Sunday, January 15, 2012
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
I don't like science fiction books, futuristic books, books about gaming, and anything resembling dystopian. Yet, this book was on a lot of "best of 2011" lists so I decided to read it. And I LOVED it. Yes, LOVED. I really liked Wade and felt an instant connection to him. He reminded me a bit of Sebastian from The House of Tomorrow. Wade had nothing and had to fend for himself, in reality and in the world of OASIS.
The author does a great job of creating such an amazing reality in the world of OASIS that it is a bit jolting during the brief times in the real world. This novel works on many levels. It can be seen as a cautionary tale in an already online obsessed world, where will we be in 30-40 years from now? It is also a coming of age tale, as Wade goes through the usual teenage angst. It also tackles the individual vs. large corporations.
I spent my teen years in the '80's so I loved all the references to that period.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Even if you don't think it will appeal to you, I think it will. It transcends whatever genre it is. It is definitely a book I will reread and though it's still very early, I bet it makes my best of 2012 list!
my rating 5/5