It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And, like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who died with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late 20th century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
Narrator Wil Wheaton is an American actor and writer best known for his role as Wesley Crusher in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for playing Gordie Lachance in the film Stand By Me. More recently, he has appeared in several episodes of the TV series The Big Bang Theory as himself.
©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
This was an incredible book, with both the writing and performance being top-class. I have never read a book much like this, yet I was deeply thrown into the story and really felt for the characters and the world around them.
I would recommend this book to those of you have ever had any interest in computing, retro gaming and retro film. It really is a 80s pop-culture book with an incredible setting and back story.
To be honest, I was upset when the book ended. The only question that came to my mind was: Where is the sequel?!
Hopefully one might be made soon... I know Ernest Cline hasn't ruled it out yet!
I don't think I would have chosen this book had it not been a recommendation from someone after I had read Andy Weir's 'The Martian'. While the setting is very different the heart of the story is similar with the main character struggling to solve problems.
Wil Wheaton gave a fantastic performance and while at the start I associated his voice as his own I quickly became to hear it as the characters'.
Love the book, so here are the pros and cons that I experienced, starting off with the target audience:
• Gamers and anyone loving the older era thereof
• Slightly younger audience (late teens, early twenties), but definitely enjoyable by an older audience as well.
• Geeky references - games, music, movies - it was a delight getting a glimpse the origin of games as we know them today.
• Suspense. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat as you root for the main character, waiting to see if his daring plans play out successfully.
• Wil Wheaton! This is my first audio book, but absolutely loved his performance.
• Twists, because several of them were quite obvious.
Summary: loved the book, loved the references, loved the performance. Despite being able to predict several events, the book still kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear what would happen next.
I was born in 1972 - at least half to 3/4 of the references, pop culture, computer games, coin ops, movies, home computers and songs are memories for me - this was a well researched well written compelling journey. A must read for anyone who remembers Atari computers, coin op video games, and 80's movies.
Excellent story for teenagers and people that grew up in the 80's. Filled to the brim with pop culture references. Fantastic story with fantastic storytelling by Wil Wheaton.
The author went to some length to extrapolate current trends in it usage, privacy and cyber centric lifestyles. It started out as an it version of Charlie and the chocolate factory but took a twist as the main character's friends became more complicated. It has become one of my favourite books. Thank you for the good read.
First, this is not only for gamers although the title might suggest that way. It is true that knowledge about games and stuff enjoyed by geeks would make this a must read. The story is well written and well narrated by Wil Wheaton. One of the few books I had a marathon run listening.
"Ready Reader One"
This is something of a gamer geek novel - so I preface all my views with the caveat that like Neal Stevenson's REAMDE it may appeal to those, like me, of a certain sub-culture. The story-line itself is not so remarkable, civilization in deep decline in the next few decades yada yada. What makes this story interesting is the alternative that the majority of the population turn to in order to escape and a challenge that arises therein.
It is fast paced story that never seemed to drag. It has a great 1980's sub-plot if you have fond memories of early games, TV, books, film and computers. I found the characters and their gamer-style issues with RL (real-life) accurate and engaging. I found myself looking forward to the drive to work in the mornings (when I get to listen to my audiobooks) which doesn't often happen to me!
The narration by Wil Wheaton (of ST:TNG fame and avid gamer) is excellent, a really good choice and nice kind of twist as you will find out if you choose to listen.
All in all I consider this one of my best ever spontaneous buys on Audible after being a member for many years - highly recommended.
"Wheaton: epic, storyconcept: great, author: medium"
The narration was tip-top as expected. The concept was endlessly fun, but the book needed some serious revisions and work. Feels like they published the first draft.
"Are you ready to begin?"
First and foremost, Wil Wheaton is a first-class narrator - he has absolutely the most perfect voice for audiobooks (not too bassy, not too nasally) and doesn't do too badly with accents either (unlike some other narrators which have caused me to return books!). Secondly, the world of Ready Player One is - as noted in the novel - everything any reader or gamer has ever dreamed of: essentially a 'holodeck' experience. It is the book's exploration of the pros and cons of this system that draws you in - in Star Trek we see people using the holodecks for recreation, essentially living out episodes in an ongoing drama; but as Ready Player One points out....why would you ever leave?
I have desperately been searching for something else as engaging and exciting as RPO since I finished reading! My recommendations would probably be to read other books which effectively create alternative worlds - perhaps 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness, 'Peter and Max' by Bill Willingham and 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth.
As I mention above, Wil is an excellent reader. He has an obvious love for the subject matter and, having been an actor on Star Trek 'The Next Generation' and a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s, has a strong familiarity with many of the pop culture references. Wheaton sounds like he is having an absolute ball with this reading!
'What would you sacrifice to win the ultimate prize?'
Read (.....listen to). This. Book.
If you were born around 1960-1975 you will love the nostalgia in this book. A light SciFi romp, easy listening, but with lots to recomend it. Cline researched the history of video games and infact PS's like a true Geek! but managed to carry the storyline along without loosing my interest. Even a reminder of the great Rush LP 2012. Lighten up for a while, give it a go, you'll be glad you did :)
"Great fun for geeks and children of the 80s"
Wil Wheaton is the perfect narrator for this fun adventure story. I'm not a gamer but enjoyed the cultural references immensely particularly the music. I found the characters believeable and endearing and was even a little moved by a revelation about one of them towards the end. I can really see this as a film and have been mentally casting ever since.
It's a light read but I was completely gripped to the extent of going for long walks so that I could justify binge listening!
On paper, I was not supposed to like this book. It's about a teenager who spends his entire life in an online virtual reality world playing a quest (reminds me of my weekly challenge to get my kids off their i-stuff and outside for a bit!) BUT - this story is actually all about paying homage to the 80s, plus a bit of rom-com for good measure!
Absolutely loved it!! Once I started, I couldn't put it down. If you're into your 40's/50's and enjoy a bit of '80s nostalgia, then this one's not to be missed!
"Ready Player Repeat"
I really thought I’d like this. It is a fun ride for the most part, its pace is lightning quick, there are twists and turns. It has interesting things going on, and the premise is excellent.
But probably because of its incredulous pace, it cuts corners, and it does so very often. Narratively I feel it often takes the easy way out, marching forward on a predestined path that effectively kills off any suspense it would have needed to keep me invested in it. In fact, if one needs a good example of the use of deus ex machina in modern fiction, this is an excellent place to find many such examples. Unfortunately it’s used so often it becomes tiring, and indeed sucks the life out of the narrative. What do I care anymore what happens next because I know it will be resolved in such and such a way sooner rather than later? (The infiltration storyline injects a great deal of needed energy into the narrative, but it too resolves too easily to my taste)
But it is funky, alright. Just enough for me to actually try out ”Armada”, regardless of the abundant negative reviews that say that it is the disappointing novel, not this one. I’m about 70% through, and I have to say it is pretty the same old, same old. But something about Cline’s writing moves so relentlessly forward that I’m still going to finish it, no matter what.
Wheaton narrates with ease, and while his voice and accent doesn’t do it for me, sorry to say, it sounds like he’s having fun with the material, and it’s no wonder many applaud his performance.
"total nerd fest"
You have to be a geek to like this one! Narration is excellent! This isn't anything new, but is very nicely put together.
"Second Life: Fanboy edition"
I'd have to be thoroughly convinced that it was better than this one.
Deus ex machina. Nothing unexpected. No subtlety; just unabashed everyone-gets-everything-they-want. In other words there was no real feeling of threat or risk.
Very mildly annoying.
I wouldn't want to this see this made into a movie. Hollywood generally struggles to make people sitting in rooms logged into the internet look exciting or thrilling.
It was a solid story, I listened to the whole thing, and it was a semi interesting premise. That said there is nothing original in this story - it was the answer to the question of "what would happen if the matrix met Second Life?" - and played out a bit like a fanboy's wet dream. Lonely gamer finds justification for being a lonely gamer.
"was ok, if a bit predictable"
the performance is solid, but the whole story was predictable and just felt like it was pandering to modern geek culture rather than concentrating on the story. but was fairly enjoyable.
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