy!