Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernie Cline

Note: NO SPOILERS AHEAD. NONE. A whole number less than one. 0=n where n is the number of spoilers.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 374 pages, published by Broadway Paperbacks. $14.00

WP_000294The year is 2044. The Great Recession has taken its toll on the world’s economy and resources are scarce. The Internet and online gaming culture have evolved into the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), a massively multiplayer online simulation game created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS).

When Halliday dies with no heirs or other living family, he leaves a video will, saying whoever can collect three keys that are hidden throughout the universe of OASIS and pass through the matching gates will receive his fortune and controlling stake in GSS.

This becomes known as the Hunt and people immediately begin the search for Halliday’s Easter Egg. Those searching for the Egg are referred to as “gunters,” a combination of “egg” and “hunters.” Gunters devote an enormous amount of time to studying 1980s pop culture – the decade Halliday grew up in and was obsessive about – in the hope it will assist them with solving the puzzles involved with the egg and winning Halliday’s inheritance and control of OASIS.

Hey! I grew up in the 80s! I know more about 80’s pop culture than I do about the politics of the time. This made Ready Player One a book I not only devoured, I feel like it was written for me. Everything from the AD&D references (yes, I was once a Dungeon Master, and killed many a character in module S1 – Tomb of Horrors), to the pop songs of the day, to arcade video games to the lines from War Games or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I loved it. I would have been one heck of a gunter.

I think this book will appeal to anyone who grew up during the 1975-1990 period, particularly if you were (are?) a geek. The many references to pop culture of the time and the way they are tied into the fast-moving story are effortless and compulsive. Great characters, lots of action and a rewarding conclusion. What more could you want?

Go read it, and if you are the sort to indulge in the spirits, you can try this drink, posted on nerdfriday.com: Three Keys (a drink inspired by Ready Player one)

I don’t have the right liquors to mix it, but I’d be interested in hearing your experiences with it.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernie Cline

  1. Sounds good. I swear you can often tell the quality of a book not by its cover but by its title, it immediately got my attention.

    I was an 80’s child but not sure I’d get the refrences as I was deprived of most things electronic apart from light. Still, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  2. This was one of the better debut novels I’ve read in a while, because it took risks. It didn’t play things safe, and while it appealed to a specific audience, I found it really has a larger appeal.

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