In 2011, Ernest Cline’s debut novel hit the shelves full-force. After a massive bidding war with publishers, it found a home at Random House and quickly rose to be a bestseller. This Science Fiction dystopia resonates with readers immensely, because it has something for everyone, from environmental repercussions and opulent consumerism, to pop-culture, nostalgia and romance. Set in a futuristic dystopia, we see our world through a worst-case-scenario, unrecognizable filter. The world over is dilapidated and desolate thanks to the depletion of fossil fuels, amidst the growing strife in social classes, rampant poverty and social imbalance. People now take solace in a massive multiplayer online simulation platform where life becomes a little more bearable, called “The Oasis”— created by the enigmatic James Halliday, AKA Anorak.
Throughout the story we see the world unfold through our hero’s eyes, Wade Watts, AKA “Parzaval.” Users of Oasis give their Avatars a name, often keeping themselves very distant from their real-life personas, concealing their true identity at all costs. Parzival is just like most users in the Oasis — he’s a “gunter,” bent on winning the only competition that matters: The Hunt. When James Halliday abruptly died, he left behind a “video will” and a book — Anorak’s Almanac — detailing a quest for Oasis users. The Hunt encouraged gunters to scan the wide universe in the Oasis in search of three keys — copper, jade, and crystal — and their accompanying gates. Whatever user was first to collect the keys, and clear the three gates, would inherit Halliday’s massive fortune, and stock in GSS, his company which owns Oasis.
So, naturally, we follow Parzaval along his quest to rise from rags to riches, in hopes of being the first to complete the tasks at hand, and change his life for the better. Along the way, we meet his friends and enemies, and see how corporations threaten to take over what we love most. We also reminisce about the 80’s quite a bit, as Halliday’s clues are based in 80’s pop culture — the era he grew up in, and missed the most. In between the action of the hunt, we see the nuances of generational differences, especially where technology and privilege are concerned. The adults in this world grew up with everything we know and love today, with ample opportunity in life. As the world crumbled around them, they were forced into this dystopia, learning a new way to live. For Wade, and his generation, it’s all they’ve ever known. As a reader, it makes you re-evaluate what you have, what you need and what you can live without.
Did I mention love? Ah, yes, sweet technologically based love. Wade’s relationships along the way, encourage us to look at our own digital footprints and relationships we’ve forged. In our very techno savvy world, we are apt to meet friends and lovers online; The Oasis takes this to a whole new level. Does an online relationship make that love less meaningful? Is it enough? What happens when you meet in real life? There’s certainly a lot to think about there!.
Ready Player One is for everyone, so long as you love Sci-Fi, adventure, the 80’s and humor. This book packs in a lot of action, emotion, laughs and nostalgia between the pages, and I’m so there for it. It’s recently been announced that there is a sequel in the works, and I have to say: I’m ready to reboot!
The film adaptation of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg, comes out March 30th, 2018. Read the book NOW to get ready for this amazing adaptation!
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Originally published on GoRead.com
Morgan Messick is a Pop-Culture fanatic, Podcast Host, and total #BookBabe living in Austin, TX with her Husband and little dog Scoop. She aspires to grow her #TBR pile, do all of the hiking, travel as often as possible and make a joke at every turn. She utilizes laughter and yoga for daily medicine, thinks that Harry Potter is magic for all ages, and truly believes Die Hard is a great Christmas movie (SO DEAL WITH IT.) Catch her musings here, and around the web — links in the “about” page!