Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ready Player One - a review

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline - 384 pages

Note: This review contains 80s slang and a few Internet acronyms.

I'm a little late to the 80s themed party on this one but like Zack Morris I have a damn good excuse. One of them being that I was reveling in the nostalgia that is Ready Player One. Where else am I going to read a book that references John Hughes movies, D&D, Joust, Zork, The Breakfast Club, Rush, and Wargames? Not on MTV that's, like, totally for sure.

Here's the 411: the OASIS is a huge online virtual world where you can be anyone you want and look like anyone you want and do whatever you want. People live their lives in the OASIS: they go to school there, they work there, and they have, err, Internet relations there. James Halliday is the inventor of the OASIS. He's like a nerdier version of Bill Gates but is so eccentric that he leaves his entire fortune--and control of the OASIS--to the person that can find the Easter egg he left hidden within it. Not only that but Halliday was obsessed with the 80s and now everyone is too; the answers to his clues can only be found in the movies and music and literature and games of that era.

This is where Wade Watts (known as Parzival in the OASIS) comes in. He's a student and a grunter: a person that hunts for Halliday's Easter egg. Other notable grunters include his BFF Aech, his crush Art3mis, and the evil Sorrento of the IOI. The IOI has an army of grunters who hunt specifically for the egg and serve as the bad guys of the novel.

Wade is just a po' trailer park boy from Oklahoma at first. But when he discovers the first gate the real race to find Halliday's fortune begins. Wade is ace. He's smart, he's insightful, he's funny, and he acts like a kid from the Goonies decade and not 2044 (the actual year). He's like John Cusack in Sixteen Candles. Or Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me. He's just a cool cat like Ferris Bueller. Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

Is anyone getting tired of my 80s lingo and references yet? What starts out as a quirky adventure with changing landscapes, amazing online battles, and nostalgia galore gets bogged down by the one thing it has going for it: the 80s.

Wade's adventure starts out fast paced but towards the middle of the novel the descriptions of 80s music, TV shows, video games, and movies; they start to slow down the plot and become repetitive. I didn't mind the trip back in time but sometimes the plot needs to move forward. Often times events would happen but were then interrupted by Wade talking about 80s stuff.

I understand why the public is going nuts for this book: it doesn't mention Iran, nor does it bring up Obama, Hermain Cain, health care, gas prices, Occupy Wall Street, etc. This is escapism fiction. This book comes in the form of John Candy flipping pancakes for Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck. It's a look back at a nicer decade and a look forward to the hopes of escaping the current one. It just could of been done better.

Favorite line:

I tend to ramble in real time. When I have to type out everything I want to say, I come off as less of a flibbertigibbet.

Reminded me of:

Care Bears. It's cute but I need to get back to reality.


  1. I loved it.

    My favorite read of 2011. maybe not the best book, but may favorite read. Wil Wheaton's performance of the AudioBook was also worthwhile.

    Maycee (Fishing Lodge Alaska)

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