Demosthenes Spiropoulos

D-mo's Book Club:
Ready Player One

September 11, 2017 - Volume 3, Issue 5

I've done a lot of reading lately, and I figured I would share some choice gems that might tickle your fancy in your own reading adventure. Lot of choices to start with, but since the movie version is coming out soon, I decided to start with...

Ready Player One Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

How I came upon this book
I had a Lootcrate subscription some time back and in their "Play" themed box, along with other geeky knick knacks, came a book. A little ironic considering that "read" and "play" seldom go together. The story, though, is what made sense for the box. I read a few pages and I was in.

The gist of it
On the front of the book is this rave: "Enchanting... Willy Wonka meets The Matrix" - USA Today. That about nails it. But let me expand on that a bit (I'll try to be spoiler free).

In the near future, the world is going slightly dystopian, and everyone goes into an online universe called the Oasis (there's your Matrix element). Think of it as a MMORPG (massive multi-player online role playing game). The creator of this universe, James Halliday, in a clear parallel to Steve Jobs, passes away which triggers a contest where if anyone can find all the easter eggs he planted in the Oasis, they win/inherit ownership of the Oasis and all of his wealth. That's definitely a Willy Wonka-esque concept.

The whole book can be seen as a love letter to the video games, pop culture, and geek culture of the 1980's. Our young hero, Wade Watts, must navigate this online universe heavily influenced by the 80's, battling against friends, other easter egg hunters, and of course your standard evil corporation serving as the primary antagonist who wants the Oasis for their own nefarious desires.

My thoughts
This book is loaded - absolutely stuffed - with references and set pieces that evoke images of 80's geekdom. If you like that sort of things, this book is right in your wheelhouse. If not, it's still a worthy read (think of it as akin to a fantasy novel. Hero's quest and all that).

This is author Ernest Cline's first novel, and it is a very well-written piece. Very brisk, with the action taut, and the environment well detailed without being overbearing or bogging the pace down. As you read it, there is enough twists and turns to keep it unpredictable. You'll have a general idea of how it will play out, but getting there is where the fun lies. There is only one slow part in the book, around the 3/4 mark, where I feel the book slogs a little bit (it's also the section I felt was least plausible, and almost felt like unnecessary drama), but it doesn't derail the story in the slightest.

The verdict
If you're a nerd, this may almost be considered required reading. If you're not a nerd, this is still worthy of a read. In the neighborhood of 370 pages, it's a quick read and it's a page-turner. But bottom line, it's fun.

One a scale of 1-4 Library Cards, Ready Player One gets:

This book lit Hollywood on fire as a story that can absolutely pop on screen. However, it has been considered unfilmable due to many, many rights issues.

Enter Steven Spielberg. He has made the movie adaptation for Ready Player One. Now, I can't expect this to be a faithful adaptation (the aforementioned rights and all that), but with Cline serving as a screenwriter, I can hope that the general gist will be properly translated into the cinema. Expect many changes in details, just to make the film work, so be prepared to enjoy the book and the movie independently of each other.

For your enjoyment, here is the first teaser trailer of the movie version of Ready Player One.