Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

As a movie loving child of the 80's who grow up with a Commodore 64, Atari 2600 and so on, not a moment of Ready Player One was lost on me.  What a fantastic, nostalgic read!

(Huge) Book Description
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.

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. 

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

I read Ready Player One over the Labor Day weekend.  It was the PERFECT book for a long weekend.  I found myself slowly savoring all the nostalgic elements in the book and reminiscing about my childhood.

It's one of those books where there may be problems with the story, but who cares?!  You didn't care that the pixelated dragon in Adventure looked more like a deformed duck*.  You had fun playing it anyway!  And Ready Player One was a fun read!  It was an adventure quest much like the movies I watched over and over again until the VHS tapes diminished into snow and no amount of "tracking" was enough to fix them.

If you ever geeked out in the 80's, Ready Player One will take you home again.  If you didn't geek out in the 80's, I have a lot more recommendations for you than just Ready Player One!

*I totally stole that deformed duck reference out of Ready Player One.

Were you an 80's geek?  Spill it!  What movies/games were on your most played list?


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  1. Oh my God... While technically I was born in the 80's... so I can't really be an 80's geek seeing as I was only 7 when the decade ended, but I LOVE the 80's! I must have this!!!!

  2. Don't be fooled, Bookish Brunette... you can still be an 80's geek, even if you were born then! As a kid, I'm sure you loved the more kid-targeted 80's things :) Leg warmers? Shoulder pads in EVERYTHING? Ray-Ban's? :)

    Hmm, 80's shows I watched: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (love love Mikey!), Super Mario Bros SUPER SHOW!, Ducktales, Eureka's Castle, DAVID THE GNOME!!! (That show encouraged my love of wanting to be a veterinarian, I still do!!) Pee-Wee's Playhouse (Chairy! THE KING!), The Wonder Years, Full House, Inspector Gadget (I always would say, "Go Go Gadget..."), Saved by the Bell, Family Matters (Steve Urkel, anyone?), Gummi Bears, Beetlejuice, Rescue Rangers, Hey Dude, Fragglerock, Perfect Strangers (I love Balkie), Smurfs...

    Man, television used to be so much simpler and better!

  3. Eureka's castle!!! Like Bookish Brunette, I originally thought I couldn't geek if I was born in the 80s. Oh my gosh, your comment alone brought memories :)

  4. Hi Ash - You can totally be an 80s geek at 7 or any age! :)

    JEM, your comment brought me home again, too! My 4 year old is so much like me; he keeps me young. Since he's pretty Mario obsessed, he watches Super Mario Bros Super Show a lot. I would love to get him hooked on TMNT like I was, but I haven't been able to find the original series. I watched so many shows on your list. I bet you watched My Two Dads, too, huh? :) Perfect Strangers makes me think of My Two Dads (which makes me think of Night Court which makes me think of Cheers...) Good times. :D


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