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
"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)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I generally dislike virtual reality SF.
I am not a teen, so teen fiction usually has to be transcendent to interest me.
I saw 10,000 ratings with an average of 4.7…and thought “how bad could it be for light summer reading?”
Ready Player One is virtual reality SF teen fiction, is not transcendent, but it majorly did not suck.
Now, I must admit, I am a geek. I owned and programmed the TRS-80, Amiga, Commodore 64, and had first-hand experience with much of the tech and geek-pop of this novel. My main annoyance with this book was the failure to give the Heathkit EC-1 it’s due (admittedly not the 80’s). Ok, Ok, I am an uber-geek. If you are an uber-geek and lived through the 80’s, you will likely appreciate this book, even if you don’t love it.
I did not love this book. It made a few geek-annoying mistakes, and was firmly in the first-kiss-goal-teen-fiction genre. The romantic tension is a first kiss, not, well, you know. This is only great fiction if you have spent WAY too much time playing video games. Yet, it is a pleasant little story with a Geekgasm of references that made it well worth the listen. I might even listen to this one again.
The narration by STNG’s Will Wheaton was spot on throughout.
This book is a mish-mash of different genres. Part treasure hunt, part trip down memory lane (if alive during the 80's, if not a new look into one of the greatest decades in history) this book will grab you and not let go.
A billionaire game designer with an obsession with the 80's decides to leave his sizable estate to whoever can follow the clues he left in the internet world he created called the Oasis that will lead the hunter to his ultimate prize. The first clue is hidden for 5 years until a young man finally gets the ball rolling...
I can't recommend this book enough for geeks or anyone that grew up in this amazing time.
This started out a lot of fun but as it went on I liked it less and less. It had a cool semi-dystopian future set-up with this really cool facebook-meets-video games-meets-virtual reality immersive secondary world which never really explored more than being a big video game. That's fine, that's the point of the book, but if something like this were ever real, it'd be so much more.
The thing that got to me was eventually the book just became a list of things from the 80's and talking about how they were "THE coolest" robot/game/character/movie.
There's no twist. Every plot development is the discovery of another obscure 80's relic that the listener has to be let in on. We dont get to discover much of anything for ourselves.
The bad guy is 2 dimensional. (Also a thinly veiled metaphor for Comcast) The dialogue gets old quick. And the whole thing is just a little too neckbeardy.
I enjoyed most of it. I couldve used a better third act, some real human dialogue and plot twist or two
Only if you actively call yourself a "gamer" or really miss the 80's
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
MY BULLET BILL THIS MONTH WAS GOING TO BE HUGE
I am going to join the 30,000+ who have given this a 4.7 rating and say this is a wonderful book. I loved it from the get go and their was not a single dull moment. I am a little old for the generation that will love this the best. In the 80's I was in my 20's, married and had my two kids. I played some of the early systems and can even remember text games, where all you had was text and you could only give simple commands. I remember the first time I saw a pong machine (not mentioned in the book). I remember Space Invaders at the bowling alley.
THE CROWD WENT WILD
I might buck the crowd just a little and say, if you did or do not play video games, then you will not enjoy this. The bigger the nerd you were or are, than the more you will enjoy this. This is mostly for the hard core nerds and not the pop scene. For instance even though MTV is mentioned and even though Michael Jackson made MTV popular, his name is never mentioned. I had heard of most of the games, but not all and I had played a few. Games such as Master of Orion and Romance of The Three Kingdoms (my favorite games) are totally ignored. So, there is a certain amount of bias in the book.
THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
The plot is a game, which is why I am sure none gamers will not like it. I loved the game within the game and thought it was very well done. I normally do not like shoot-em ups in any book, but this is so well done, that it holds your attention. There is a romance that is well done, there is suspense, some surprises, and even without the 80's references it would be a great book.
THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OG
Yea, there is also some serendipity help that takes place, especially toward the end and the main character just seems too knowledgeable at times. Watching nerdy movies is one thing, but memorizing the entire dialogue??? My wife and I did see War Games at the theater and War Games plays big in the book.
Just before this book I listened to a Scalzi book, not narrated by Wil Wheaton and I followed that up with this book, read by Wil Wheaton, but not written by Scalzi, how weird is that? Anyways Wheaton is one of my favorites and was the perfect pick for this book. He Crushered it.
A decent story but hurt a bit by the overly simplistic writing. Between the lists of X things from the 80s and the verbose descriptions of minor points the author glosses over some of the more important plot points (holes?). I'll admit there were a few times I waited in my car for a scene to play out but I was nearly always disappointed by the outcome of the big moments. Storyline suffers a bit from "chosen one" tropes but if you like games and puzzles at all I would recommend a listen. For the record I though Wheaton did a great job narrating the script, lots of emoting and decent pace but the volume changes were sometimes surprising (though usually approriate).
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).
If you're not up for a very challenging listen, you may find Ready Player One worthwhile. My eight year old son found it very interesting, and enjoyed it very much. I was less impressed, but did find myself playing along with the main characters in their hunt for the egg. I found the personal relationships significantly less interesting.
The prize of the contest, for the characters, represents an escape from dystopia, but also serves as a decent allegory for common struggles of youth. However, it seemed to me to veer too close to validating geeks; something that has already been accomplished IRL.
Will Wheaton put in a professional performance, and even seemed to have fun taking part in a production which included himself as a minor player.
All in all, I found it entertaining if unrewarding. It won't change your life, but it may serve as escapism for a few hours, much like The Oasis itself...
I would have preferred if the story had done something more with the constant references to 80's culture besides just parroting the memes and expecting us to laugh along. Some level of analysis or critique would have been appreciated over 'HEY, THE SIMPSONS WERE A THING! LAUGH AT THE THING!' This was a decade full of changes in media, some positive, some negative, and I wish the book would have explored that.
Not at all. In fact, it's only because I like Sci-Fi that I powered through the book as long as I did.
Laid-back, sarcastic,...bland? Not the kindest thing, to say, but his characters all sounded the same.
All of the list scenes, and oh, are there many. Also, the chapter where he describes his new living arrangement in Columbus. And...actually, I would have left the book in ribbons.
I wish I'd liked this more, but the whole experience felt subpar. It was an 80's movie in an audiobook form, and let's just admit that 80's movies were not most well known for their plots. The tropes come thick in this tale, and even the inversions are obnoxiously obvious. I wanted to care about the characters, and the world, but at the end of the day, the book is as trapped in its virtual reality as the main character, and it only lazily swipes at anything beyond that.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This ended being one of those titles that (if you're a techy person) turns out to be a fun listen. The narrator did an excellent job in keeping you engaged throughout the novel and the story is interesting in nature. What causes the book to lose marks for me is the unfortunate fact that I've heard this kind of storyline before and it was done better (albeit a whole darker and a bit more goary).
Had I given this title a chance before being exposed to Daemon by Daniel Suarez, this would have potentially gotten 4 or 5 stars all across the board. This is not to say it is an exact carbon copy of the book but one can't help but sense the similarities between the two as it major drawback. I do get the saying that 'imitation is the best form of flattery' and even though both books veer in different directions, if there will be such room for comparison I'd expect that Ready Player One would have improved greatly on the idea instead of seeming like a watered down version of a great 3 part series.
Now with all that being said above, the book as a stand alone title (forgetting anything else I have ever read) was intricately written, ingeniously created and (for anyone who is even remotely interested in old school video games and or 80's pop culture) just plain fun. I wasn't really a big 80's buff and I don't like old school video games that much (old school for me started at Nintendo and Gameboy, not Atari though) BUT I still came off enjoying the book, it really is hard to dislike this book. I enjoyed the idea that so much effort and research was actually put into making this book and it really did speak to the inner geek/nerd in me.
Do like Wheaton as a narrator but Cline might not be my style
Chose this book based on it very numerous and great reviews. I am a child of the 80's and it sounded great. I never did get into role playing games and this book reminded me why. I didn't expect it to be so deep into the genre.
I gave the book a few hours but eventually gave up on it.
Not my cup of tea but I did like some of the 80's references.
A central theme.
Fleshing out the characters.
Stale dialogue, contrived plot points, missed opportunities with the world he created.
I'm not really sure what "the brothers" did for the story.
This book does a great job of listing the things the author likes. These are the sort of lists that could make a cool blog post referencing all of the neat 80's trivia to doll out his fan service. Unfortunately this is a work of non-fiction, and Cline doesn't make the reader think, or engage the reader in any meaningful way. It read's kind of like a fifth grade show-and-tell where you get a lot of "hey look at this it does this and this and then when you do this it does this and I think it's really neat."
That being said the narrative does provide an interesting premise, which promises for a thrilling adventure. Unfortunately this adventure is bogged down by long winded references, contrived plot twists and even less subtle clichés. There are brief glimpses into the fictional dystopia the author has created, and ironically even though the focus is on the virtual world I felt more compelled to further explore what was actually happening in the real one.
The protagonist is a self identified expert with everything in regards to his quest. His character ark runs a pretty flat line. He goes through a lot but doesn't really respond in any realistic manner. Sure, he's a social misfit but this can't excuse the poor writing that evades any sort of response from him. Some of the most pivotal moments on his path felt rushed and left me underwhelmed.
Other characters in the story are all one dimensional. In fact some of the writing feels like the writer hasn't met people of this gender, race or age at all. Some of the dialogue is laughably bad. At times I was questioning if this was all intentional, being some sort of satire on the tv shows/films of the eighties. But nope, this is straight up how the writer interprets these people and their interactions.
If you're a child of the eighties and love video games this could be a good nostalgia trip for you. But if you are looking for that there are probably way better resources. I heard this was originally written as a screenplay and that would probably make sense. It is written rather plainly and directly. This can be a good thing, in this case it just seems to be because of a lack of verbosity or narrative ability. With the subject matter, you would expect a lot of room for discussion on the ethical and social questions the premise presents, but we never really go there.
For a younger audience, say 12-16, there could be some merit in reading Ready Player One. The romance and adventure is similar to the fair you'll find in Twilight or The Hunger Games , although it is a less focused story with less engaging characters. BUT if you are a video gamer and vampires or teenage battledomes aren't your thing, this may be for you. The book does offer a trip and at times the ride is good, just be ready to grit your teeth as you wade through the virtual dogma.
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