Friday, July 22, 2011

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
Good Reads Summary

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
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.

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.

My Thoughts
 
Awesome-freaking-sauce...

Wade's world is one of "people living within an illusion," who are all the while engaged in a scavenger hunt of epic proportions. Throw in a teensy tiny angsty romance, and I'm sold. Layer on some game-speak, a hell whole lot of pop-culture references from the 80's well and one would worry that READY PLAYER ONE is a muddle. BUT the thing is, it isn't~ a muddle, I mean. It works. If one were born in the 70's and was a teen in the 80's (neither of which I am,) one would most likely get a huge kick out of this, but you need not be either of those to enjoy this.

IMO, this was written with my brother in mind, my brother who still has working ATARI, who still has not one but two of those pink and grey game units that work. He'd be familiar with a lot of the things that just went right by me here. And yet, I enjoyed RPO. Admittedly, my eyes did glaze over a couple of times at the beginning but when some blood was drawn, I just had to see it through. Again, a lot of the game-speak probably (most assuredly) flew right by me, but no matter.. Wade's adventure is just that~ an adventure, a scavenger hunt of epic proportions with the happy addition of a romance and a lot of friendship.

And with a cool turn of phrase here and there, some interesting (honest) observations on the human condition, some existential discourse and voila... it's just a little more interesting. Ready Player One is set in world where the shit has hit the fan, where our worst fears have come to be, but what is described could be fact, particularly those descriptions of the illusion people immersed themselves in:

"Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation: Worlds upon worlds.

In the OASIS, you could be come whomever and whatever you wanted to be, without ever revealing your identity, because anonymity was guaranteed...

or

A self imposed prison for humanity..."

*Added bonuses (for me) are mentions of Neon Genesis Evangelion and all those John Hughes films :)

4.5/5
Get on this people!
*Thanks NetGalley

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