This book was actually written in 2012, and I bought it around Christmas time in 2013. Patsy and I were at Barnes & Noble in Redding and I just happened to walk past a stack of these out on a book table. The cover looked interesting. The title, implying a video game reference, caught my attention. I read the back cover and decided to get it for our sixteen year old son Joshua for Christmas.
I think he finished reading it by dawn on December 26. It jumped into his ‘Favorite Book’ slot, and being a video game and Rush fan, he couldn’t say enough good things about it. I finally picked it up and read it a couple of months later.
Josh was right!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline takes place in a future world in which virtual reality has become commonplace. On-line gaming has grown to the point that the virtual world has become the predominant form of society’s entertainment. Even school is accomplished virtually. A basic virtual immersion rig is part of every school kid’s supplies. Actually, it’s the only school supply. Everything else that is needed is found and saved on-line. Most kids go to the free Government virtual school. Kids from richer families can afford better virtual immersion rigs, and can afford the ‘pay-as-you-play’ format of being able to explore away from your free basic school world.
James Halliday, the creator of the virtual universe, has died without heirs. He has left his entire fortune to the first person to crack the Easter eggs he has planted throughout his virtual universe. His fortune is so huge that even multi-national corporations dedicate corporate divisions to solving these Easter eggs, but nobody has even solved the first one yet. Halliday grew up in the 1980s, and the virtual universe and the Easter eggs are a treasure trove of ‘80s pop and geek culture. Enter poor but uber-geeky teenager Wade Watts, and the race is on!
One sci-fi writer has referred to Ready Player One as a ‘nerdgasm’. Apt.
Reviewers at Amazon have given Ready Player One 3,184 5-star ratings, as of December 26, 2014. Ninety reviewers have given it one star. I think some of the comments on the poor reviews might be right. The one stars were probably given by dementors, trying to suck all of the fun and joy out of life.
Unlike Josh, I would not say this is my favorite book of all, but it was definitely my favorite read of 2014.
Ernest Cline’s next book, Armada, is due out summer of 2015. I’ll be looking for it!