I ran into one of those crazy guys at The Legendarium Podcast last week and he was reading Ernest Cline's Ready Player One in preparation of an upcoming episode. I also noticed the book was getting a lot of love on Facebook from many of my friends and news hit recently that it will be made into a movie.
I thought there might be something to this one, so I checked it out from the library and finished it today.
Turns out there's more than just "something" to this one--there's a lot to this one. It's quite a tale.
The elevator pitch: the story is set in the 2040s America. The world's most famous video game programmer died and hid an Easter Egg somewhere in his most famous game called the Oasis. It's now up for grabs for anyone and everyone to find it.
But to say that's all the story's about is like saying Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol is about an old man who is frightened by a door knocker. Cline not only puts the story, but everyone who reads it smack dab into the 1980s, complete with so many pop culture references, it is very hard to keep up with them all. You may think you know everything about the decade that was the 1980s (as I did having graduated high school, completed a church mission and began college in the 1980s...), but trust me, Cline knows more, or has researched it more. You name it, music, art, literature, TV, movies--there's references to all of it! How Cline intertwines a story set in the mid-twenty-first century with a tidal wave of 80s trivia is brilliant! It's almost too much at times...almost.
There was one thing that did bother me about the story is Cline's antagonist, an evil, power-sucking corporation known at Innovative Online Industries. This corporate interest has almost unlimited power and they want to take over and control the Oasis, which is basically, the internet. For me, this better defines the government, not a corporation. After all, governments threaten, blackmail and kill those in its way. Maybe corporations will, by the 2040s do the same thing, too, but governments are doing all those things right now.
This book will definitely appeal to geeks, videogamers, fans of 1980s pop culture and dystopia. And if you like those things, reading this book is like getting a literary drink from a fire hose.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/9969571-ready-player-one