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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 (10085 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brian United States 09-19-11
    Brian United States 09-19-11 Member Since 2010

    Sci Fi Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One my new favorite books of all time"

    This book came out of nowhere and it blew me away. Such a wonderful story. If you love the 80s and science fiction you will love this. Wil Wheaton is extraordinary. I have listened to 100s of audiobooks and this is one of my favorites. Please make this into a movie!

    21 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Cumberland, MD, United States 09-05-11
    Howard Cumberland, MD, United States 09-05-11 Member Since 2010

    When I like something I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll let you know that too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    319
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    "Terrific Experience"

    Great story, great narration. Enjoyable from beginning to end. Some of the 80's references are a little annoying and maybe obscure, but it all combines into a very savory and satisfying experience. Now that I finished this review I can start it again from the beginning. Absolutely credit worthy.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly York, PA, United States 10-07-11
    Kelly York, PA, United States 10-07-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "The best thing I have ever downloaded from Audible"

    It deserves more than 5 stars! The story is out of this world awesome. If you even sorta like dorky things or have an 80's fixation, this is the story for you. Loved it! And Will Wheaton is a great narrator, who would have known? This guy needs to write more books! Do yourself a favor, download this!

    18 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Professor United States 11-27-12
    Professor United States 11-27-12

    1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't judge a book by its cover"

    BECAUSE OF IT'S COVER AND STRANGE SUMMARY I'VE BEEN AVOIDING THIS BOOK FOR YEARS UP UNTIL THE MOMENT i DECIDED TO TRY THE FIRST CHAPTER, AND IT IMMEDIATELY RUSHED IT'S WAY ON MY TOP SHELF

    ADVERTISER'S COVER AND PUBLISHERS SUMMARY ARE THE WORST I SEEN FOR LONG WHILE,AND YET THE BOOK IS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY. OVER THE YEARS I READ HUNDREDS OF SCI FI BOOKS AND I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPARE IT TO.

    THE ORIGINALITY IS HARD TO COME BY IN NOWADAYS

    PS
    I was very disappointed when I found out that the author has only one book published.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-07-12
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-07-12 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Totally endearing, if you’re the right audience"

    If there's a target demographic for this book, it's people like me. I was a kid in the 1980s and an unrepentant geek who loved video games, sci-fi and fantasy novels, movies, and graphic novels. Not only that, but I became a professional videogame developer as an adult.

    I was skeptical that a story centered around 80s pop culture would be anything but gimmicky. And don't get me wrong, it *is* gimmicky -- however, Ready Player One is also delightful, with endearing characters, a believably alive virtual reality world, and sinister corporate bad guys. Like one of those underdog-nerd-against-the-world 80s movies, with its thrills, setbacks, and montage-ready sequences, it calls for a big bowl of buttery popcorn. One the quest to solve billionaire James Halliday's final challenge got underway, I was hooked.

    You probably *won’t* have fun if you aren’t a geek or if you belong to my parents’ generation. This book’s a love letter for Gen-X readers who grew up with Star Wars, anime, Firefly, Atari, dial-up modems, cyberpunk, the band Rush, Zork, and John Hughes movies -- and for younger ones who grew up with chat rooms, World of Warcraft, and online friendships, but feel a connection to their geek heritage.

    The novel’s not all sugary confection. There’s something plausible and frightening about Cline’s grim vision of the future (energy crisis, perma-Recession, corporate indenturement), which is what gives the idea of a global obsession with shiny escapist worlds, including those from a happier past, a touch of earnest meaning. The way the world’s going now, I would be surprised if people in 2044 *didn’t* live their lives inside something like OASIS. While I don't imagine that pre-millenial pop culture will be too many people's fixation, surely some of it will still be informing whatever does exist.

    This might be one of those books that requires the audio version for the full experience. Will Wheaton’s fanboyish exuberance is a perfect fit for the protagonist (and this might be the first time I’ve heard an audiobook narrator get to read a line referring to himself -- as an important political figure of the future, nonetheless).

    Absolutely my favorite piece of pleasure reading this year.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachelle Dundurn, SK, Canada 08-28-11
    Rachelle Dundurn, SK, Canada 08-28-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Full of win!"

    This book is a great listen, especially for those of us who were teens in the '80's, but the pop culture references are well-explained enough so that it won't exclude the YA crowd. It's definitely geared more towards the geeky male, rather than the geeky female, but it's fun enough that it doesn't matter.

    The book is a little predictable, but in the best possible way. I absolutely recommend it.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauralyn United States 08-26-11
    Lauralyn United States 08-26-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could not have been more fun!"

    I loved this character! I was reluctant to try something that sounded so geek-based, but I was hooked by all the throwbacks to the 80's. I could not help loving this boy and wanting him to come out on top. The futuristic setting was totally believable, human negligence taking it's natural course paired with our dependence on technology. Don't let the setting get in your way! It's not sci-fi in the traditional sense.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wendy NJ 08-23-11
    wendy NJ 08-23-11 Member Since 2004

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wonderful story"

    This was one of the best sci fi stories to be released so far this year.

    The best part about this book might be the characters, who are really well formed and wonderful. Aech, Wade and Art3mis are all delightful & believable, and the minor characters manage to also be really believable and memorable.

    The whole story went by far too quickly, I hope we see more from this author!

    15 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 04-29-12
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 04-29-12 Member Since 2008

    Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you enjoy playing MMOs you will love this book."

    Anyone who has ever taken on another persona while playing an online game or visited a virtual world on their computer will identify with this book. MMO players in particular have likely experienced the duality of the real world versus their virtual world and know the perils of living in both.

    In Ready Player One technology has taken online gaming (and online experiences in general) to the next level while real life society has taken a few steps backwards. This bleak future, where many people prefer their virtual personas to their real lives, becomes the stage for the greatest easter egg hunt of all time. The creator of the Oasis (the online universe that most of the earth is addicted to) has died and left behind clues that lead to the ultimate prize: his vast fortune and control of the Oasis itself. The quest for the egg becomes a battle of David vs Goliath as millions of people try to solve the puzzle before an evil corporation bent on assuming control of the Oasis bullies their way to the solution.

    Although I am not a big fan of Wil Wheaton, he is a good match for this material and he does well as the narrator. Put on your haptic suit and log into the Oasis as soon as you can.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Newton, MA, United States 08-29-11
    Shannon Newton, MA, United States 08-29-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I pray that they make this into a movie one day..."

    ...although they will get crushed on licensing fees from all of the references to 80's movies, video games and music. If you are even a little bit of a geek you will love this. If you grew up in the 80's you will love this. If like a story about the underdog vs the evil giant then you will love this. I like all three of those things and that made this story "totally rad". It's not as good as Daemon (if you're looking for other suggestions), but it was more than worth the credit. I went out of my way to walk my dog so I could keep listening to the story.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
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