Monday, June 18, 2012

Halliday seemed to expect everyone around him to share his obsessions, and he often lashed out at those who didn't

Video games. Dystopia. '80s pop culture. Sci fi. How could I not read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline?

I really liked this book. Really liked it. I saw the book cover but knew NOTHING about it until I read Alice's review. I was drawn in. As in I-really-need-to-go-to-sleep-but-just-one-more-chapter drawn in.

It's the future and the real world is so crappy that most people spend all of their time plugged into OASIS, which is sort of like Second Life but to the nth degree*. People go to school, work, and essentially live in OASIS, with brief breaks in the real world to eat and go to the bathroom. Halliday, the co-creator of OASIS, died and left his massive fortune to whomever can find the three gates hidden throughout OASIS. Some people have dedicated their lives to hunting for these Easter Eggs and one of these gunters is our main character Wade Watts/Parzival. Good thing he spent his time studying Halliday's favorite movies, TV shows and video games, mostly from the '80s. So it's a treasure hunt based on '80s pop culture and video games. ARE YOU EXCITED YET?

OK so I used to play more video games, when I lived at home with my younger brother who loves all the games. Since leaving for college I've played less although I still heart The Sims and I'm sure I'll finish LA Noire any day now. But even with my limited video game love, this was still a super fun book and one I've already yelled at my brother that he HAS to read. I want to share this love with other people because this book was so much fun. I can't remember the last time I HAD to find out what happens next.

It did have problems. The characters, especially the only female character Art3mis**, weren't especially well fleshed out. And of course there was the problem that if you thought too hard about, really, any part of the plot the story sort of falls apart. But just don't do that. Because this isn't the book to make you rethink about the world. It's a book to entertain you. It's a book to make you go "YES, a War Games reference!" There isn't a huge amount about the dystopian real-life as most of the action happens within OASIS which I was a bit disappointing at first but I got over it pretty quickly as I got pulled into the quest.

Read this. If any of those initial terms sound interesting to you, read this. It's super fun. It's not life-changing, it has it's problems, but it sucks you in. Oh and have I mentioned, it's fun.

*I know very little about Second Life. Actually most of what I know comes from an episode of the Office and some talk about advertising in Second Life.
**There are technically other female characters, but the others that are there are so minor as to not count.

Title quote from page 55, location 1091

Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. Crown, 2011. Kindle edition.