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Ready Player One | [Ernest Cline]

Ready Player One

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Did you love the ‘80s? Because Ernest Cline’s sci-fi video game epic sure does. Chock full of references to almost every facet of pop culture from that decade, Ready Player One is an excellent example of a hero’s journey that uses a treasure-hunting narrative to frame the concepts of celebrity, privacy, and control, and posits the question, “What is reality?” Narrator Wil Wheaton does a superb job (as always), and his sci-fi background lends his performance a lot of credibility as computer-nerd-turned-superstar Wade Watts (yes, the familiar alliteration is intentional). —Chris

Publisher's Summary

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2011 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Ready Player One is the ultimate lottery ticket." (New York Daily News)

“An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.” (Booklist)

"This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans… sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (10064 )
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  •  
    P. Vegdahl Santa Barbara, CA 04-11-14
    P. Vegdahl Santa Barbara, CA 04-11-14
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    "Very fun book!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ready Player One to be better than the print version?

    You can tell that Wil Wheaton was enjoying himself while performing "Ready Player One," and that made an already enjoyable book even more fun.


    What other book might you compare Ready Player One to and why?

    This book is a love letter to geek culture, particularly 80's video game culture.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rock Conner Dallas, GA 04-10-14
    Rock Conner Dallas, GA 04-10-14 Member Since 2011
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    "I really iked it!"

    Good story. Up-all-night good. I stayed past with this one long past midnight.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory Virginia Beach, VA, United States 04-09-14
    Gregory Virginia Beach, VA, United States 04-09-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Surprisingly Good Listen"
    Would you listen to Ready Player One again? Why?

    If you grew up in the 80's you will want to listen to this book multiple times. Not only was it a surprisingly good listen, but many of the references to 80's culture made me somewhat nostalgic.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed out loud quite a few times, usually when something from the 80's was mentioned that I remembered or it was something that I did when I was a kid.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lincoln Florida 04-05-14
    Lincoln Florida 04-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    "LATE 70s-EARLY 80s KIDs MUST READ!"
    Would you listen to Ready Player One again? Why?

    I have listened to it 3 times already


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ready Player One?

    Everything. The bits of late 70s early 80s nostalgia popping up everywhere in the book make you smile like an idiot every 45 seconds or so


    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no..but he did an amazing job!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    If you grew up playing Atari, Dungeons and Dragons and reading sci fi novels...see this movie!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 04-02-14
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 04-02-14 Member Since 2011

    Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What are you waiting for read this book"
    Where does Ready Player One rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoyed this book. The premise was very inventive and I feel it could appeal to a wide variety of people. Actually I think it should be required reading in High Schools so teenagers can A understand the 80s and B see where we are headed. The more we connect the less we connect.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think H. His character treated people with respect. Their is more to that but I would be spoiling to go into more detail.


    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I am a huge John Scalzi fan so yes I have listened to Will Wheaton before. Actually Will Wheaton is pretty amazing. I was thinking when I was listening what a great actor he is. He really embodies the part of Artemis. But he always embodies his characters. Sometimes with Scalzi it is kind of camp to have Wil Wheaton narrating so I think his talent goes unnoticed. Although, I knew,when he read a short story by Scalzi in Rip Off which was outside the usual Scalzi, that Wil will rise to the challenge.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did listen to it a lot and got through it relatively fast. It was exciting when he would get close and then suffer setbacks so it definitely kept you interested but it was 15 hours long so no I didn't listen in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was on my wish list for a long time. It was reviewed by several people I am following. For the life of me I don't know why I took so long to listen to it. It was great.My advice would be do not pass go Do not Collect $200 just Ready Player One Go

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra Gainesville, VA, United States 02-03-14
    Alexandra Gainesville, VA, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Destined for High School Reading Lists"

    My biggest criticism of Ready Player One is that it may be too entertaining for high school teachers to be able to stomach putting it on their reading lists, despite the fact it contains at least as much material worthy of discussion as any of the crap I had to dissect at that age (The Tin Flute, anyone? Right- no one). I would go so far as to call it The Count of Monte Cristo of the early 21st century- a kickass adventure story with philosophical subtext. I liked it so much I gave it to my brother for Christmas, and as far as I know he hasn't read fiction without pictures in this millennium. Although I myself am an RPG gamer and therefore could relate very much to the main character, I have non-gaming female friends who have been just as enthusiastic about RP1- in fact, one of them convinced me to read it in the first place. I can't WAIT for this to be a movie, but I know that regardless, I'll listen to Wil Wheaton's version many more times. Highly recommended!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Portland, OR 02-02-14
    Matt Portland, OR 02-02-14

    SciFi/Fantasy and others

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    "The 80's are back!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you love anything 80's this book will enthrall you. Its fast pace makes sure you don't want to stop listening and very sad when its over.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ready Player One?

    Wil Wheaton mentioning himself


    What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I cant imagine finding a more appropriate reader for this book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Missoula, MT, United States 01-30-14
    Alexander Missoula, MT, United States 01-30-14
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    "A Hilarious and fun gateway back to the 1980's"
    Any additional comments?



    I really enjoyed "Ready, Player One", but I know I am totally a ready-made audience for this one. It's basically Young Adult fiction but wrapped up in the pop culture and video game mania of balding, paunchy, middle management guys in their 30's and 40's who could not escape their nostalgia for the 1980's if they tried. If you are part of that aforementioned demographic, you will love the intensive self recognition in all that Parzival and his cadre of online friends nerd out about. Even if you are not part of that demographic, and probably much younger, this book is well timed for the millenial children of 1980's geeks. 30 and 40 something parents can actually enjoy this one together with their kids and fill in the generational gaps of knowledge for the younger set. Think of the book as an opportunity to share some of your own childhood with your children. You might even get some cool points from them.

    References to old episodes of Riptide? Check.

    Erin Gray (Yes, that’s Wilma from Buck Rogers; juvenile me is soooo aroused) in all her glorious Jayne Jetson sex appeal. Check.

    Ultraman battles against Voltron and Mechagodzilla? Check.

    The breath and depth of Cline's rabbit hole burrows deep into the 1980's in a way that is so encyclopedic that it is mind bending. I found myself constantly going, "Holy sh*t! I remember that! Man, I haven't thought about that in years!" If you're like me, you will enjoy that sort of thing and have an urge to bump fists with Cline himself or with Parzival his stand-in character and protagonist of the novel. Cline strings together one nostalgia nugget after another leading us like hansel and gretel to some ultimate candy house (to which Cline's novel does, in my opinion, deliver). Critics will definitely claim that all he does is take a boy meets girl story and ride the entire adventure on an ultra geek Olympics. Which is ultimately true. Through the tests and trials on the quest to find Halliday’s Egg and become the sole owner and arbiter of the Oasis and all its wealth--relationships blossom and break, betrayals happen, trusts may or may not be restored and healed.

    But it all happens online. It all happens in a future world that has gone to total shit under the crushing weight of depleted energy sources, nuclear wars, pollution everywhere, and any areas outside urban centers in Middle America now collapsed into lawless Beyond-Thunderdome wastelands full of marauding bands of road warriors. In this dystopia, the virtual world, known as the Oasis, is the preferred life worth living by most of humanity. Not too different from our world today. And for the world of Ready, Player One, their nostalgia and yearning for a Golden Age looks back to the 1980's, to the birth of Atari games, computers, and Thundar the Barbarian cartoons. The Oasis is populated with thousands of digital worlds that replicate the 1980's youth of its builder, James Halliday. As his last will and testament, Halliday created a contest in which the winner would become the controller and owner of the OASIS and all the wealth and assets tied to it. Thus begins the hunt for Halliday's Egg inspiring thousands of online egg-hunters known as gunters to devote their lives to finding Halliday's egg. However, the quest for Halliday's Egg also draws the IOI corporation into the contest hoping to use the contest as a loop hole hostile takeover and to fully monetize the OASIS. Thus the stage is set. Five years after Halliday's Egg contest was begun absolutely no progress has been made until a young Avatar named Parzival--in non-digital life, Wade Owen Watts, a poor orphan living in "the stacks" outside Oklahoma City--discovers the first key and unlocks the first gate. All hell breaks loose as the private armies of IOI and thousands of Gunter clans rush to the planet Ludus to battle for their own copies of the key. Not only is Parzival's digital Avatar in danger, but also his actual human life is being targeted by the IOI corporation who have attempted to assassinate him and other challengers to the contest. Danger lurks online and offline as Parzival and his friends and rivals known as "The Top Five" evade and battle the forces of IOI and compete against each other for Halliday's egg.

    Wil Wheaton's performance perfectly matches the narrative tones and speech patterns of a male highschool senior video game geek. In the occasional moments of swear words or characters expressing sarcasm, Wheaton captures the teen inflections of voice pretty convincingly.

    I had so much fun listening to Ready, Player One that I am actually listening to it a second time and having an even richer experience of the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH 01-27-14
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH 01-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved every hour!"

    A good friend of mine suggested this to me several months ago, and boy am I kicking myself for waiting so long. Story was light enough to be able to listen while working on data entry at work, HOWEVER be careful of your audience because if you are a nerd and remember the 80's you WILL find yourself smiling and laughing periodically throughout the story.

    If only there were more books out by this author right now!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meredith CA 01-27-14
    Meredith CA 01-27-14 Member Since 2006

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Even my kids loved it!"
    What made the experience of listening to Ready Player One the most enjoyable?

    As a child of the 80's the references made wonderful memories pop up of high school and life in general from that time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Cline makes the relationships between the characters come alive even though they never actually meet until the very end.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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