Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Wade Watts may live in the slums of the Stacks, but his dreams go much farther. In the near-future, the world is suffering under an energy crisis, and most of the remaining population prefers to spend its time in the virtual world of OASIS. When the creator of OASIS dies, and promises his fortune to anyone who can find his Easter egg in the game, Wade is one of the millions who sets out to find it. But the egg is well-hidden, and Wade’s going up against both the top players of the world as well as a corporation who will do anything to ensure OASIS comes under their control . . .
This is a book aimed at a very specific audience. If you like 80s pop culture and videogames (or don’t mind learning about them), this can be a lot of fun, as it’s a zany ride through movies, games, trivia, fashions, music, etc, from the 80s. The problem is that everything is SO tied up with these references that unless you lived through the 80s or otherwise engaged with its media, most of the visuals and some of the key scenes are going to fall completely flat. I enjoy gaming and know a fair bit about games, but having not seen most of the movies or TV shows or music definitely means that for me, this probably would’ve worked better as a movie, as the gaming references were the only things I could really key into.
The prose is serviceable, not strong. I liked the details of Wade’s life, as well as the other gunters he befriends (I had a particular fondness for the two Japanese guys, as well as the various nods to old anime and mecha). There was also a nice twist near the end as Wade finds out the difference between OASIS personas and real people. And it was a lot of fun to see Wade tackle the evil corporation head-on using some pretty nasty tricks to cut their legs right out from under them.
So overall, as I said before, this is going to appeal mostly to people who can remember enough of the 80s to visualize a good chunk of the book. Otherwise, if the story interests, the movie might be a better option. I rate this book Neutral.