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'm 38, and a geek, so I'm probably the target audience for this book, and I loved it unashamedly. I downloaded it to my droid and took it everywhere I went over 3 days, listening whenever I had a bit of time to spare. The references come thick and fast, but there were few I couldn't place. It was a little like Snow Crash meets Neuromancer meets Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which isn't too surprising, as it both draws on and references all three. In addition, Will Wheaton's narration is great. I enjoyed listening to him narrate as much as I enjoyed the story itself.
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.
I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. There is a fascinating combination of things happening in this story; it's based in a dystopian-future but it's also kind of a sci-fi mystery and love story; plus all the 80's trivia you could want.
I didn't expect a lot regarding the narration when I first started listening to this book, but Wil Wheaton did an amazing job. I liked him more and more as I continued to listen.
I thought this book was really fun to listen to, I think that's the most important part of my review.
Wil Wheaton gave an amazing performance! Before this book, I wasn't even aware that he was in the business of narrating, but he was so good that I would happily listen to him again anytime. I believe it's now time to rescind that standing order issued by Captain Jean Luc Picard (Shut up, Wessley!) .
This book was my guiltless, guilty pleasure. There were so many unabashed references from just about every great sci-fi and video game you can think of, but the true pleasure came from the fact that it was also wonderfully written. Mr. Cline managed to construct an engaging vision of a near-future world where the lines between real and virtual are starting to blur.If you're a long time Science Fiction and Video Game fan, like myself, you would be doing yourself a diservice by not reading this book. It was a truely gratifying experience from start to finish and was further brought to life by the excellent narrating of Wil Wheaton.
This story is as fluffy and light as a John Hughes movie. Wil Wheaton as the narrator is an absolute riot. Some of the more intellectually compelling aspects of virtual reality impinging on reality take second seat to the non-stop eighties gaming reference orgy which is this book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
The premise behind this book was actually a great idea, which is what attracted me to it in the first place. A slightly dystopian future in which the majority of the world is addicted to an online role playing game? Not a bad idea.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the writing. It almost feels like this book's target audience is intended to be young teens despite the fact that it is marketed towards adults.
The dialogue is horrible. And that is putting it nicely. I cringed every time there was an exchange between two characters.
I would have PROBABLY loved this novel when I was thirteen but it SHOULD NOT be marketed as adult fiction...
3.92 / 10.00
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.
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.
After hearing so many positive reviews of this book I was excited to get the chance to read it. However, I was left disappointed. Nerd culture references failed to redeem the weak plot. Occasionally, we saw strong moments of action and characterization. However, one has to sit through hours of lists of 80s musicians, art, and games. Rather than organic exploration of these genres, the author drones on listing every single item of information on a subject that could be had systematically, making the whole experience extremely forced rather than nostalgic.
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.
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