I finished this bad boy late last night……or really early this morning. Anyway, holidays are in full swing so reading has been low on the priorities, but you know all about that.
Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction
ROTS Setting: CU, Near Future, Virtual Reality
Synopsis: Set in a dystopian version of our own future where climate change and the energy crisis collided. The only escape from bleak reality is the OASIS virtual reality gaming system. When the eccentric and mildly insane inventor of the gaming rig dies suddenly, he setting in motion the largest egg hunt in human history where the winner will inherit everything he owns in both realities. The catch? No one can get past the first clue. That is until Parzival/Wade changes everything. Slog through 80’s refences, pop culture, video games, and movies in this ultimate Easter Egg hunt.
Recommendation: The target audience is definitely teenagers of the 80’s (who are now old people), but nerds and geeks of all ages will probably get something out of it. Some of the subject matter might not be appropriate for younger kids but perfect for teenagers.
If you are a nerd or a geek or a D&D kid then you should like this even if some of the references maybe beyond you. 80’s is the time period of maximum geekiness.
As for the setting, it’s an actual dystopian and not some wannabe. I think the premise is a little weak but better than most. The real world isn’t used too often, so it’s not described very much. It’s sole purpose is to be bleak and hopeless when compared to its virtual counterpart.
Wade Watts, the main character, is a little bit OP (or overpowered for you non-geeks). His whole life is just one big cliche. In any other book this would spell certain boredom, but it works because everything is so intertwined with classic games, books, TV shows, and movies. And when I said OP, I really meant it. So Wade is an orphan living with his abusive aunt who only keeps him around for his food vouchers (think food stamps or welfare check). His dad died when he was young and his mom worked 24/7 so he grew up in the virtual reality known as OASIS. In his spare time he’s a tech savant who can fix pretty much anything. Then when he was about 12 or 13 the “Hunt” began. Within 5 years he has consumed thousands of hours of audio and video media while simultaneously attending high school, playing thousands of hours of video games (but it only takes him a few hours to master each one) and reading thousands of manuals, books, comic books, and tabletop role-playing modules. Oh, I got that wrong. He memorized them all and often went through them several more times…..just because he liked them. He’d also spend a great deal of time checking/reading message boards, news channels, and blogs.
All of that is meant to be balanced out by him being poor, reclusive, overweight, and anti-social. His monetary situation is understandable. He’s reclusive so as to not give away his secret knowledge pertaining to the Hunt and chooses to avoid nearly all interaction with people in OASIS for that reason. Overweight due to his lifestyle and anti-social in real life because anyone might rob, rape or sell him into slavery……plus he got picked on in middle school and his aunt is abusive. The more I think about it the more convinced I am that he’s basically a jock and not the socially repressed basement dwelling geek he tried to portray himself as. Arrogant. Cocky. Elitist. So what if he’s nervous around the opposite sex? 50% of all human beings are. He’s had no more or less potential social interactions than anyone else and he really represents the new normal. Not some minority.
I need to move on. I know I have issues with main characters and thankfully Parzival only bothered me a little.
The general storyline is filled with plenty of deus ex machina moments. (Don’t know what that is? Try Google.) Additionally, it was relatively shallow, with easy to see “plot twists” and the characters didn’t really grow. It was sort of like watching a theater production instead of live TV. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading it. Again, in any other book it would be a death sentence. It all works in the books favor and was either masterfully done or sign of a novice writer. I really don’t care which because I enjoyed the experience. They felt like real, or sort of real people, only they were placed in convenient places and situations.
The OASIS and how it was described were simply magical. I loved every time I got to read about a new place. I honestly wish the book was twice as long just so the author could have described more locations and the characters interactions with them. I think it could have been a little longer, but its length was probably as marketing decision.
So far the book appears to be a one-shot. The author has published a second book that is similar in geekiness, but doesn’t appear to be directly connected. I honestly don’t see how a direct sequel could ever be written, but maybe it’s just me. I am also curious how the movie in 2017 will turn out. That’s still a long ways out and could easily be cancelled and if not cancelled then completely ruined.
Well, that’s a wrap. Back to enjoying the holidays and hitting the stack.