Ready Player One
August 16, 2011
Like most of my fellow sci fi fans, I received Ready Player One in the ever-popular Loot Crate. What I didn’t realize at the time was the epic journey of this story. Made by a nerd, for nerds, it most definitely is not your average sci fi book. To say the least, I can tell why people love it; it has everything a nerd wants in a story. References to such cult movies as Airplane! and WarGames, intimate knowledge video games from text adventures to modern MMOs, giant battles between good and evil, even a little geeky romance.
You see, in Ready Player One the Great Recession of 2008 never ended, and hit with higher and higher unemployment rates and an energy crisis rivaling Mad Max the human race probably hasn’t been in as bad a shape since the last ice age. Okay, maybe the bubonic plague was bad too, but in 2044 we have an escape. A virtual reality world called OASIS serves as entertainment, education, games, social interaction, and a general replacement for everything that sucks in reality. It is here that our main character, Wade Watson, spends most of his time. A poor boy, living in a trailer stack (literally a trailer park with trailers built up in stacks), Wade is the quintessential nerd shut-in. But he has a hobby, well more of an obsession. He’s hunting for an Easter egg.
Let me explain. OASIS was created by a man named James Halliday. Halliday was obsessed with video games, 80’s music, and 80’s TV and movies. Upon his death, he bequeathed his entire fortune and ownership of OASIS to the one that can find his Easter egg hidden somewhere in the game. The trouble is, no one can find it. A set of gamers calling themselves gunters dedicate their free time, and sometimes their lives to finding this prize. Our hero Wade Watson is one such gunter. Controlling his avatar named Parzival, he fights alongside others with such names as Aech and Art3mis to find this egg, and take control of his own life. What he finds along the way is worth much more. Friendship, love, and an appreciation for reality.
It is surprising when reading this novel that it is Enerst Cline’s first novel, and he really struck gold with it. Selling Ready Player One to Random House and the rights to the movie to Warner Bros. brought in a pretty penny, but it is most definitely deserved. Recently, Steven Spielberg signed on to direct the movie adaptation. No further news has come from that front, but I for one am most definitely looking forward to it.