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Much More Than a Look at the 1980's

  • Oct 25, 2011
The year is 2044 and the real world is a cold, depressing place. Unemployment is so high that there is a two year waiting list to work at a fast food restaurant. The environment is pretty much in a shambles, there's a severe energy crisis, famine is everywhere. The only escape is OASIS, where most of humanity spends its waking hours. OASIS is a massive virtual galaxy where your avatar can be anything you want it to be, it's a place where you can live, play, quest on any of the thousands of planets.

The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, dies and leaves his immense fortune to the person who can crack his Easter Egg. It's a hunt that generates a lot of interest, from the gunters (those that search for the egg) to the people of IOI, a corporation that will stop at nothing to control, and monetize, OASIS. However, the hunt has been on for five years and no one is close to finding the answer to the first puzzle.

Poor, but through his OASIS school and his school issued OASIS terminal, visor, and haptic gloves, Wade is able to work on the puzzle as well as to immerse himself in his favorite pastime - the 1980's. It's no mystery why he is fascinated with that decade, it was also James Halliday's favorite time. And it holds clues to the first puzzle as well as to the winning of the fortune. Wade doesn't have the money, credits, or level, to explore any of the planets in OASIS, so his chances to win the prize are fairly remote.

But then he stumbles upon the answer to the first puzzle.

In that moment, everything changes for him. The world knows his OASIS name, he's famous. But there are also factions that will stop at nothing to kill him, in OASIS and the real world. Now, Wade is a race for his life, for the future of OASIS, and for the egg at the end of the hunt.

Ready Player One is Ernest Cline's first novel and it is a real pager turner. Not just because you care about Wade and his friends, or because it has a tight, exciting plot, but also because Cline inserts so many references to the 80's that it is a joy to read. The novel will appeal to geeks and non-geeks alike. If you grew up in the 1980's, or came of age during that decade, you will be pleased with the references, from the music of Rush, to the movies of John Hughes, to the arcade games like Defender, Battlefield, and Pac-Man. These references do not detract from the story, but rather adds an interesting layer to Ready Player One. That the people of 2044 would find the 1980's so fascinating, because Halliday lived during it, adds a level of hilarity. Ready Player One is an excellent novel, one that will have you engaged until the last page is turned.

Obtained from: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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review by . October 14, 2011
In Cline's dystopian 2044, economic and environmental collapse has left a great divide between the haves and have-nots. Most of the world is a crumbling, junk-strewn place overrun with predators. Many people live in "stacks," mismatched trailers piled vertically atop one another.    No wonder 18-year-old narrator and protagonist Wade Watts, like most people, spends most of his time in a beautifully designed virtual reality called OASIS. OASIS is a magical world where everyone …
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Gregg Eldred ()
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It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011: Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline.--Chris Schluep

Guest Reviewer: Daniel H. Wilson on Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
Daniel H. Wilsonis theNew York Timesbest-selling author ofRobopocalypse.

I dare you not to fall in love with Ready Player One. And I mean head over heels in love--the way you fall for someone who is smart, feisty, and who can effortlessly finish your favorite movie lines, music lyrics, or literature quotes before they come out of your mouth.

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