ebookclassics

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready

As a child of the eighties, many of the video games, movies, TV shows and music mentioned in Ready Player One are like old friends. Also, as a fan of the Star Trek franchise, I knew right away I had to listen to the audio book once I found out it is narrated by Wil Wheaton, the actor who played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was so impressed by the audio book, I bought it as a Christmas present for my brother.

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE STORY
In the year 2044, most of society escapes the ugliness of Earth and the harsh reality of poor socio-economic status by jacking into the OASIS, an online virtual world where people become avatars and live fantasy lives. When the creator of the OASIS dies, his will reveals that he has created a quest within the virtual world that will end with the winner not only receiving millions of credits, but ownership of the OASIS.

THE GOOD
Ready Player One is nothing but a huge geek fest for anyone who loves eighties pop culture and, most specifically, played or plays any kind of old school video or role playing games. I enjoyed how the story revolved around a quest structured very much like the games I used to play.

THE BAD
If you are not familiar with the eighties pop culture mentioned in the book, you may not get some of the jokes or references; however, I’ve read reviews by bloggers who said they still enjoyed the story without this knowledge. Unfortunately, the themes of social class, the individual’s relationship to technology and other issues raised in the story gets lost and simply cannot compete against reenacting Monty Python’s Holy Grail as a quest challenge, Japanese robots that turn into one mega-robot, deciphering Rush lyrics and Converse shoes that help you fly.

CONCLUSION
Ready Player One is a love letter to the eighties. A completely unique dystopian that had me laughing and grinning at every single pop culture drenched chapter. Sure, there’s a significant amount of woe-as-me-ing by the main character, a cheesy romance and other things that didn’t work for me, but overall the book is an irresistible wild ride. I often found myself saying, “Wow!” and “Cool!” and “Awesome!”.

4/5 Stars

I wasted hours playing Atari games like PacMan and Space Invaders, and later Sierra PC games like Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. I observed Dungeons and Dragons (I loved the Saturday morning cartoon!) and other RPG games, but never played myself. How about you? What were your favourite eighties games?

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17 comments on “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  1. janceewright
    December 2, 2014

    This is probably one of my favorite books ever! I’m a huge fan of gaming and nerd culture, so I understood most of the references even though I was born at the tail end of the 80s. This book is just so well done!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 2, 2014

      It’s so funny you’re commenting because I was just visiting your blog! I agree that it’s well thought out and so much fun if you just go with it. Have you heard any plans for a movie?

      Like

      • janceewright
        December 2, 2014

        I haven’t, but wouldn’t that be the best??? Wil Wheaton would almost have to play a starring role!

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          December 2, 2014

          I completely agree! I couldn’t picture anyone else while I read the book.

          Like

  2. Naomi
    December 2, 2014

    I had no idea this book was set in the future! It sounds like fun.
    You know, I’m having trouble thinking about what I did in the 80s. I did play PacMan, but not much, since I had to share the game with my siblings. I can remember movies and TV shows, though. I watched The Facts of Life everyday after school. Maybe if I read the book it will remind me of all the other things I did. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 3, 2014

      I watched The Facts of Life too. I don’t think that show is mentioned, but definitely Growing Pains and Family Ties.

      Like

      • Naomi
        December 3, 2014

        Oh, I forgot about Family Ties- I loved that one! What about The Cosby Show?

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          December 3, 2014

          No Cosby Show and I can’t even remember what the Family Ties reference was about. It may have been completely random.

          Like

  3. WordsAndPeace
    December 3, 2014

    I think this is probably my most favorite audiobook of all times!

    Like

  4. Brian Joseph
    December 3, 2014

    Great review.

    I too am a child of the 80s and I think that I also would love the popular culture references.

    Thus this sounds really good.

    I am also a Star Trek fan. I am not surprised that Wil Wheaton was such a good narrator.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 3, 2014

      Wil is actually mentioned in the story, so I think it must have been hilarious for him to read his own name while recording.

      Like

  5. Riv @ Bookish Realm
    December 3, 2014

    The more time passes the more I see all the flaws that this book has, but that does not change the fact that it will be one of my favourite books of all time. Takes guts to come out with such nerdy stuff, and do it in an entertaining and informative manner. Plus as we can now all see, there was certainly market waiting for this kind of a book, so good timing as well.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 3, 2014

      I agree there are some things that don’t work, but overall the book is a real gem and the good far outweighs the bad.

      Like

  6. My Book Strings
    December 3, 2014

    Somehow I made it through childhood without video games, cartoons, or “outrageous” punk music. I don’t know how my parents managed to do that. So I am sure I would miss a good number of the nerdy references, but it’s tempting to read this book just to find out how much I missed. 😉

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 3, 2014

      You may have absorbed quite a bit of pop culture through osmosis over the years and be more knowledgeable than you think. 🙂

      Like

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2014 by in Reviews and tagged , .

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