Our next science fiction reading: _Ready Player One_

Ready Player One, alt. coverAfter energetic polling and lobbying, the votes are in for our next near-future science fiction reading.  The winner is…

…Ernst Cline’s Ready Player One (2011) (Wikipedia, Amazon, Goodreads).  Vinge’s Rainbows End tied, so I flipped a coin.  (You should all consider Vinge for the next book)

Ready Player One takes place in a near future dystopia.  It’s a plausible and lousy world, one which its inhabitants escape from via an epic computer game.  So the book draws together a bunch of interesting futures (and present) themes, including gaming, VR, inequality, surveillance, and learning

Here’s one blurb:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenager Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

If you haven’t read Ready Player One, you’re in for a treat.  If you lived through the 1980s, prepare for a nostalgia tidal wave.  If you’re too young for that, get ready for a deep dive into a stratum of American history.  Either way, it’s a fast-paced and seriously geeky trip.

You should be able to find copies pretty easily, especially since Spielberg’s working on a movie version.

I plan on kicking off the reading with a post this Monday.

Happy exploring!  And keep your audio cassette tapes handy.
Cline Ready Player One_website image

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7 Responses to Our next science fiction reading: _Ready Player One_

  1. “If you’re too young for [insert 1980s ref here]…”

    You’re making me laugh! The 1980s I was in my thirties and living in a (wonderful) commune/ seminary. While there, I took a class with Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and Harlan Ellison, which was great, but none of us knew about gaming.

    As adventurous as I am, I was never invited to a Dungeons and Dragons party, and I regret that because I’m sure I would have loved it. Had I been born closer to the 21st century, I’m sure I would have been the geekiest gamer ever, but as it is, I’ve never seen or played one. Everything I know about it comes pretty much from Bladerunner and some William Gibson stories, plus current popular culture references.

    However, I’m looking forward to learning more in this read–it’s in line after I finish the terrific “The Shepherd’s Life” by James Rebanks.

    See you in the cloud!

  2. Chris Lott says:

    I’m enjoying this just because it spurs me to read something I wouldn’t otherwise. I read this yesterday and this morning and am glad I did. It was entertaining. But I can’t decide if the significant literary/writing weaknesses are intentional and mimicking the weaknesses of the video game genre or if Cline just isn’t a very good writer while being filled with interesting ideas and very good at pandering to 80s nostalgia, which appears to me (born in 1970) to have started right around 1999. Reviews of his next book, which I’m not sure I’ll be reading anytime soon, hint at an answer…

  3. dkernohan says:

    Ready Player One feels like the novelization of a John-Hughes-in-Space-style straight-to-TV movie that I’ve never seen.

  4. Pingback: Starting to read _Ready Player One_ | Bryan Alexander

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