A further foray into Science Fiction! I think I’m going through a phrase… Anyway, Ready Player One is set in the year 2044 where the world has encountered an oil crisis, bank crisis and all other crises’ you can think of. The world is falling apart around everyone and the only thing that keeps people going (or at least our main characters) is living in a virtual reality OASIS. This is essentially a 3D interactive gaming device where you can play any number of games, go to school, work, meet friends and travel across worlds and galaxies. OASIS is huge, colossal. The games creator has recently died and left a trail of clues within his game to an Easter Egg. The prize for finding this easter egg is his fortune (billions upon billions) and his shares in OASIS. You can only imagine the fight to get in there and figure things out… The biggest corporation company in the world at this point has their sights set on this and when our main character Wade finds the first key… it’s not going to be just a virtual fight anymore.
This novel is full of references to the movies, games, music, books, any pop culture references you can make, he does. There is a real affinity with the 80s scene and a lot of the references derive from there. I enjoyed these and it allowed the world to flesh out, it made you feel as though if OASIS was real it would be so cool to be in. Which made it all the more realistic for me. I’m not going to pretend that I understood the majority of these (to be honest, a lot went over my head) but I knew enough that it made it more enjoyable than elusive.
The concept of this story is fantastic, it really grasp the imagination and the fact that it is pretty much an online treasure hunt for the world to play just seems like such a cool idea. And it is. It’s a really good idea. However…
Cline’s characters, while interesting, didn’t quite connect with me. I liked Wade from the beginning but as we started delving into it more, I just came to dislike him a bit. I didn’t really relate to his attitude and some of his actions actually made me disgusted at times. I really like the ending for this character but I wasn’t liking him all the way through which for a story like this, I kind of needed to.
I also wish that there was more of a social discussion and a focus on the fact that the world is falling apart and everyone has been living in a virtual reality in order to ignore these problems. I have to admit that I found that side of things more fascinating that some of the other plotlines.
All in all though, a good read. I raced through it and really enjoyed the little nods to the different forms of pop culture. I loved the ending which was really well done. And this is going to be a film directed by Steven Spielberg so hell yes! That is something I will definitely be tuning in for!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline