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
The pop culture referrences started to become tiresome but the story was great. Wheaton did a great job reading though and I'm really interested to hear more of his audio books.
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.
"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.
"Charlie and Choc Factory meets Better than Life"
This story is meta derivative. It's like the emperor's new clothes because there isn't really anything there. All the author has done is mash up a couple of story lines and weave in as much so-called geek and pop culture together, throw in a coming of age story and the like and hey presto. A "new" story to sell to the masses, and people eat it up like vanilla ice cream and oh look, its got Wil Wheaton reading it he's cool "geek chic". Pathetic!
The story writing feels very much like a Little Britain sketch, where the Dame Sally Markham starts dictating a story and then refers her typing assistant to a random book to bulk-copy from. That's basically what the author has done. The plot is a copy or at least highly derived, and everything is directly copied from popular culture and he doesn't even have to pretend because he just told you.
There's nothing here but smoke and mirrors and it still manages to be annoying.
I am a fan of all the star trek series, but found Wil Wheaton's narration quite trying. The surfer dude accent didn't quite jive with the timbre of the story.
"You will not be able to pause this book"
While I do not have the print version, the fact that Will Wheaton reads this is an undeniable plus.
Art3mis. She has conviction and drive, knows what she wants and goes for it. It's a world somewhat dominated by men but she manages to succeed via brains and personality. The virtual reality that most of the book takes place in means that her physical appearance is almost a non issue which is refreshing for a female character.
His performance was perfectly pitched, he was clearly enjoying it himself and his sense of timing was brilliant. Best of all though is the fact that Wil Wheaton is actually mentioned in the story itself, he is part of the world. Hearing Wil Wheaton talk about Wil Wheaton just made me smile!
I found the relationship between the Japanese brothers particularly moving, it's explained in more detail towards the end of the book and I found Shoto's talk with Wade in his fortress one of the best scenes in the whole book.
I read this because there was a lot of hype around it. In some ways I was a bit disappointed. It was far from an incredible read and I don't really get why some people consider it one of their favourite books.It was definitely enjoyable and I have rated it highly. It's a fast paced treasure hunt that I found very difficult to put down. In fact I kind of resented that I had to stop listening to it to work and sleep and talk to people. I really really wanted to know what was going to happen next and it was a very engaging read, even for someone with very little video game knowledge.However I wasn't hugely attached to any of the characters. Apart from the main character there wasn't a huge amount of character progression. The baddies are somewhat one dimensional and I found it difficult to believe that they had sufficient motivation for some of their actions. I just wasn't that attached. Possibly someone more into geek culture would get more out of this.
This is the first time I've not managed to finish a book in a quite a while. I just couldn't stand listening to the awful writing any longer. It's clearly aimed at children or at teenagers at the most. There's only so much 'cool', 'rad', 'mega' type hyperboles I can handle in a book. The nail in the coffin had to be the part when 'people started hanging around us because our arguments were so 'crazy'. The whole thing was childish to the extreme. I noticed the book received a lot of good reviews, hence why I bought it. If you like books that are well written (and I'm the first person to know that sci if books leave a lot to be desired in this respect all too often) then this book will drive you mad.
Aimed it at the over 18s
I just don't like North American narrators. It doesn't help that the story is written for the younger folk, and I think the North American accent accentuates that fact.
"Twilight or 50 Shades for nerds"
The author needs experience tightening up the story, and not relying on deus ex machina for every scene.
No. I love science-fiction, and this was just one bad apple.
It was ok, although I had to play it at double-speed to enjoy it.
It has an interesting premise, but the awful writing made me cringe too many times.
This is Twilight, or 50 Shades of Grey, for nerds. It pushes all the right buttons, but in a completely blunt way. The novelty of thinking "Oh cool I know that reference!" wears off pretty quickly, and the terrible quality of the writing becomes more and more obvious as hte book goes on.
Brought back such memories of Video Arcades, TV and film from the 80's. Hope VR gets to this dizzy height.
Techy, geeky and magical. But all boils down to one thing at the end of the day. Love!
and I really loved this book..
"stay with it!"
Slow start but worth sticking with. addictive ending :-)
if you are in your 40's, and used to be a geek, you'll love it.
"best book ever"
I cannot recommend this highly enough. An incredible book. You don't need to be an ultra-nerd to understand the story.
A favourite story of mine to begin with. Well read, and thoroughly enjoyable. A genuine shame when it finished.
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