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Ready Player One

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Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published August 16, 2011

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About the author

ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists, and is set to be adapted into a motion picture by Warner Bros. and director Steven Spielberg. His second novel, ARMADA, debuted at #4 on the NYT Bestseller list and is being made into a film by Universal Pictures. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.

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Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,974 followers
October 13, 2017
I originally gave this book 3 stars as harmless lightweight fun, but my opinion of it declined as time went by. Then after reading Armada I fully realized what a talentless one-trick hack that Cline really is so I changed this rating. Plus, his outraged hardcore fans kept coming on here and telling me that I missed the point since I didn't give it 5 stars so I might as well give them something to really be mad about. If you're one of those Cline fans who wants to whine about it in the comments I will just delete it and block you.

Adventures in Time Mowing

After my laptop fused to my lawn mower due to a freak lightning strike, I discovered that I could use it to travel through time.

“Wow, where’d you come from?”

“I’m from 2011. Got a time mower and decided to come to the future. I’ll spare you the full origin story. My name’s Kemper.”

“I’m Wade Watts. Welcome to 2044.”

“Thanks. I gotta say, things are looking kind of grim around here. Are those mobile homes stacked up like hillbilly skyscrapers?”

“Yeah, I live in one of them. We’ve had a lot of problems once the cheap fossil fuels started running out. Life kinda sucks ass these days. Fortunately, we’ve got the OASIS.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s this virtual reality that’s kind of a combination of the Internet and the biggest MMORPG ever made. Here put this on, and I’ll show you.”

“Hey, this is pretty sweet, Wade. But what’s with all this old stuff here in your virtual room. It looks like the ‘80s vomited in here.”

“Oh, it’s part of my research for the contest. See the guy who invented the OASIS was this old nerd named James Halliday. He left an Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS and whoever finds it wins the prize. He was totally obsessed with the ‘80s and nerdly stuff like computers, sci-fi, cartoons, movies, comics and video games. He left three keys to three gates hidden in here, and the clues have to be stuff that he loved. So a lot of people like me have to know all about the '80s to hunt for the egg."

“How long has this been going on?”

“For years now. Nobody has found the first key yet.”

“And you what? Watch movies from the ‘80s? Listen to the music? Read his favorite books? Play old video games?”

“It‘s even bigger than that. Because of the contest, the entire world is obsessed with the ‘80s. The clothes and hairstyles are considered cool again.”

“Really? Well, I gotta get the hell out of here then. Thanks for showing me this, Wade. How do I log out?”

“You’re leaving already? Don’t you want to…Oh, my god! You said you were from 2011? And you’re in your 40s, right?”

“Well, just barely…”

“So you actually lived through the ‘80s?”

“Afraid so. High school class of 1988.”

“That’s awesome! You gotta tell me all about it, Kemper.”

“Kid, why would you want to hear about that? You’re sitting here with enough computer power to download everything from the collected works of Shakespeare to the entire run of The Wire and you want to hear about the ’80s? Just for a contest?”

“I love the ’80s. It was the coolest time ever!”

“Uh, not really. In fact, I think the ’90s beat the shit out of them. That not worrying about the Cold War thing was a relief and the music was a lot better. Plus we got to wear flannel. That was fun.”

“But… you got to play the old video games in the actual arcades, and you saw the first generation of home computers come out. Plus, music videos and John Hughes movies and Rubik’s Cubes and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and….”

“Yeah, Wade. I lived through it all. I remember when MTV played music videos and when Eddie Murphy was funny. But you’re making me sad, kid.”


“Lemme tell you a story, Wade. About ten years after I got out of high school, an old buddy I had stayed in touch with had a birthday bash and invited a bunch of us that used to run around together. So we’re at his house drinking and playing cards just like the old days and catching up and playing ‘Remember when?”. It was a lot of fun, but we’d been listening to hair metal and classic rock all night, and at one point, I was flipping through the CD’s.”

“Actual CD’s! Not downloads?”

“Hell, I’m so old even my post-high school stories are dated now. Yes, Wade, real CD’s. Anyhow, I found a new Foo Fighters album, and I put it in. And this one guy made a face and asked me why I had taken the Guns-n-Roses out. And I said something like the nostalgia had been fun but I needed something from that decade. Being completely serious he said that he didn’t know how I could listen to that stuff, and that he still listened to the same exact music we did in high school. He had just replaced his old cassettes with CD’s. The guy had completely managed to miss grunge and was perfectly happy with the same play list in 1998 that he’d been listening to in 1988. And that was one of the saddest things I ever heard, Wade.”

“But maybe he just really liked that stuff.”

“I liked it too, once upon a time. And I can still belt out a pretty good version of Relax when Frankie Goes to Hollywood comes on the radio, but it was a certain time and place. Now it’s done. I find it depressing that someone of Gen X would want to be stuck there and never moved on to anything new. But it got worse after that, Wade. Because we got older and then the media started catering to us by going for nostalgia trips on everything from trying to remake the Knight Rider TV show to shitty movies like The Transformers and G.I. Joe to the goddamn Smurfs. I’m tired of it in 2011, Wade. I don’t want a new Indiana Jones movie, I want the NEXT Indiana Jones. But no one is working on that because all of us got obsessed with regurgitating our childhoods over and over.”

“That is kind of sad, Kemper.”

“What’s even sadder is seeing it happen to a generation that didn’t even live through it. When I was a teenager, I got sick to death of baby boomer nostalgia and there’d be these kids my age who tried to be like damn dirty hippies by wearing tie-dye shirts and going to listen to Grateful Dead tribute bands. They were nostalgic for an era that wasn’t even theirs, and I always thought it was a waste. Don’t be like that, Wade. You seem like a nice kid. Don’t sit here watching Family Ties reruns and playing Space Invaders and making jokes about Ewoks. That was then. This is now. It’s your time and you should be out there trying to find the stuff that will become part of your own memories of growing up, not rehashing ours.”

“Gee, Kemper. That’s a really good point. You’ve opened my eyes. Thanks a lot.”

“You’re welcome, Wade. By the way, what the hell was this prize that was so good that it got the entire world doing the safety dance again?”

“Oh, the winner gets the controlling interest in Halliday’s company and his personal fortune which is about $240 billion dollars.”

“Did you say $240 billion? Dollars?”

“Yes, so how about we log off. Maybe I’ll take a walk and see if I can find this girl I like. I’ve been…”

“Screw that. Fire this rig up, Wade. Put on some Def Leppard and find me a pair of acid washed jeans and some high top Reeboks. Let’s start looking for clues. For $240 billion I’ll live through the ‘80s again.”


I didn’t actually hate this book. It did a lot of very clever stuff regarding an entire virtual universe. And for a member of Gen X, it was a fast and fun romp down memory lane. It was kind of like Snow Crash meets the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World movie.

But I’ve got a personal pet peeve against people trying to live in the past and since this book is nostalgia porn*, the basic premise did rub me the wrong way. The idea that the kids of the 2040s are just watching episodes of ‘80s TV shows and playing Donkey Kong really kind of depressed me.

*I stole that phrase from Flannery’s review. Sorry, Flannery! It was just too good.

I might have been able to get past it a little easier if at least one of the kids said something like, “Jesus, I hate this ‘80s bullshit. I can’t wait until his freakin’ contest is over so I can live in the here and now.” But instead all of them treat it like it’s the greatest entertainment ever. So even though a few post ’80s things like Firefly or the Lord of the Rings movies get mentioned, we’re supposed to believe that nerd pop culture reached a zenith in the ’80s and nothing worth geek obsession happened between 1990 and 2040? Sorry, but that seems kind of unlikely and the kind of wishful thinking that an aging Gen Xer would write as he pines for his glory days.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
681 reviews3,951 followers
September 9, 2017

anyone I saw writing a negative review for this got like, abused in their comments BUT. Im going for it anyway

unmarked spoilers ahead. ft, appearances from the voices of adele and beyonce

sum up Ready Player One in a single word? wanky

replace with: that 400 page book which used 80s references to condescend people not invested in that culture was incomparably wanky

okay, I'm going to start with the good stuff

the worldbuilding around the OASIS, and the setting was really good. I thought that the way that OASIS was built, described and functioned within this world was very well thought out and clever. It was definitely something high-tech enough to be interesting, but also realistic enough to be plausible. The setting in 2044 and the way the Earth/living standards are set up are well thought out.

• The other tech industry was a good "villain" in that I thought their motivations were plausible, and the interaction between them and the OASIS made sense. The gamers motivations to prevent the Sixers from winning and ruining OASIS were believable and the worldbuilding was intertwined with the motivations of characters which I liked

• It was reasonably fast paced



First things first, back to my point about it being wanky. I KNEW I was coming into this book to get lots of 80s references, I was fine with that, I was excited for it. I wanted the nostalgic feel of Stranger Things, because thats what people told me I'd get. I wanted that homage.

• things I didn't get: that

What I got instead was a "gate keeping" attitude in which any person/character who didn't have enough knowledge of the 80's was deemed not smart enough and not cool enough. The overabundance of 80s references reached the point of insanity. I can't get over this bit when Art3mis orders some drink and Wade is like 'OH SHE'S GETTING THAT BECAUSE IT'S THE SAME AS *CHARACTER* DRINKS. SO COOL. SHE'S WORTHY'

The 80's references were so oversaturated I couldn't actually separate them from their characters. Like, these characters literally WERE 80's references.

the whole time, it just felt like the author was leaning over me like "yeah, yeah, i know so many references. mhhm, another one, another one. YOU THINK I don't have more ?! HAHA, fooled. Have another, have ten more. I know everything there is to know about the 80's, don't test me kid. you don't know explicit detail of every spider-man comic ever released, FAKE FAN FAKE FAN.'

Anyway, it was really fucking annoying. It should have been a nice throwback to the 80's, not a fucking wank fest in which everyone loses their fucking mind and can't keep it together over pac-man. But seriously, the condescending tone about people who don't LIVE THE EIGHTIES annoyed me so fucking much.

Right, next up: characters.

Wade was ........ so fucking annoying. First of all, his attitude sucked. But that aside, his charactersation was just not good. His knowledge of the 80's was just unbelievable. He mentions at least a dozen shows that he's watched a dozen or so times, now, I'm struggling to believe he actually had time to watch the amount of shit he has, that many times. His knowledge was all-consuming and it was just unrealistic. He has literally no flaws. his main flaw ? he's overweight and a geek boy who can't get girls.
Well do not worry. Welcome to Wade's Biggest Loser Story:
"I spent 4 weeks doing pushups in the morning and now I look like an Abercrombie model :)"

You're a geek boy? well don't worry, you're superior to all those other boys anyway ! You're a nice boy !!!!!! and anyway, *beyonce voice* who run the world ? geeks geeks. Wade owns 5 fedoras.

Wade honestly felt like such a self insert/wish fulfilment type character. He annoyed me so fucking much, he was just rude and weird, and his obsession with Art3mis wasn't healthy. His obsession with Hallidays and OASIS genuinely wasn't healthy.

The female characters were so ghdh WE DESERVE BETTER. Art3mis had potential to be a great character, but she was ultimately reduced to a love interest. She tried to separate from Wade to focus on the Easter Egg but then he stalks her and she ends up with him ??? Also, I found it annoying we were supposed to give Wade Nice Boy Points for thinking her "curvy" avatar was hot, when we ALL KNOW it was the KimK type curvy and SHE LITERALLY IS TINY THIN IRL ANYWAY

Aech is so ?? *adele voice* WE COULD OF HAD IT ALL. Representation, is NOT real when it's a twist. It's so disappointing Aech was a black, female, lesbian and we didn't get to see that AT ALL. We get 1 chapter before she goes back to being a 'male' in the OASIS. Urgh, it's just annoying. I know Ernest Cline was trying to do a "oh look, you treated this person a certain way thinking they were white/male/straight now treat them the same when u know they're black/female/gay BUT IT WOULD HAVE JUST BEEN WAY BETTER IF WADES BEST FRIEND WAS REPRESENTED AS A GAY BLACK GIRL. You can't even say this is a diverse book because thats a "spoiler" urrhtgtjhgkj

also fml because Kira is also the reason Og and Halliday stopped being friends like why do they only exist for male relationships & angst urgh

The main evil guy in the evil corporation who's name I can't remember was so plain? He was such a stock villain and he just ??? died ???

Deus ex Machina

• Can't pass a level? Don't worry, I will magically whip some obscure knowledge out my ass to save the day
• Party got crushed by a sinister army? lucky some guy at this party happens to be able to fight them with unbelievable, rule-defying levels of power
• don't have somewhere to stay? NO WORRIES, a random billionaire is gonna show up in a space thats supposed to be barred to all characters to offer you sanctuary? "didn't the rules of this universe establish this was a private chat room"" yeah, they did. but turns out there's this other rule where thats not true SURPRISE
• Died? Well, no worries. Turns out you're the first person in history to get a FREE LIFE

it annoyed me how convenient some plot points were


• There is a bit when a character calls paraplegic people "repulsive"
• the fact he's called Wade like Wade Wilson it says alot tbh
• stalking stalking stalking
• the fact I had to read an entire chapter of Wade talking about the sex he had with a doll and masturbating and how it's like "THE COOLEST BOY THING EVER"
• TOO MUCH detail it felt like a slog. I was skimming entire pages of irrelevent detail about exactly what model of haptic suit Wade decided to buy that day

So yeah, overall I just didn't have a good time with this book it was just so obnoxious and annoying I couldn't get into it at all lmfao worst hype ever

Profile Image for Rick.
185 reviews652 followers
January 17, 2015
Back in 2011, Ready Player One was, perhaps, the year's most well-reviewed book. It received glowing commendations from the likes of NPR, The New York Times, Wired, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss, and many, many more. It maintains a 4.3 average score on Goodreads.com (a significant accomplishment given its 20,000+ reviews), and you'd be hard pressed to find a negative review in any major publication.

In no way can I make any sense of this. Please believe what I am about to write, as it is not even close to hyperbole:

Ready Player One was the most disappointing reading experience of my entire life.

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 puzzles that will yield a 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 1980s. 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.

And with that, you've just read the best that Ready Player One has to offer: its synopsis.

I should preface the rest of this review by stating that I am, and have always been, a geek at heart. I am as much a byproduct of the 1980s as anyone. I've been a lifelong gamer, a pop culture obsessive, and I once thought I'd married, for real, Princess Peach.

Ready Player One has been hailed by its author, Ernest Cline, as a love letter to anyone who "grew up geek," a sentiment that has been confirmed by every review, in every publication, all over the world. And yet, the Ready Player One that I read was less a love letter to geeks than it was a pat on the back to an 18-year-old Cline, a Stephanie-Meyer-eclipsing Mary Sue that attempts to justify the behavior of an overweight, socially awkward, virginal nerd.

I'm not being mean. It's literally what it is.

At its core, Ready Player One is a fairy tale, a treasure hunt. Albeit, one designed by an 80s-obsessed ultra-nerd whose entire life was steeped in nostalgia. Evidently, human creativity peaked with Zork and Legend. So Wade's hunt for Halladay's "easter egg" is one long excuse for a constant—and I do mean constant—barrage of 80s references.

Actually, scratch that. It's not so much referencing as it is name dropping. 95% of it serves no actual purpose aside from simply mentioning it. At first the references reinforce the story, helping to create a framework that grounds the reader in the "world" Cline has "created" with OASIS. But after the first chapter (yes, the first chapter) these devolve into ceaseless, meaningless throwbacks. The novelty lasts all of ten minutes until you realize that it's all just an annoying form of telling, not showing.

If the point is to re-enact sections of D&D modules and 80s cult classics, then your readers are just getting third-hand retreads of things that aren't even important to begin with. It's sort of like when your socially-awkward friend resolutely recounts a super-sweet TV show for you, word for word, and all you can do is just sit there and wait until he's finished. Pay $20 for that experience and you get Ready Player One.

What makes Ready Player One so disappointing is that these references seem to the be the sole purpose of Cline's writing. The novel doesn't say much of anything. Sure, there are a handful of introspective moments—limp attempts at social commentary—but they're of so little consequence they seem thrown in to fulfill some delusion of grandeur.

Yes, reality really is better and more meaningful than virtual reality. We've been told this in almost every VR-based story known to man. And yet, that's Cline's one takeaway. (Oh, and you should love people for who they are on the inside, even if they have a birthmark on half their face. Thanks Ernest!)

What's confusing about the 80s obsession, though, is the fact that Ready Player One is, at best, a YA-level read. Cline would sit very comfortably beside the likes of Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins. Ready Player One is inelegant and shallow at the best of times, and yet, this novel is clearly targeted at the 30-year-old-and-up-crowd (if you're any younger much of the subject material is simply too obscure). This subject/reading-level conflict, then, makes the whole mess inherently problematic.

And what's worst—no, I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet—is how the entire thing reeks of elitism. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a book about an overweight, unattractive, lazy, delusional, uber-geek elitist, who believes—truly believes—that his knowledge of 80s trivia makes him superior. And Cline basically affirms this! Some guys buy cars, others put socks down their pants, Cline writes 80s trivia novels.

There is a scene, in chapter 3, in which Wade (or Parzival, as his handle goes), engages in a nerdy rat-a-tat-tat with another OASIS player to see who has more knowledge of 80s pop culture. It is the singularly most embarrassing thing I have ever read from a professional. It's just this much above fan fiction. Actually, fuck that. I've actually read fan fiction more entertaining than this. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Add to all this the fact that Cline's characters are uniformly flat. Wade, our narrator, is blatant author wish fulfillment and his lessons are trivial, at best. His love interest is present only to represent Wade's "true" victory (her heart). The unknowable best friend who harbours a secret you'll never guess (meaning, you absolutely will). And the villain … a one-dimensional, nearly faceless corporation as uninteresting as a rival boyfriend in a John Hughes movie.

"If it's a great book, I want to luxuriate in its greatness. And if it's crap, I want it to magically transform itself into genius. This book just stayed crap." – Amy, a reviewer on Amazon.com

Ready Player One exists solely to glorify hollow pop culture from the 1980s, and yet, Ernest Cline does absolutely nothing to convince the reader that the 80s were cool if he/she didn't think so already. The plot is overly simplistic and plods along with inevitability, making The Da Vinci Code read like a Pulitzer Prize winner. Cline's hero, Wade, is the trivia-equivalent of Superman, where he is so overpowered his "quest" becomes tedious, rather than uplifting. And, at the end of the day, Wade is just an arrogant, elitist prick. (He describes his abject poverty and lack of real world opportunities as like "being in the world's greatest video arcade with no quarters." Seriously, fuck you, Wade.)

Every time I think about this book I want to make my rating lower. It started as a 2, then dropped to a 1.5, and by the end of this review I feel I have no choice but to give it a 1. I hated this book with every fibre of my being, and it escapes the dreaded 0 only because Cline managed to form actual sentences.

Never again will I read Ernest Cline. You can count on that.
December 10, 2015
This book is a geek fantasy. A nerd utopia. Speaking as a formerly addicted World of Warcraft player (among others), I loved it.

I believe you can tell the author's passion from what he's written, and it is clear from this book that Ernest Cline is a fellow gamer and geek. I salute him. His ardor for games is so clearly felt within this book. A fellow fangirl/fanboy can sniff out a fake one like a dead fish within a Bath and Body Works (ok, that may be a bad example, but you catch my drift). Ernest Cline is a real-deal fanboy. I salute you, sir.

This book is for fanboys and fangirls. There are those who don't like it. There are those who feel that there are needless references, inserted solely for a wink and a nudge from the author to the reader. To those people, I say: SO WHAT?! I welcomed those references. It makes me feel good because I know what they are. Is there something wrong with feeling good and getting an innocent giggle out of understanding a reference?
GSS had also licensed preexisting virtual worlds from their competitors, so content that had already been created for games like Everquest and World of Warcraft was ported over to the OASIS, and copies of Norrath and Azeroth were added to the growing catalog of OASIS planets. Other virtual worlds soon followed suit, from the Metaverse to the Matrix. The Firefly universe was anchored in a sector adjacent to the Star Wars galaxy, with a detailed re-creation of the Star Trek universe in the sector adjacent to that.
IN ONE PARAGRAPH, HE REFERENCED SO MANY THINGS THAT I LOVE. How could I hate the references? I have a soul!!!!!!!! I get excited, ok? ._.

So here's what I liked about this book:
1. I liked the main character
2. I liked the future world
3. I liked the realistic feeling of an online gaming scene

Wade is a good kid. He's had a rough life. He's depressed, but he never reaches martyr status.
The year after my mom died, I spent a lot of time wallowing in self-pity and despair. I tried to look on the bright side, to remind myself that, orphaned or not, I was still better off than most of the kids in Africa. And Asia. And North America, too. I’d always had a roof over my head and more than enough food to eat. And I had the OASIS. My life wasn’t so bad. At least that’s what I kept telling myself, in a vain attempt to stave off the epic loneliness I now felt.
He's nothing special. He's an overweight (and simultaneously malnourished) kid. He doesn't do too well in school. He could be any of my friends who have played games.

He is a nice kid. He doesn't blame people for circumstances that are beyond their control. It would have been the easiest thing to hate his mom for being drug-addicted, yet he doesn't.
I never blamed my mom for the way things were. She was a victim of fate and cruel circumstance, like everyone else. Her generation had it the hardest. She’d been born into a world of plenty, then had to watch it all slowly vanish.
It's a shitty world. People have to survive the best way they know how, sometimes those ways are self-destructive.

A lot of the problems with dystopian fiction is that they're too drastic. Barely 100 years into the future, the world has created a new society, etc. The world in this book is set in 2044, and admittedly, it is pretty grim, but I still found it believable.

There's been an energy crisis, there's global warming, civilization is decline but not completely in the shithole yet. Life is crappy. I've always thought that life would be awful for my grandchildren, and this book pretty much tells it how I believe it could be. And god help us if Trump is elected president.

I also love Cline's explanation of the way online gaming works, down to its community. He clearly knows his shit, from user names to avatars. There are some funny tidbits.
Students weren’t allowed to use their avatar names while they were at school. This was to prevent teachers from having to say ridiculous things like “Pimp_Grease, please pay attention!” or “BigWang69, would you stand up and give us your book report?”
But really, it's the nostalgia of my gaming days that clinches this book for me. The online camaraderie. The late nights gaming together, the bonding that takes place over Ventrilo after defeating a difficult challenge. I got to know many friends whom I wouldn't ordinary have talked to in the real world. It's a bonding experience that is as much a part of the game as the game itself. Often, it's community that truly makes the experience memorable. And yes, the online romances. This book portrays all of that, and so what if it banks on my nostalgia? I'll take it.

Granted, it is overly long, and too detailed at times. It does lack complexity, and would be more of a middle-grade book if not for its length and content, but overall, it was a solidly good book.
Profile Image for William Cline.
71 reviews152 followers
January 6, 2016
For most of the first half of this book, I was unimpressed. The writing was flat, and the story was unremarkable. The book gets hype because of its pervasive use of 1980s popular culture, particularly its references to science fiction, fantasy, and video games. The problem was that most of these references served no purpose. Something would be described by pointing out its resemblance to something from a film or television show—a particularly annoying form of "telling, rather than showing" given that a reader of the wrong age or background won't know the reference—but said reference would add nothing to the events at hand. Either that, or the reference would be carried to cringe-worthy, fan-fiction-grade extremes. For instance, in one scene, the online avatar of the main character, Wade Watts (known online as Parzival) pilots a DeLorean DMC-12 resembling the one used in the Back to the Future films, except for the addition of the computerized voice and sweeping red light of KITT from Knight Rider, a pair of Ghost Busters logos adorning the doors, and a license plate reading "ECTO 88".

Whether mentioned in passing or over the top like the aforementioned mash-up car, however, virtually all of these allusions are brought up and then dropped in the space of a sentence. The DeLorean, for example, takes up a couple of paragraphs and is then never used again. Ready Player One doesn't draw from 1980s popular culture; it just name-drops it all over the place. Sometimes it seemed the only purpose for these references was that the author and reader could share a knowing, self-congratulating smile.

The notion of a "massively multiplayer" online role-playing game becoming the human race's main form of entertainment presents some amusing possibilities, though, and Ready Player One doesn't completely squander its potential. The moment when I started to enjoy the book came about halfway through, in a chapter describing a day in Wade's life some time after his

Cline shares the late twentieth century computer geek's vision of the Internet as a benevolent force. Wade has genuine feelings of friendship and love for his online friends, people he would never have met offline, people with whom he shares bonds of mutual interests and ideals rather than geography. An online world is one without racism or other prejudices. (Or at least, it's a world where you can avoid these prejudices by configuring your avatar appropriately. Let's not go into the implications of that.) Furthermore, despite its post-energy-crisis shabbiness, the world of Ready Player One is one in which the good guys have won: free speech, privacy, and "net neutrality" all rule the day.

At the same time, no matter how cool he tries to make the OASIS (and I admit, it is cool), Cline is conflicted about it. Its pleasures are tempered by the fact that for many of its players it serves as a drug, distracting them from the shabby state of real life in late twenty-first century Earth. Wade's dissatisfaction with a life spent entirely online is explored throughout the book, though never deeply. I would have liked to see the book explore this tension between the unifying and isolating effects of the online world in more detail.

In summary, Ready Player One touches on some interesting ideas, although it doesn't explore them as deeply as I would have liked. The writing is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The story gets more interesting in the second half, and the annoying popular culture references become less frequent. I'm glad I stuck it out to the end, but I don't think it deserves whatever hype it's getting in nerd circles.
Profile Image for Melissa McShane.
Author 60 books764 followers
May 28, 2018
ETA: At the risk of getting this more attention by editing it, I'm no longer responding to comments made on this review. It's four years old, and while I stand by what I wrote, I'm not interested in discussing it, either positively or negatively. And I'm really glad they made it into a movie.

So disappointing. The premise of a treasure hunt inside a gigantic immersive online environment is interesting. I like the idea of the people of 2044 being fixated on '80s culture for clues to solving the puzzle. The execution simply doesn't live up to the promise. The writing goes like this:





...and so forth. I honestly don't know who the intended audience is. The author overexplains all the '80s references as if he expects readers to be too young or too disconnected from geek culture not to get them, but my experience with SF fandom is that no element of fandom, however old, ever completely dies out; all of us old farts who were teens in the '80s (and, interesting fact, the creator of the book's treasure hunt has the same birth year I do) make sure the young sprouts experience all the golden oldies. This is a first novel, and I make allowances for first novels, but this stretches my tolerance quite a bit.

More difficult for me to get past was the poorly-conceived dystopian future from which the story arises; to the bugaboos of environmental destruction, overpopulation, and economic collapse is added the fear of giant, evil corporations. This despite the fact that the guy who set up the enormous online multiverse AND created the treasure hunt did so by creating an enormous corporation of his own. His online creation is lauded (in one of those massive infodumps) as being so egalitarian because they don't charge anything for access, just for the things you buy inside it, but the corporation couldn't have set it up in the first place without needing a grundle of cash. (My computer programmer friends will fall on the floor laughing at the idea that all of those virtual items people buy are pure profit for the company because they "don't cost anything to make.") Every time I started to get interested in the story, I came up against some background element that only made sense in a tautological way--it is because it's said to be so.

But what really killed it for me, what caused me to finally give up about halfway through, has always been a deal-breaker for me in any work of speculative fiction. I don't like books that seem to exist independently of the great body of work that has explored the same issues or ideas. In this case, it's as if the author has never heard of Tad Williams' Otherland or (despite the hero's homage to Stephenson) The Diamond Age and Snow Crash. These books (I except Stephenson's more recent book Reamde because it was released the same year as Ready Player One) raised and evaluated issues with virtual reality, and yet Ready Player One does a lot of unnecessary reinventing of the cybernetic wheel. And yes, I do think this is a valid criticism; science fiction is interconnected to a degree that trumps any other genre, except possibly experimental literary fiction. There's an expectation that readers will be familiar with concepts raised elsewhere and have more than a passing familiarity with other SF novels. Ready Player One doesn't do much more than revisit ideas that other authors have explored, and the addition of a high-tech fantasy quest (an admittedly very cool idea) isn't enough to elevate it beyond the ordinary.
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
August 6, 2023
I did the unheard of, I took a day off writing in order to finish reading this book.

I understand why I loved this book, but I am less sure why so many millions of others did. The plot of this book revolves around solving puzzles and tasks based on 80s nostalgia, our hero, a young man born fifty years later, has to research the period, and specifically one old man's nerdy take on the decade.

For me this meant a trip down memory lane, taking in specific D&D modules I played through with my friends (The Tomb of Horrors) to a level that I recognized each element as our hero encountered it, revisiting the music (some of it new to me, some of it very familiar), all the cheesy films (teen, fantasy, scifi), and the video games - he even referenced three games that I specifically talk about in the last book I wrote (Robotron 2084, Pacman, & Street Fighter).

I really enjoyed all that. I'm trying to imagine if he had set it in the 50s and talked about a lot of stuff that meant very little to me... I don't think I would have enjoyed that much. And yet that must be how this book seems to someone who is 20-something...

Anyway, there's more to the book than 80s puzzles, though they do dominate. This is a contest taking place in a virtual world where most of the real world like to hang out. The contest and the contestants are fun. We get regular updates on the scoreboard. The dystopian real futuristic world outside adds another dimension where, because of the incredible value of the prize (ownership of the simulation (like having all the shares in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc)) there are conflicts about the game outside the game. There's a giant cheating conglomerate to run from and hopefully ultimately to defeat.

There's even a romance thread!

This is an exciting story, especially for geeks, and the key word is FUN. You're not going to find powerful prose, extensive character development, or deep themes. There's an arm wave at the end toward the notion that living in the real world is probably better for us, but yeah, shallow stuff though enormously absorbing, and I loved it.

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Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 65 books233k followers
May 25, 2011
I got to read an ARC of this, and it appealed to every geeky part of me.

I'll probably write a blog about it later, but for now, a brief review:

Simply said? This book was fucking awesome.
Profile Image for Sissyneck.
16 reviews7 followers
February 14, 2012
That one star is probably misleading...I thought this was going to be a 4-5 star book for a good portion of the time I spent reading it. The 80s pop-culture references are so pervasive and so relevant to my life that, at times, the book felt like it been written specifically for me. (The love interest is described as being like Jordan, from Real Genius...c'mon!)

All of the Star Wars, Ferris Bueller, and Highlander references in the world can't hide that this story is at best, empty, and at worst, ugly. Rote plotting, un-earned dickensian coincidences, clumsy deus ex machina (I still don't know how to pluralize that term), the worst kind of tokenism disguised as actually valuing diversity, a profound neglect of the complexities of the real/virtual world dichotomy...Cline has adopted some of the style of Gibson and Stephenson, but none of the substance.
In a nice manifestation of the novel's lack of self-awareness, Cline at one point derides the villains of the book for simply using "Johnny 5" style robots from Short Circuit instead coming up with their own design. This appropriation, he explaines, demonstrates "a lack of imagination," a valid criticism that only too accurately applies to the ostensible heroes of the book, as well as to Cline himself.

Update: The plural of "deus ex machina" is "dei ex machinis". Thanks, The Awl!
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,195 followers
May 24, 2020
ladies and gentlemen, from this day this book is my life and I will obsess over it constantly
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
May 1, 2019
I found myself smiling frequently while reading this.

Willy Wonka meets The Matrix in the near future online game age. I almost typed video age and that would date me back in the 1980s, but that would be OK too. Like James Halliday, I was a teenager in the late eighties and so Ready Player One by Ernest Cline has a special place for me. I played Dungeons and Dragons (I was even dungeon master for a Tomb of Horrors campaign) I played coin operated video games, I obviously dig science fiction and comics, I listened to Rush, REM and Van Halen, etc. etc.

And for my Goodreads friends who enjoy my trivia questions, I went all out for my Ready Player One chapter; after all, 80s trivia was a big part of the book and so what better tribute could I pay than to level up with a treasure load of trivia questions? Cline invites us, especially those of us who were teenagers in the 80s, to geek out and it is a fun experience.

Like Among Others, Jo Walton’s Hugo award winning novel, part of the charm of this book is the fun nostalgia, but Cline takes it to another level as the 80s trivia is an integral part of the plot; a near hopeless post cyber-punk (gamer punk?) dystopia with excellent characterization and with a very likeable cast.

More than this even, Cline makes an intelligent, humanistic observation about where our world is now and where it is heading with the loneliness and isolation that comes when the cyber-world is more interesting, and more vital, than the real world. Yet Cline also makes a statement about the resiliency, tenacity and perseverance of the human sprit by demonstrating that even if the only connection two people can make is on a purely artificial and mental level, as in two people who only know each other as online avatars that genuine fellowship can still occur, that even love can bloom.

One of the greatest compliments that can be paid to a book is to say you could not put it down, that’s how it was with Ready Player One, a very, very good read.

I am stingy with my Goodreads 5 star votes, this one had my vote about a third of the way in.

** 2018 - I'm weird about books and films. If I have read the book first, I almost never see the film. I have not seen the Steven Spielberg film and likely won't. Nothing against it, I very much enjoy Spielberg's work and think it is great that this book was made into a movie but ... it's just me. As good a story as this is, the charm and great attraction was the 80s trivia and how Cline so expertly blended a trip down memory lane with a cool SF concept.

Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
434 reviews4,256 followers
August 27, 2023
Ernest Cline’s book Ready Player One is set in 2044, and the world is in a very sorry state. To escape the horrors of his reality and to find adventure and learning, a teenage boy, Wade Watts/Parzival logs into a computer system, the Oasis. The creator of the Oasis, James Halliday/Anorak, dies, and he leaves behind his entire fortune to the person who can solve a quest involving certain riddles. Will Wade find the fortune before anyone else? And will Wade find connection in the real world?

First of all, the storytelling in Ready Player One is spot on. This book is riveting, and I found myself thinking about this book when I was not reading it, wondering what would happen next.

The three components of a great story are all here: the protagonist’s task must be hard to do, it must be easy to understand, and a great deal must be involved in the ending.

I had to keep checking the publication date because so many things mentioned in the book happened, just as the book predicted. For example, people now regularly order food and groceries online from the convenience of their home and have them delivered to their doorstop.

This book also touched on some really important topics. In Ready Player One, Wade is fighting not just for the fortune but for control over the OASIS. Whoever controls the OASIS controls information and access to other people. He states that the rival corporation, the IOI, wants to charge users a monthly fee. This fee would therefore prohibit the poor from accessing the OASIS.

Access to Information
I don’t have all of the answers (or any of them really) but this book raises important questions. What would happen if Facebook decided to charge users a monthly fee? Would this price out the poor? What about Twitter? Instagram? YouTube? What about the permanent bans on Twitter? Where is the line between allowing people free speech and stopping speech that hurts people? Who decides who gets access and who should decide who gets access?

The book also touches on how video games are adventures. I remember growing up and thinking that the woods around my house were adventurous. My friends and I were convinced that whoever happened to be walking through the woods was a serial killer. We were also always on the lookout for messages in a bottle. However, there aren’t any woods by my current house. Who wouldn’t want to be able to simply log in from the comfort of their home for a puzzle, a game of strategy, and some human connection?

Reading Technique
To read this book, I utilized a technique called immersion reading (this is where you listen to the audiobook while following along in the copy of the text). When I was listening to the audiobook, I thought that it was the same narrator as Project Hail Mary, but I was wrong. It happens from time to time. However, this book (including the narrator) has the very same exact tone. The narrator speaks to you as though you are a friend, and he is very enthusiastic and unapologetically sharing his thoughts with the reader.

This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys 1980’s culture or video-game/fantasy enthusiasts.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
July 19, 2018
"I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal." Groucho Marx

The middle school I attended was a 1930s WPA project that by the 1970s was a lethal cocktail of toxic mold from the water leaks and cancer causing asbestos. I'm hoping, since several decades have passed, that all the nasty microbes I inhaled while conjugating verbs and wrestling with algebra have long since been frog marched out of my body. I was a rural kid and had to wait for the bus to come pick me up after school. The bus was always late which was a real pain in the ass for a scrawny kid like me who was trying to avoid the hulking, megalithic Hoover clan. They were massive, with beach ball bellies and Neanderthal brows. They had freckle specked Popeye arms and flaming red hair. They were full grown men in middle school with mustaches and sideburns. They liked to grab underweight kids by the neck and dangle them off the ground for entertainment.

A new pizza place opened across the highway. The pizza was passable, but I wasn't there for the pizza. When I walked in those doors I claimed sanctuary. It didn't take long for the owner to 86 the Hoover boys because he didn't want me to be interrupted putting quarter after quarter into this colorful black box called DEFENDER.

 photo 3d6c5786-36a1-422f-8fe0-4f783de738cf_zpso99l2kyf.png

If I were to get the high score the pizza guy would give me a slice. I soon learned that I could barter that slice for safe conduct onto my bus. It was worth the investment to buy a piece and watch the Hoover boysmen tear the slice into pieces nearly coming to blows in the process, although I probably could have brought them roadkill with similar results.

The place also had Asteroids which I loved as well, but my first love was Defender. I would only play Asteroids if someone was already playing Defender. Even while immersed in blowing up interstellar asteroids I would catch myself looking longingly over at Defender.


Yes, it was a whirlwind romance born out of a need for survival. When I moved to high school I would stop in once in a while, but I'd grown as a person and Defender...well...had stayed the same. Our romance had gotten away from us somehow and it was time for both of us to move on to other people like Molly Ringwald.


Yes, I know it is embarrassing to admit it now, but I, like a large majority of boys and a good percentage of girls, had a crush on Molly. She wasn't the best role model for girls and I paid the price for her influence. The girls I dated in high school were that much more a pain in the ass because Molly Ringwald was their idol from the clothes they wore to the way they talked. Is that the time period when High Maintenance came into common usage? I wore a Members Only jacket and wished like hell my parents had cable so I could watch MTV. It was always a struggle trying to be cool in Kansas in the 1980s.

Wade Watts, our hero, is an orphan. He was taken in by an aunt because she wanted the extra food vouchers. She doesn't share the food,a bit of a Dickens situation going on, which forces Wade to scramble for his own food supply. They live in these lovely stacked trailers on the outskirts of Oklahoma City.


"We lived in the Portland Avenue Stacks, a sprawling hive of discolored tin shoeboxes rusting on the shores of I-40, just west of Oklahoma City's decaying skyscraper core. It was a collection of over five hundred individual stacks, all connected to each other by a makeshift network of recycled pipes, girders, support beams, and footbridges. The spires of a dozen ancient construction cranes (used to do the actual stacking) were positioned around the stacks' ever expanding outer perimeter.

Living in this world of 2044 would have been horrible except for a man named James Halliday who had invented OASIS a sprawling virtual utopia. You could live in the nastiest slag heap on the planet, but in OASIS, where you spent most of your time, you could build a paradise. When Halliday died he left a series of clues that created a world sensation. The first person to figure out the clues wins the Halliday fortune...$140 billion. Halliday was a fan of 1980s pop culture and built his clues around his love of that era. Those involved in the search have to become experts on everything 1980s. The dialogue of every John Hughes film, the man who brought us Molly Ringwald, must be memorized. They have to learn how to play vintage video games such as Defender, Asteroids, Joust and Pac-Man. They have to watch all the television episodes from that era searching for clues to the puzzle. They have to know Devo lyrics and the words to every other 1980s pop song. Needless to say, most of the population give up, and go back to other pursuits as the years pass without any breakthroughs.

Wade is determined and with the help of his best friend Aech pronounced H they continue to sift through archival material looking for that clue that will lead them to the next clue. When Wade finds the first clue and opens the first gate of the elaborate treasure hunt he becomes a world sensation, and draws the attention of the Sixers, the evil corporation intent on dominating OASIS. If they find the clues before Wade and his friends, and unlock the Halliday fortune, OASIS would be under their control.

During his quest, his online name is Parzival, Wade meets a girl.

"It was Art3mis.
She wore a suit of scaled gunmetal-blue armor that looked more sci-fi than fantasy. Twin blaster pistols were slung low on her hips in quick draw holsters, and there was a long, curved elvish sword in a scabbard across her back. She wore fingerless Road Warrior-style racing gloves and a pair of classic Ray-Ban shades. Overall, she seemed to be going for a sort of mid-'80s postapocalyptic cyberpunk girl-next-door look. And it was working for me, in a big way. In a word:hot.

I'm such a sucker for boy meets girl, boy wins girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. Cline mines this tried and true formula to perfection.

The reader is shotgunned with 1980s pop culture which I know has bothered some reviewers. I thought it was great. I've been listening to '80s music all week on my iPod because the book brought back memories of songs that I first heard on cassette tapes. I wasn't ever a gamer. My brief fling with Defender has been the only time I've spent any significant amount of time playing video games. To enjoy this book I don't think you have to be a connoisseur of vintage video games or have spent hours playing D&D, but I think those people with that background will enjoy it more because the references will ignite; hopefully, fond memories for them. If you pine for the 1980s you should definitely read this book. The plot was fascinating and kept the pages turning.

This book went viral in the collecting world. First edition, first printing are bringing $200. I read somewhere that the print run was 15,000 which is reasonably small. If a large percentage of the first printings were bought by libraries it could stay a much sought after collectible for years to come. If you have a first edition, first printing tuck it away somewhere safe. It could turn out to provide a really good return on your initial investment.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
**lo! i have made a readalike list for this book over on riffle!**


let me get the gripes out of the way first, because despite overall being a fun, escapist book, there are things that rankle.

i have a crush on the 80's (not an obsession, mind you, but a crush. when i was little i managed to simultaneously want to make out with both jon cryer and molly ringwald and to this day depeche mode's album black celebration soothes many sorrows.

so a book that revolves around 80's pop culture sounded like my kind of thing, even if a lot of the references are video game related, and the minutiae, while impressive, could have been made up for all i knew because i enjoyed the atari back in the day, but i wasn't a serious video game geek. (although i did take my atari 2600 to college in 1995 - i was the original ironic hipster - recognize!)

i am getting to the gripes now after one more brief personal anecdote. i used to go to a lot of new wave dance nights. (if i am being honest, most of them were "dark" new wave, bordering on goth: camouflage, wolfsheim, anything box, the normal, soft cell) and towards the end of my going to this one particular club, they used to frequently slip sit down by james in there. and i used to get so irate. because 1) you cannot dance to that song. 2) you cannot go from the sun always shines on TV to jaunty britpop and 3) (but i just consulted queen wikipedia and learned i was absolutely wrong) it is not an 80's song. as it turns out, it is. 1989. and this undermines my entire argument so let's pretend my initial misconception was correct and i am not just wrong in everything i do.

but that was my problem with this book. if we take as fact that james halliday's obsession was the eighties, than how is quentin tarantino among his favorite directors?? or neal stephenson among his favorite writers?? and unless he really loves the meaning of life, what the hell is monty python doing in there? there is a long pivotal scene involving the acting-out of scenes from the holy grail. i don't even need queen wikipedia to know that that movie came out in 1975. and don't give me attitude about geek culture and how integral that movie is to geeks everywhere because trust me, i am aware. and "well, the seventies were really the eighties..." no. this is a novel. the character has built an entire life around being obsessed with the pop culture of the 80's. commit to your premise!! you wrote this - stick to it! it's not like there is a dearth of source material, that's kind of what the 80's were for.it was ALL pop culture.

but that aside - this is definitely a lot of fun. if there was such a thing, i would call this a popcorn book. it is fun and fast-paced, and if you are old enough, you will chuckle, and if you are younger, you will probably be baffled and miss a lot of the slyly inserted references, but that's okay because you have your whole life ahead of you, so it's a trade off for those of us in our dotage. he gets points for having an oingo boingo reference on page two - that pretty much cemented my engagement in the book, so smart move there. and i loved all the swordquest references. because i know i have gone off about this in another review somewhere, but seriously, doubleyoo tee eff??


i am also glad that he realized he was just writing a tech version of charlie and the chocolate factory. that's all i was thinking of at the beginning, and when he finally references it, it is just to say "nooooo this is different." but it is pretty much the same premise. but he is wise to distance himself from c.a.t.c.f., because, hello?? 1964. not 1984.

dunno - this is going to be a huge hit when it comes out, mark my words. and i expect it will eventually be adapted into a movie. and i will buy the soundtrack to that movie.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,989 followers
March 26, 2015
NERDGASM!!!!!!! Video games, movies and music from the 80's!

My teenage years were spent during the 80's. I look through the pictures that were taken at that time and realize we could have been called a cheesy generation. This book saves us. This book makes us cool.

I actually wanted to revisit those times after reading this book. It's not deep literature but it is pure fun. I smiled and cheered so many times reading Wade's story, even though you know how the book is going to end it is still a popcorn needing ride to get to that ending.

I'm not going to bother telling you about the books story because other reviewers have done a wonderful job of that. I'm gonna gif spam you!

(Every once in awhile I have to give the gif haters something to bitch about)
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
September 19, 2018
”To be honest, the future doesn’t look too bright. You were born at a pretty crappy time in history. And it looks like things are only gonna get worse from here on out. Human civilization is in “decline.” Some people even say it’s “collapsing.”

Sounds familiar? I think that sentence could be easily used to describe our current situation as well. In Cline’s world things are a whole lot worse though. People live in Containers and escape into a virtual reality named the OASIS. They work there, they fall in love in there, they basically spend their entire life in that place because reality is too hard to bear. They only drink, eat and go to the toilet in reality, oh and of course they WORK in reality too. *lol* Because some work is clearly no fun and too serious to be a part of the OASIS. ;-P

And the kids? Well, they go to school in there as well. There’s an entire planet that’s dedicated to education and every avatar is allowed to be there for free. =) Believe it or not, but it’s actually one of those young and penniless students named Parzival who discovers the copper key first and clears the first gate after doing so. But wait, I’m already thinking too far ahead. XD

”Before long, billions of people around the world were working and playing in the OASIS every day. Some of them met, fell in love, and got married without ever setting foot on the same continent. The lines of distinction between a person’s real identity and that of their avatar began to blur.
It was the dawn of a new era, one where most of the human race now spent all of their free time inside a videogame.”

Let’s get back on track, shall we? So, there’s that awesome old guy named Halliday who’s not only a hermit but also some sort of philanthropist who invented the OASIS with his best friend Morrow. It’s right at the beginning of the book that he dies and announces that he hid an egg that will change the life of the person who finds it. But the hunt for that egg is not easy and everyone who wants to find it has to have an amazing knowledge of the pop culture of the 80ies! *lol*
So far so good! That’s the main plot and I won’t reveal anything else about it, because this book is too much fun to read! You just have to experience it on your own! ;-)

Still, when I started to read “Ready Player One” I was worried that I wouldn’t understand some of the 80’s references and that I’d have a tough time to keep up with them, but while I read it my fear vanished almost immediately. I may be born in the late 80’s and therefore consider myself more to be a 90’s child, but I definitely had no trouble to follow all those awesome references. =) It was so much fun to dive into that world and to puzzle over the hints of the hunt and I loved all the music, movies and video games that were mentioned throughout the entire book.

To read “Ready Player One” felt like I was smack in the middle of a video game and I had the distinct feeling that I was reliving my childhood all over again. Which truth be told, was more than just a little awesome! Especially when they mentioned Pac-Man and Falco! *lol* Parzival actually named his asteroid and stronghold after the Austrian musician and I think I’ll never get over that fact! <3

And this finally leads me to the characters of the book which were all really likable and amazing! I loved Art3mis and Parzival’s easy banter and I was rooting for them ever since they first met. Those two were so adorable and I just wanted them to be together. <3

”Art3mis: So what do you imagine I look like, then?
Parzival: Like your avatar, I suppose. Except, you know, without the amor, guns, or glowing sword.
Art3mis: You’re kidding, right? That’s the first rule of online romances, pal. No one ever looks anything like their avatar.
Parzival: Are we going to have an online romance? < crosses fingers >”

But of course Parzival and Art3mis weren’t the only two characters I loved. I was a huge fan of Morrow too even though he was just a side character and didn’t get all too much room in the book. And Aech? Aech was awesome as hell! I guess Parzival was lucky to have such a good friend and even though I had my suspicions about Aech’s true identity I still have to say that I loved how everything came together in the end. XD

”Of course they do!” Morrow shouted gleefully. “They own practically everything! Including you, pretty boy! I mean, did they tattoo a UPC code on your ass when they hired you to sit there and spout their corporate propaganda?”

My favourite scene of the entire book (aside from Pac-Man of course) was the following though:

”Then I realized the video being shot of me would be scrutinized when this was all over. Sorrento himself would probably see it, and so would his superiors. So I looked directly into the lens of the camera, smiled, and scratched the bridge of my nose with my middle finger.”

Haha! I just loved Parzival and his attitude! He might have been slightly insane but he certainly knew what he did! IOI was horrible and Sorrento their leader was even worse. I can understand why the OASIS community didn’t like them and I completely understood why the Gunters didn’t want them to win the quest. Their influence was astounding and their ways and means more than just dubious…

So considering it all I really enjoyed this book! It was an easy and fun read and I can recommend it to everyone. If you’re a child of the 80’s and 90’s you’ll probably relish the references to 80’s pop culture more but that doesn’t mean that you can’t read it if you’re born at a later date! Many things are explained so you won’t have any trouble to follow the plot! ;-)

Just log into the OASIS and enjoy the freaky ride!
I can assure you, it’s worth it! XD
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
October 8, 2020
Don't hate me...please.


But I'm pretty sure I didn't like this one as much as most of my friends. I'm guessing the 80's were super rad n' all to a lot of people, but I don't remember them being all that amazing.
Granted, I was only 10 in 1985, but still...
I passed my middle school years during this tubular time period. Ick.
Most of what I recall involved a mushroom cloud of hairspray (centered around bangs), lots of plastic bracelets, and tons of really loud colors.
Not that there's anything wrong with that!


Anyway. All of this nostalgia is really wonderful, but I never liked the shows (like Family Ties) that the book mentioned, I didn't obsessively play any of the old video games (although I do remember playing Centipede occasionally with my ONLY friend who could afford a console), and the music...*cough*...well, it wasn't any better than the stuff on the radio right now.


While I found some of the references kinda neat-o, that sort of thing wasn't enough to make me flail around and get all excited.
And, unfortunately, there wasn't enough meat to the characters to make me wanna cheer for Wade, Art3mis, or Aech.
I mean, what the fuck was the point of the story?
Is this a series? Is there another book that tells what happens next?
If so, that could change my entire opinion!
Well, not really. But I'd at least be willing to give book 2 a shot...

Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
October 23, 2017
Ready Player One is a Fiction/YA/Dystopian hybrid that takes place in the year 2044 where our world is suffering from global energy crisis and everyone needs a means to escape from this harsh truth. This is where OASIS, a genius MMORPG utopia created by James Halliday arrived as the solution to their need for escapism. I’d be lying to myself if I said this book isn’t something that’s written for me. The whole concept and tributes featured in this book are exactly my thoughts and hobbies of the past, some of which still persist to this day.

The plot of RPO itself is actually really simple. Before his death, Halliday leaves a will that stated, if anyone is able to solve the puzzle he hid in OASIS, that person will receive all his wealth and power. This is literally the plot and where the story began for our main character, Wade, who has devoted his life into this treasure hunt.

“You'd be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever.”

Honestly, I have two main problems with the book:

1. First, almost all problems that appeared in the book were… how do I say this? Too convenient for Wade. It’s like he’s some Gary Stu who can do literally everything that relates with not only OASIS but every software and hacking, out of nowhere.

2. The excessive details hurt the pacing a lot of times. When the plot really starts, I couldn’t put down the book but most of the time, there was way too much unnecessary repetition to the details. This made the book as something that was more written for a movie adaptation (there will be one coming in 2018 and it’s directed by Steven Spielberg so I’m hopeful for it).

Despite these problems, I still enjoy reading RPO very much and it’s because the main strength of the book lies not within its plot or characters but within the concepts and tributes to every single popular entertainment media in the 80’s and 90’s. The whole concept and world building of the book is something that resonates with me so much even though the concept itself is not actually original. If you’ve been following anime and video games like me, you’ll probably know about this franchise called “.hack'”(2002) or this popular anime called “Sword Art Online” (2012) and they’re pretty much the exact same thing as what OASIS is about. Even the way to access it via a VR consoles is the exact copy, the only differences is that .hack and SAO have more dangerous real life repercussion in playing the game. However, it’s the tributes and crossovers with every single popular media in the 80’s and 90’s that made RPO a unique experience to read.

Every single elements in RPO revolves around those tributes, this book is pretty much a utopia for geeks and nerds (don’t take this as offensive, I think geeks and nerds are awesome). Video games, anime, movies, music, movies, cultures that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s were featured here and I mean every popular one from western and eastern culture.

Look at this picture for example:

http://orig02.deviantart.net/4941/f/2... for full resolution

This is from a scene in the book and trust me, I can tell you the name of every single thing in this picture and their stories cause I watched and played all of them growing up. Mobile Suit RX-78 Gundam, Macross, Leopardon, Kurosawa from Cowboy Bebop, the list goes on and on. This picture featured only a tiny fraction of what medias were featured in the book, there are still so much more for you to find out for yourself if you decide to read it (or watch it next year when the movie come out). With the book revolving around this concept and world building, it made reading it a really fun experience and a palate cleanser from my usual “Adult Epic Fantasy” read, don’t get me wrong, it’s my favorite genre but we all need a break sometimes.

What made the book even better for me however is the theme that was explored, escapism.

“Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.”

This quote is in the book but I’m not kidding, I actually said this quote word by word back when I was in middle school (around 15 years ago). RPO provides a solution to a harsh reality and now, imagine if this solution really exists in our world and by that, I mean something as huge as OASIS. I’m almost quite sure that a lot of people, including me, would be playing that game like we’re obsessed. Mute people can speak in the game, anyone disabled can function perfectly, weak person can be strong, an introvert can be outgoing, the list goes on but most of all, you can actually make a living out of playing the game. Who wouldn’t want that?

I’ve been playing video games since I was 5 years old. Name every popular actions, FPS and RPG from Playstation 1 era until this year, I can guarantee you I’ve played almost all of them. Final Fantasy series, Suikoden, Metal Gear Solid, Wild Arms, Dark Souls, The Legend of Dragoon, Devil May Cry, Pokemon, etc or even anime, TV series and manga that I won’t mention here, the list is way too long. The point is, other than mandatory school and colleges, I spent most of my time escaping from reality with these entertainment.

Guess which one I sacrificed? Good grades. It’s not bad, I rarely study but I passed every subject with average results. Do I regret it? No, the thing is, my form of escapism shaped who I am today. In my opinion, gaming and reading is one of the best forms of entertainment to increase your sense of empathy since you experienced thousands of different lives from different worlds and circumstances. However, these hobbies do cause loneliness if you do them excessively and this, in my opinion is what the book tried to convey. Too much of anything is never good for you, even if it’s something you love.

“I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”

I faced major loneliness last year when I played video games way too much, it almost ruined my life. Gaming can be a really lonely hobby, especially once you finished a game and try to talk about it with someone. The community is too cancerous and childish, where you can’t state an opinion without getting any of them riled up. What I meant is something really simple, for example “hey, I think this is the best game I ever played” and the reply you’ll get will be something like “your gaming taste is shit.” I figured, I can’t spend my life on this too much anymore. Don’t believe me? Search on Youtube any new released games such as “Legend of Zelda” or “Horizon Zero Dawn,” look at the comment section and you’ll see more comments bashing Xbox community more than praising the game itself.

It’s one of the reason I tried reading again, starting with Mistborn back in September 2016 and oh boy my addiction to gaming decreased by a LOT. I’m much happier now since I started taking reading seriously. The main reason is this, I have people to share my experience with, in the forms of reviews or discussions. In the end true happiness lies in our world. Balance your life, to quote the Beatles, “all you need is love”, every wealth you have, every hobbies amounts to nothing if you don’t have someone to share it with and that, is what I think the book tried to convey the most to us. Everything must be in balance, besides, let’s face it, without our mundane reality, we won’t enjoy reading or playing video games that much anyway.

Overall, I had some problems with RPO but despite them, I really enjoyed reading it and I find the concept and the theme of the book something that’s really important and resonates with me. It induced a lot of nostalgia factors and again, a really great standalone and palate cleanser. Right now it’s one of the best of its kind I’ve ever read.

I would like to thank my best bookish friends, Sarah, Haifa, Lema, Mary, Celeste, Aria, Eon, TS, Tweebie, Colleen, Caleb, Melika, Melanie, Brittney, Katerina, Samir, Niki, Ivan, Orient, Layla, pretty much everyone who always liked and comments on my reviews or updates, you know who you are. There’s so much more I liked to mention but that’s impossible for me to do in this review, just know that I do remember all of you and you made my reading life much more enjoyable. Thank you very much and I hope we will continue our escapism together in the future, in the right amount of course! :)

This review can also be found on my dear friend, Niki's blog: The Obsessive Bookseller

You can also find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.8k followers
April 9, 2020

¡Es que no puedoooo! Este libro es de lo más increíble que he leído en el año, me encantó a más no poder. Todos los personajes son GENIALES y no se diga la historia, ¡desde el prólogo quedé fascinada! Y cada capítulo se iba poniendo más y más emocionante, ¡me hubieran visto leyendo los capítulos finales! Me estaba dando un ataque, demasiada emoción y suspenso para mí, ¡pero el final lo valió! Fue mejor de lo que esperaba OMG. Lo terminé ayer en la madrugada y sigo sin superarlo. Creo que no lo superaré en mucho tiempo. Hoy me desperté pensando en OASIS.

Me encantó el mundo que el autor creó, estaba tan bien construido y tan completo, que todo el tiempo pude imaginármelo, ¡y ya quisiera que OASIS existiera! Sería lo MEJOOOOR. Ay, nonono. En serio amé todo, mucho más a los 4 principales, a Morrow y a Halliday, SON MIS HÉROES.

Yo soy una chica de los 90's y tristemente entendí pocas referencias de los 80's, ¡pero eso no fue impedimento para que el libro me encantara! PERO si es el caso que naciste en los 80, ¡este es el libro para ti! No puedo imaginar lo MUCHO MÁS que me habría gustado si hubiera conocido cada canción, cada serie, cada videojuego y cada referencia mencionada en este libro.

Ay, estoy demasiado feliz, ¡me gustó mucho! En serio que el final fue perfecto, ¡Parzival, soy tu fan!

Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
June 13, 2017


Okay. Okay okay okay. So. This book, I would say, is the following mix: video games + ’80s culture + sci-fi + semi-dystopia + general nerdiness. Excluding the latter, I am not interested in any of those things.


Okay. I’m sorry. I’m trying to calm myself down enough to write a review.

Was this book perfect? No. Sometimes it was dumb, or confusing, or slow, or overly complex, or not complex enough. But it still deserves five stars. MORE THAN FIVE STARS. Immediately after finishing this review, I’ll be penning a handwritten letter to Goodreads to ask for a sixth star. Like a super-like, or what I imagine a super-like is as someone who doesn’t use Tinder and never will. I’M GETTING VERY DISTRACTED.

So in this book, it’s, like, fifty years in the future, or something. The world has gone to utter sh*t (not hard to believe, eh?) and in order to cope, the majority of people immerse themselves in a virtual-reality experience called the OASIS. It was invented by this guy, James Halliday, who just up and DIED and left the sickest technological scavenger hunt ever thought of behind. And the winner? Gets the company and TWO HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS. It’s like the darkest, most futuristic version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Though unfortunately fewer delicious descriptions of food. But still, I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. I’ll try to cool it on the caps lock.

So...y’all know I love a good setting, and this one is just amazing. There’s something about immersive video games as a setting that I just am obsessed with. I read some book in middle school that was kind of similar and it was SO GREAT. For someone who doesn’t game at all I am very into reading about it.

God, I wish I didn’t have to leave this worldddddd. Give me 11 more books in it. Wait, the author has another book, right?! IS IT SIMILAR?!!! Oh man. Okay. Sorry, I’m still just very hype.

There was a lotttt of worldbuilding. Like, a LOT a lot. Pages and pages of it and a time. And the most information-heavy passages you can imagine. I didn’t mind it, because I was so flipping fascinated by this book that, if given some sort of magical opportunity I would have moved into it in a hot Texas minute, but still. It’s not exactly seamless.

So that could kind of slow down the plot a little, but again, I NEVER MINDED ONCE. It’s a little hard to settle in, because the book will be goddamn molasses for like 50 pages and then SUDDENLY BREAKNECK SPEED EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING PEOPLE COULD DIE YOU’D BETTER READ AS FAST AS YOUR EYES CAN SKITTER ACROSS THIS TEXT BABY and then that’d be over in a dozen pages and it’d be moreeee slownesssss. But I’d read Cline’s grocery lists if they were set in the OASIS, so IT’S ALL SUNSHINE OVER HERE.

In terms of characters, we have a handful of main ones. I really, really, really, super-love our narrator, Wade. He’s wicked smart and super nerdy and knows so much about everything. I would like to curl up inside of his head for forever, please and thanks. (Especially since his life is so goddamn interesting.)

I do have some complaints, though. It’s still me.

For example, Wade is the only character I really feel any sort of way about. Except for Halliday, who I love, but he doesn’t count. He’s dead. There’s also Aech (who is fine), Daito and Shoto, I think (who are also fine), and Art3mis, who sucks, but in a semi-harmless way.

Well, except for one thing. Yes, folks, you may have guessed it: This book includes a forced, uncomfortable, unnecessary, boring ROMANCE. (Boooooo! We hate you, unnecessary romance! shouts the crowd.)

This totally deducted from my enjoyment of the book - not enough to make me not love it, obviously, but significantly still - and I just was so MAD. Why did that have to be included? We get it, nerds deserve love too. Obviously. But does the odyssey of losing his V-card need to play such a big role in Wade’s story, when everything else going on is so goddamn interesting? Ugh. So vanilla, when everything about this book was the total opposite of that. Not chocolate, though. The analogy wouldn’t track, since vanilla > chocolate.

Anyway. What else, what else...Oh yeah. One last thing. The ending lowkey sucked in comparison to the rest of the book. It was kind of choppy and rushed. A lot of loose ends were left, IMO. It makes sense, kinda, since there were SO many ends to be tied, but still. It didn’t feel concluded. I have no sense of what happened to the characters or the world.

Also, I expected more of a Moral. Like, an Aesop’s-fables type. Because this book follows a dystopian society attempting to escape from the repercussions of, well, our irresponsible actions through a video game. IMO again, but that doesn’t feel like the sickest possible solution. A few times characters will point out that the OASIS isn’t ~really life~, but no real impact is made by the end. I don’t know. I expected more.

BUT I STILL ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. No book can be perfect, and this wasn’t, but I loved it so much. I miss reading it already.

Bottom line: I don’t care WHO you are, this book is sosososo fun and great and you should read it right now. Now, I say!
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,856 followers
January 8, 2023
Clines´ love for retro games and the immense detail, wit, and the idea of integrating the games into the plot make it a piece of, sadly just one, master storytelling.

Back in the good old retro game days
Everyone who grew up in a time when those games were a part of childhood may find the novel even more amazing, as it fuses nostalgia, fictional reality, and a cyberworld. It also does this in a not too complex, hard sci fi way that usually keeps many people away from entering too exhaustive to read sci fi subgenres. To achieve that

It´s combining a cyberpunk setting with video game history crash courses
in a dystopian setting and not too many plotlines It´s readable for everyone, as said, not just for Sci-Fi enthusiasts, as it´s the case for many too sciency and info-dumpy cyberpunk novels.

Kind of going in the hardcore fan direction of Minecraft and Fortnite
It´s similar to fanfiction novels about extremely popular games like Minecraft and a predecessor to many future series that will find their fanbase in gamers, not so much in movies anymore, because the economic impact and numbers of users of games will explode even more than it already does. As exactly predicted in the novel probably under the same economic circumstances, especially in the US, not so much in the EU with Keynesian economics, but totally in many countries of the Southern hemisphere as the only save free time option in hellhole cities surrounded by dead, toxic environments.

How to combine game and reality
There is a wide range of possible variations, such as a plot set just in the game, in reality, and the game, in different versions of the game, between competing fandoms, games and gamers in real life, the game, AR, VR, alternative and parallel realities, universes, dimensions, etc. One of the most thrilling aspects of it would be to include dreams as the fourth option with the permanent insecurity if it´s the current reality, the game, another layer of reality, or a dream. And we´re not even mentioning drugs, cyborgs, and aliens in this mix.

I´m a bit jealous because future generations will have the most epic entertainment mix ever
They´re the ones who will spend thousands of hours playing games during childhood and adolescence, maybe as babies and toddlers too with special pediatric software and hardware (already playing the womb might be a bit too immersive, except its bio nanobot mother child brain implant), combining the unique experience to switch between books, games, and reality including as many elements of fiction as one wishes to be displayed or faded out by AR and VR.

Hopefully, many great sci fi series will be turned into such fully immersive, virtual worlds. The imagination to read the prodigies of the sci fi genre a second, third, and fourth time, combined with playing 8k overkills of the stories made real as online shooters, MMORPG, or just freaking silly jump and runs, makes me drool in ecstasy. Disgusting.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

Sadly the reviews of his other novels are so bad that I haven´t read them, which seems to make Player number one the one hit wonder of an author who couldn´t manage to deliver more than one milestone.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,201 reviews3,048 followers
May 25, 2021
Ready Player One (Ready Player One #1) by Ernest Cline (Author), Wil Wheaton (Narrator)

I was born before the 80s and love certain, very involved RPGs, which I dive into over and over. That seemed to be enough for me to immerse myself in the narrated version of Ready Player One. Heck, I enjoy reading about people who can do things I could never do. I could see myself getting drawn into the worlds of Oasis, finding my place in a specific area, and doing a really bad job of exercising enough and not spending enough time with family and the outdoors. But then, this world of 2044 is so different from our world now and not in a good way, despite the giant leaps in technology that the story portrays. I guess I came away from this story, so very glad that I live now, that I can go outside and spend time with plants and animals and have a life that is not the life that the main character lives.

I just jumped right into this story, with the help of Wil Wheaton's fantastic narration. Wade Watts escapes his sad, ugly present and future (not much different from the future of others and sadly maybe better than a lot of folks can hope for) by living most of his life as his avatar, in the virtual worlds that come by plugging into OASIS. Because of his obsession with the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, Wade is ready for the challenge when Halliday dies and announces that the person who can find his easter egg, in a massive game that he's created, will inherit Halliday's fortune. Halliday died several years earlier and we meet Wade when he is seventeen and finally cracks one of the first riddles. Wade, as his avatar, becomes one of the most important people in the world, with his discovery. Now he's famous, people want to kill him, be his friend, be him, and time is running out, as other top Halliday geeks are chasing the coveted easter egg. It's great fun, following Wade and his friends and now I'm looking forward to Ready Player Two. 

Published August 16, 2011
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
January 4, 2015
It was so different from anything else I've ever read and it put my knowledge of 80s movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and Monty Python to good use! Honestly, read this. Just do it.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
February 20, 2017
An interesting premise that lacks in depth and instead overstuffs itself with 80s nostalgia porn. There’s a clear demographic that Cline aims for, and certainly succeeds at since this book is overhyped, but making a bunch of tongue-in-cheek pop culture references to delight your audience doesn’t mean your story is substantially good. Also, describing a black character as having “chocolate-colored skin” and making Japanese characters bow and incessantly talk about “honor” is tactless - just because you’re trying to appeal to 80s kids doesn’t mean your writing should be as culturally incompetent as that decade.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
July 6, 2020
This was my first buddy read with the one and only, Craig, and what a pleasure this was. I’d like to thank Craig for reading this one with me. He always makes me smile and this was so much fun!

I’m not even sure where to start with my review. I was highly anticipating this book for some time after seeing so many 5 star reviews and awesome comments, but the book was just a “like” and I wasn’t overly impressed like I thought I’d be.

The story takes place in 2044 and the world is in a Grimm state. A man by the name of James Halliday has created a virtual video game world known as the OASIS which becomes an escape for people. He’s hidden something in the labyrinth that everybody wants to find, and a teen by the name of Wade wants to be the one to find it first. The person who finds the prize is promised riches and as more people come in to play, it becomes a fight to the end as the gunters hunt for the prize while making their way through game after game.

The story fell a tad short despite some action and fast paced reading. I felt like there was a lot going on, maybe too much detail even, but the best parts in the book that really held my interest were all the ’80s pop culture references. Some of my favorite movies, music, and games from the ’80s were referenced and I found myself looking up old music videos like “The Safety Dance,” a fave. Oh, the memories. ♡

The music references really took me back and as a child of the ’80s I can still remember sitting on my mom’s harvest green carpet in front of the Zenith watching them on MTV, which is nothing like what it used to be. And the games! It took me back to the days of my Atari and my Amiga Commodore: jousting for hours, and Burgertime! There were literally hundreds of references, even old Tv shows, and I almost want to rate it highly for that one reason. Sure, there were interesting parts in the book with Wade’s adventures in the OASIS and with all the competition, I continued to think it might pick up for me, but the book just kept me hanging on until the end with all the nostalgia. I was yearning for a pick me up.

I did think the story was unique and enjoyed the characters. I also thought it was very descriptive and I was extremely pleased with the ending. For me, I simply felt like the story maybe had too much added information which made me a little uncomfortable.

I’m still glad I read it and can’t wait to see the movie because the trailer looks awesome and I ♡ Tye Sheridan! 3.5***
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,565 followers
March 19, 2018
WOW !!! (Pun intended, if you what I meant ;) )

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Big Bang Theory meets TRON (raised to the nth power (TRON, I mean)).

The most clear appealing to read this novel is obviously the insane quantity of geek references, mostly to 80's era (and some of 70's too), so it is most likely that people who aren't geek (don't worry, nobody is perfect) may be feel alienated and/or not interested to read this book.

However, since "geek" is the new black these days, so maybe you would consider to give it a shot to the book. But trust me, if you didn't born in the 70s or early 80s, so being able to live all the things that were "cool" then, well, or if you weren't interested to read about "the past", well, you won't understand or enjoying several (if not all) of the references made here, that they're not the story per se, oh yes! There is a story! But maybe you won't enjoy it the same.

Therefore, I can't deny the advantage of being a geek, specially raised in the now classic time known as "The 80s", to understand almost all references and stuff that it's commented on the narrative.

However, honestly I think that even you aren't a geek per se, if you are looking for a good novel in the dystopian genre with young brave heroes battling against a powerful corporation determined to rule society, well, I am sure that you will be able to enjoy quite enough the general core of the storyline.

(While it's almost impossible that a novel can coincide with our own personal favorites of 80's and 70's, I thought to quote some of mine along the review. If you don't get them, don't worry, they're not relevant to the review itself. Just indulge me.)

I feel the need. The need for speed!

While on the novel is stated that, Wade Watts, the main character thinks that God doesn't exist and even, James Halliday, the key trigger of the story, is an atheist. I really think that religion is a strong issue in this novel. Wade a.k.a. Parzival didn't believe in God and therefore he doesn't read The Bible, BUT he believes in Halliday and he reads with passion the Anorak's Almanac, reaching the point of knowing almost anything about Halliday's life and his tastes on films, TV, music, books, etc... So, basically he changed the name of his raw human necessity of a god or a higher power in which to believe on. Even it's amusing to notice a moment where Wade calls the name of the deity in Conan's stories, since he is an "atheist", he "can't" claim that his luck was because the common perception of god. However, not matter the name that you choose, in the moment that you acknowledges that your life may be affected by the hand of a superior power, well, it's non-relevant which name you opted to use. God is God.

Another religious evolution in the story is another raw impulse in human beings... becoming a god. Halliday, with the creation of his Easter's Egg contest, he acomplishes that a whole generation (even severals of it) became obssesed with his life and his personal tastes, influencing the way of thinking and speaking of all those interested to get the ultimate prize. Wade goes to that too, since he is able to reach positions that nobody else has ever done before and he is able to taste how is like to be a god and that thousands of strangers get interested to follow his life and his tastes.

Darmok and Jalad... at Tanagra.

Any person has tastes and opinions, and most of the cases, we are sure that we are right about them, so we expressed them and in the bottom of our souls, we are convinced that we have excellent taste in things and that the rest of people should read, watch and hear all that it's of our preference, and therefore, they will become as "wise" and "illuminated" as us.

And the ambiance of this novel is almost just like how we are living now. Certainly we don't have a virtual universe so advanced as the OASIS, but internet, the social networks, blogs, forums, etc... are allowing to us to express our opinions about anything. Ironically, in the 80s, our circle of influence was absurdly limited, we barely were able to express it to our closest friends and family, but now? We can reach any human being with access to internet.

The generational gaps occur mainly because old people aren't interested to know about new suff, while young people aren't interested to know about old stuff. As simple as that. Everybody thinks that "his/her" stuff is better than the others'. It's amusing to see in this novel that a LOT of young people (in the future of 2044) are eager to learn about "old" stuff just because there is a huge prize involving money, and guess what? Many of them starting to find out how cool of that "old" stuff is. Too bad that there is have to be an incentive of money to make them to realize that. I think that I am lucky since I don't discriminate stuff for the era when it appeared. Why do I have to choose just "my" era? Why do I have to limit myself? I have "my stuff" of the generation where I grew up, but I do my best all the time to learn about stuff of before I even born and I do my best to keep up with new stuff. Only my death will set how many stuff I will be able to enjoy in my entire life. Each era has its charm and I am enjoying all of them.

Gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe – here in this great hall of justice - are the most powerful forces of good ever assembled.

In the 80s (and before), our social experiences were quite identical in our circles, we watched the same local TV shows, the same movies, etc... but now? Theathers launch multiple premieres each weekend, cable has more than 100 channels showing programming 24/7/365, publishing houses release hundred of books each month, etc... So, nowadays is almost impossible to find a single other soul watching, reading and hearing the very same stuff that we do. We'll have intersection points, several of them, but at the end, each of us, we are walking our own paths of entertainment.

Even before, we innocently thought that the "good stuff" was the same for all the rest of people. Now, we have certainty that a thing (naming book, film, TV show, song, etc...) that we love, may be hated by others, and viceversa. And that's okay. We are all different. Only we have to learn to respect the opinion of others, in the understanding that we do the same.

Keep on pushing me baby
Don't you know you drive me crazy
You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline.

Referring to the novel itself, I must point out that I found some of the challenges repetitive decreasing the excitement or reaching each of the three legendary gates. There are tests that they are basically the same just choosing a different "environment" and/or "theme".

Also, I think that the author didn't want that anyone would be able to guess the riddles, I mean, this is not like a detective mystery novel that you may not notice the clues in clear sight, but they are there, you just didn't giving them importance, no, in here, some of the riddles are solved showing knowledge of elements in the environment of the story that they are impossible for you to know its existence.

And getting back the "religious" angle in a way of speaking, there are a lot of scenes where you met a "Deus ex machina" element, where any character has a key gadget, never mentioned before, that it's perfect to solve the trouble. Not always is like that. However, I noticed enough instants like that, just to mention it.

At the end, the novel has an engaging narrative style that keeps you entertained all the way, marvelling about this extraordinary future with all its wonders and dangers.

Highly recommended.

Choose your own life, enjoy each moment of it and don't worry about others think. People of good will and true friends are going to be happy for you not matter what you do in your lives and they will respect you too.


Solution for the Alejandro's Easter Egg in this review:

Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,546 followers
July 7, 2020
It's been a long time since I've stayed up until 2 am to finish a book. I've been looking forward to finding a book to do this to me.

The world is falling apart because there is no more fuel and poverty is dramatically rising. The only escape from this is a virtual reality game called Oasis which is used by the majority of the world population in order to escape the grim reality. The game allows you to create an avatar for free and to explore different worlds (some for free, some not).You can complete different quest, earn money and experience points. The Oasis is also used for studying, babysitting and can replace almost all activities you do in real life.

When the game's creator dies he creates a quest whose winner will inherit Oasis and all the guy's huge fortune. The guy was a huge fan of the 80's pop culture and it is made clear in the quest instructions that in order to solve the quest and discover the prize - the Golden Egg - you had to know all about his obsession. Of course, a large part of the world population starts to look for the Golden egg and a new profession emerges- the gunters. Our hero is one of them. He has a very extensive knowledge of all the video games, movies, music created in 80' which help him discover clues to find the golden egg. There is also an enemy, an evil corporation that wants to take over Oasis and to charge access fees for entering the game. They capable of everything in order to fulfill their plan and do not hesitate to play dirty.

I want to mention that I do not care about the 80' at all and did not know anything about most of the movies, books and video games so thoroughly described in the book. But it did not matter. I enjoyed reading about them and I did not skip a sentence even when the hero was describing a video game for more than two pages. I actually found all the references to the 80's pop culture informative and entertaining. Although I did not become an 80' enthusiast after reading RPO, I managed to feel the author's passion about this period as clearly he put his soul into writing this novel.

It is a geeky adventure but you do not have to be a geek to appreciate the book. I am not and a I enjoyed this a lot. It can be very fast paced at times with some unpredictable twists. All in all this was pure fun.

I deducted a star because the book has quite a few cliches but as it was so entertaining they did not matter much.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews936 followers
September 22, 2021
Excelente libro, no tengo queja alguna.

La era de la información en la que vivimos está poniendo seriamente a prueba nuestras costumbres, comportamientos y cultura con la que fuimos educados. La vida de nuestros antepasados fue activa, y estar en casa casi siempre les produjo una gran incomodidad emocional. Eran personas que anhelaban visitar a sus amigos, querían moverse, viajar, explorar... realmente no les gustaba permanecer en un lugar mucho tiempo. ¿Por qué? Porque la monotonía de sus vidas los hacía sentir que todo lo nuevo, lo diferente, lo divertido y lo emocionante estaba fuera de sus hogares, y que para disfrutar de todas estas actividades necesitaban salir de allí obligatoriamente. No obstante, los años han pasado y debido a nuestro progreso tecnológico, vivimos en una época donde internet nos suministra infinidad de entretenimiento e información a cada instante, para distraer nuestro cerebro. Como nuestro cerebro ya no siente esa necesidad de «conocer algo nuevo» entonces poco a poco vamos eliminando el deseo de estar fuera de nuestra casa. Nuestro hogar es sinónimo de comodidad, bienestar, e incluso de seguridad, por lo que si todo lo tenemos en nuestra casa, ¿para qué salir a la calle y exponernos a que nos roben, a gastar energía, y a perdernos de nuestros programas favoritos que podemos observar cómodamente desde casa? Como pueden notar, son dos modos de vida completamente opuestos pero que son válidos dependiendo del tipo de personas; por lo tanto, si intentáramos elegir cuál es la mejor opción, probablemente no llegaríamos a una respuesta definitiva porque dependiendo de nuestros gustos, edad y estado emocional en el que vivimos, la respuesta cambiaría. Quizás el problema son los excesos, quizás no es bueno ni permanecer fuera de nuestro hogar todo el tiempo, ni tampoco encerrados los siete días a la semana sin salir siquiera a tomar aire. Comienzo esta reseña con estas palabras, ya que justamente Ready Player One nos presenta una crítica muy fuerte hacia la virtualidad, pero a la vez nos deja en nuestra mente la semilla de la duda: Si el mundo estuviera completamente en ruinas, contaminado, y no tuviera nada interesante que observar, ¿la vida virtual sería una salvación, o sería una condena?

La historia presentada por Ernest Cline, nos lleva al año 2044, en el que la civilización ha entrado en un estado deplorable donde los recursos principales, especialmente el petróleo, han escaseado de una forma tan drástica que la ruina y la miseria son partícipes permanentes de la sociedad en todos los sitios del mundo. Sin embargo, James Halliday, creador de videojuegos, «salvó» el mundo con la creación de una plataforma llamada Oasis —simulación virtual—, que requiere únicamente de Internet. Todas las personas pueden acceder a Oasis, y desde allí estudiar, trabajar, comunicarse entre sí, viajar a otros mundos, vender, comprar, crear negocios, etc., por lo que su creación ha ayudado muchísimo a aliviar los problemas del petróleo y demás recursos que estaban destruyendo el planeta. Es decir, Oasis se convirtió en algo indispensable para todos los habitantes de la Tierra. Pero tras la muerte de James Halliday —no estoy haciendo spoilers, así comienza la historia—, el futuro de Oasis quedará en riesgo, ya que dependiendo de la persona que quede a cargo de esta plataforma, podría cambiar el modus operandi afectando la vida de millones de personas. No obstante, Halliday sospechaba que después de su muerte se crearía el caos por obtener sus bienes, por lo que previniendo esta situación, decidió crear la búsqueda del Huevo de Pascua. Una búsqueda que comienza justo después de su muerte, y que consiste en superar las pruebas que se ocultan detrás de tres puertas; puertas que pueden estar en cualquier sitio del universo de Oasis, y que requieren de tres llaves que también están ocultas en alguna parte de ese mundo virtual. Quien quiera ser el dueño de Oasis, deberá encontrar las llaves, las puertas, superar los retos y encontrar el Huevo de Pascua.

Un argumento especialmente interesante que te atrapa desde la primera página y que te mantiene con mucha curiosidad y expectativa por lo que pueda acontecer, y más, por la gran ambientación que nos ofrece el autor. Por una parte, Ernest nos presenta un mundo virtual muy atractivo: En pocas palabras es el sueño ideal de cualquier amante de la tecnología o de los videojuegos. Un mundo que para entrar solo requiere de un visor, unos guantes, permanecer cómodo, y en el que se puede hacer lo que sea dependiendo obviamente de los créditos de los que se disponga —dinero—. Desde visitar cientos de mundos para ganar puntos de experiencia al asesinar a otros avatars, hasta tener acceso al catálogo completo de películas, canciones, videojuegos, libros, noticias, etc., que han existido a lo largo de toda la historia. Sinceramente, el mundo virtual que presenta Ernest es tan genial, que si existiera algo así en nuestra vida real, me encantaría sumirme en él y pasar cientos de horas explorando sus mundos y contenidos. Por ello, no puedo culpar a los personajes de este libro que se la pasan tanto tiempo en Oasis, porque posiblemente con mi curiosidad y mi tendencia a la adicción a los juegos, también resultaría completamente sometido ante una creación así. Por otra parte, se nos presenta el mundo real que es horrible, sin naturaleza, con muchas especies de animales extintas, con hambrunas, pobreza, etc., por lo que naturalmente el autor hace una crítica directa a la contaminación de nuestro planeta. Claro, es una distopía y podría tomarse como «normal» crear una atmósfera lúgubre y sin esperanzas, pero no hay que intentar ocultar el sol con un dedo, es una crítica directa, fuerte y sin contemplaciones de lo que ocurrirá en el futuro si seguimos por el mismo camino de la autodestrucción. Son dos polos opuestos tan bien creados, que en un hipotético futuro tan desalentador, la decisión más normal sería huir al mundo virtual, tal y como lo hacen todos los seres de este libro. Ellos no tienen la culpa del mundo que les fue entregado, ya no tienen opciones de repararlo, ¿por qué no vivir felices en su mundo virtual?

Una de las razones por las que tardé tanto en crear esta reseña, es por el tema de los personajes. Hay momentos donde debemos enfrentar nuestros demonios internos, y reconocer nuestros errores, y aunque me sienta incómodo y con vergüenza de lo que voy a declarar, me es imposible realizar esta reseña sin reconocer que, desafortunadamente, muchos defectos que presenta el personaje principal, me hicieron recordar a mí mismo cuando tenía la edad de 18 a 23 años; esto, porque sus pensamientos y comportamientos se parecen muchísimo a la persona que fui en aquel entonces. No debería sentir vergüenza de lo que fui, pero a veces hay historias que nos gustaría dejar ocultas en el pasado y en el olvido. El personaje principal es un chico llamado Wade, que pasa demasiado tiempo en Oasis, que dedica su vida a la búsqueda del Huevo de Pascua, y que está tan, pero tan aislado del mundo, que prefiere vivir la vida virtual a la vida real. Cuando él se encuentra en la virtualidad, es como una clase de «Dios» todopoderoso y muchas personas lo admiran, pero cuando está en la vida real siente muchas inseguridades consigo mismo, le duele su soledad, se tiene poca confianza y busca refugiarse permanentemente en Oasis. Es un chico adicto a la información, que le encanta adentrarse en temas nuevos y que tiene grandes habilidades para aprender, pero que se descuida a sí mismo de una manera impresionante por lo que vive con desórdenes, inmadurez y caos en todas las áreas de su vida. El libro, Ernest lo cuenta desde las dos facetas de Wade, por lo que en algunos capítulos empatizamos completamente con él por sus estrategias y genialidades de resolver acertijos en el mundo virtual, pero cuando se habla de su vida real es inevitable no sentir pena por él. Es un personaje que odia el mundo en el que vive, es incomprendido, y que tiene la ambición de lograr los objetivos más difíciles y poco prácticos de alcanzar. Me duele escribir esto, pero sentí como si el autor se hubiera basado en mí personalidad e historia, para la creación de este personaje tan urgido de amor, compañía, o un psicólogo. Cada detalle describía más y más mi comportamiento en Internet, mi suciedad, mi degradación, mi dejadez, cada detalle era un puñal para mi alma: Mi conciencia y mente me castigaron todo el tiempo. Creo que si hubiera leído esta obra en la época en la que se publicó, mis emociones y mi autoestima habrían resultado seriamente afectadas por el impacto de conocer una historia que me describía a la perfección, pero leerlo después de vivir tantos problemas emocionales me ayuda a sentirme orgulloso de lo que superé, y es por ello que he decidido exponer esta faceta que he intentado sepultar, no puedo ocultarlo por siempre, debo ser valiente. Quizás por ello, en el fondo, intento dejar un mensaje positivo en mis reseñas, ya que algunas veces una palabra, o una voz de aliento, puede ayudarnos a salir del infierno que creamos en nuestra mente. Estoy seguro de que en este momento hay infinidad de Wade’s por el mundo, atrapados en el abismo de la confusión, la depresión y la soledad. Ellos solo necesitan un poco de ayuda, en el fondo son buenas personas.

Sobre los demás personajes debo declarar que tenían similitudes con Wade en sus comportamientos, pero el autor ha logrado diferenciarlos perfectamente por sus diálogos e ideales. Son personajes que intentan sobrevivir en aquel mundo, con fuertes lazos de amistad, buen sentido del humor y un objetivo muy claro en sus vidas. Me hubiera gustado que existieran más variedad de personajes, pero es correcto el número de personajes usados en esta historia.

Personalmente, pienso que este libro es para todo público. Lo es, porque Ready Player One presenta una combinación muy interesante entre videojuego y thriller. Si has jugado alguna vez un videojuego, y es altamente probable que lo sea, cuando leas esta obra sentirás como si estuvieras jugando un videojuego. Sí, estarás leyendo, pero a la vez tu mente se interesará por resolver los acertijos, e imaginarás que tú eres quien está reclamando los equipamientos, ítems, pruebas, etc. Normalmente tomamos un videojuego, lo jugamos, lo rescatamos y lo olvidamos, pero Ready Player One nos ayuda a ser conscientes del esfuerzo y dedicación de las personas que están detrás de la creación de nuestros videojuegos favoritos: No es tan fácil programar un buen juego y que a la vez guste. Naturalmente Ernest Cline, con este libro le agradece a los creadores de sus juegos favoritos tantas horas de entretenimiento en su infancia, y por ello usa muchísimas referencias de juegos, películas, música, etc., de la época de los 80. Y aunque inicialmente asumamos que reconocer todas esas referencias es importante, con el transcurso de la lectura descubriremos que no es así, y que de hecho la historia es bastante sencilla de entender. En mi caso, entendí muchas referencias porque me gustan los juegos retro (antiguos), ya que pienso que aquellos eran más difíciles de rescatar. También Ready Player One nos invita a explorar los videojuegos antiguos, y rescatarlos sin buscar ayudas, trucos, glitches, o tutoriales por internet: Un videojuego con tutorial, simplemente no tiene sentido jugarlo. Después de finalizar esta lectura es inevitable no sentir deseos de ir a jugar en nuestras consolas favoritas.

La prosa también es para elogiar. No creo que sea fácil escribir tantas referencias de los 80, sin llegar a irritar al lector, ni tampoco creo que sea fácil presentar una crítica hacia la virtualidad, pero a la vez deleitarnos tanto con el mundo virtual que presenta. Fue una narración estupenda que altera los estados de ánimo del lector dependiendo de la circunstancia presentada: Si el libro se centra en la cacería del Huevo de Pascua, se siente adrenalina; si se centra en los lazos afectivos de los personajes, se siente amor y simpatía; si se centra en la vida real del protagonista, se siente asco por sus hábitos. Sinceramente, no esperaba que el libro estuviera tan bien narrado, pero fue una grata sorpresa que descubrí desde las primeras páginas. Muy bien trabajado.

En resumen, Ready Player One se convierte en una de mis mejores lecturas del año, y se va directo hacia mis favoritos. Es un libro muy bien trabajado en todos sus aspectos, y el cual recomiendo sin duda alguna a cualquier lector. La calificación de cinco estrellas denota mi satisfacción, las horas de entretenimiento que viví con esta historia, y todos los sentimientos que me generó. Próximo destino, Ready Player Two.
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