Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Imagine a future version of our world where the majority of people live on a welfare type system in crowded and dirty trailers stacked many stories high. Now imagine that the only escape for everyone is an immense virtual world where you can be almost anything or anyone you want. The OASIS is way bigger than Facebook and Twitter combined, and more real than any second life or virtual reality game that has yet been invented. The creator of OASIS was a man named James Halliday (think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, only more so). This multi-billionaire had a huge obsession with the popular culture of the 1980’s, including cartoons, video games, sci-fi & fantasy, role playing games and more. When Halliday died, he left a virtual will in which he devised a quest within OASIS where anyone could compete to find three hidden keys within the vast virtual world. The one who succeeds in finding this “Easter egg” and completing the quest will inherit his fortune and gain control of OASIS.

Eighteen year old Wade Watts escapes his miserable life living in a cramped trailer (stacked high atop many others) with his resentful aunt by going to high school and spending most of his other time in the virtual world of OASIS. Wade embarks on the epic quest which starts with a riddle, the answer to which everyone knows has something to do with ’80s pop-culture, but it could refer to anything and the OASIS is nearly infinite, so the search becomes the proverbial needle in haystack. To complicate matters, the evil mega-corporation I.O.I. is also after Halliday’s egg, and will stop at nothing to get it, using every dirty trick and cheat code in the book.

If you were born between the mid ’60s and late ’70s, chances are excellent that you’ll really enjoy this book. That’s not to say that those born before or after the “Gen X’ers” won’t also like it, but Ernest Cline has written a debut novel that is filled with nostalgic references to the nineteen-eighties – John Hughes films, Atari video games, Schoolhouse Rock, Dungeons & Dragons, all types of 80s music and so much more. It’s also a dystopian, adventure, quest, cyberpunk story that blends all of these elements in the best way possible.

I was recently able to borrow the e-book and it’s one of the best novels of 2011. In fact, I’d rank just below Stephen King’s 11/22/63. But, since Mr. King has been a successful author for decades and this is Cline’s first novel, that’s really saying something! I found myself immediately caught up in the story, cheering Wade on in his quest, and rejoicing each time Cline threw in a reference to the era in which I, too, grew up – either by grinning like an idiot or muttering “Yes!” under my breath. It’s the kind of book that you wish wouldn’t end, and that when you finish you want to erase it from your memory just so that you can enjoy reading it for the first time again. Ready Player One has received great reviews from the critics and, in addition to being in the top spots on many lists of the year’s best Sci-Fi & Fantasy, is a recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Just remember, Frankie Say Relax, and Dan Say Read This Book!

Find and reserve this totally rad book in our catalog.

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