Ready Player One

Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Series: Ready Player One, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (231,652 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

"As narrator of this offbeat, futuristic adventure, Wil Wheaton must evoke a teen's naïveté and cynicism about real life and incorporate this veteran gaming geek's expertise of ‘80s culture.... Wheaton is up to the task, presenting an engaging treasure hunt while also dramatizing the hero’s enthusiasm at playing classic games like Pac-Man. Also a twist on Pilgrim's Progress, this novel has something for everyone." (AudioFile magazine)

“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)

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What listeners say about Ready Player One

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The Great Disappointment - 2018 edition

I tried. I really, really tried to like this book. Because, c’mon, virtual reality? Dungeons and dragons? 80s pop culture? Just a general celebration of nerds and geeks everywhere? This book should have been Nirvana to my geeky, introverted soul. But no. I couldn't even make myself finish it. It's just... bad. On so many levels. It's bad on a storytelling level. You know the phrase "show don't tell" when it comes to writing? This book will not shut up. The payoff is supposed to come after the setup, not before. There were so many instances where a problem would arise and the protagonist would basically just go "Oh, thank god I did literal months of training playing this game" or "Oh man, good thing this is the one movie that I have spent hours and hours memorizing." Show me him training. Show me him running lines. Don't just get to the payoff and tell me he already prepared for this. It's also bad on an emotional level. Like, listen. I might be ace, but I love me some good romance. And this book does not have it. In fact, it has terrible, terrible romance. It got to the point where I literally just turned it off and chose to drive home in silence because I could not take how cringey it was. That spans to the protagonist's other relationships too. All this book does is reaffirm the toxic idea that is steeped in video game culture — that all that matters is an encyclopedic knowledge of every piece of media related to whatever your interest is. Nevermind the emotional lessons that specific media is trying to teach. Nevermind that there is such a thing as being a casual fan. And nevermind the inherent misogyny that can leak from that culture like persistent B.O. (Seriously, the number of times women are referred to as "female" is ridiculous.) And you know what? Maybe the second half of the book is better. Maybe it redeems itself. But I will never know because the first half was so utterly terrible no one will ever be able to convince me to give it another chance.

55 people found this helpful

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Heads up

Transparently, I only made it past the first chapter, but I was immediately turned off by the explicit bashing of religion. I listen/read/watch many types of fiction and I've never felt I had to stop listening or watching until this book. I was really looking forward to this and the movie, but I am choosing to delete.

40 people found this helpful

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Atheistic, pessimistic view of the future.

Lots of action... but couldn't get over the arrogant way author attacked anyone that still believes in a God. I'm returning it on principle.

39 people found this helpful

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Worst book I've ever finished.

If all it takes is a list of references for you to enjoy a book, this is the book for you! It had some neat ideas, but they are far overshadowed by the overwhelmingly long nerd trivia rants. The only thing good about this book was who was reading it.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Lb
  • 08-15-18

turned off at 20 minutes.. d

lost me after the 10 minutes of preaching anti God n mainstream liberal talking points.

21 people found this helpful

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dissappointed

I read fiction books to put my mind in a happy place, not continuously listen to negative rhetoric atheist beliefs. It doesnt add to the book.

17 people found this helpful

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man oh man

reciting pop culture nerd facts is what is used to stand in for character development. there is no depth to our heroes, only impressing you with how their entire lives have been spent having no life watching crappy 80s movies and video games. our hero makes the bold stance that worshiping a god is stupid and there is no purpose in life, then brags about obsessively worshiping every thing that a spectral old video game developer liked cause he had no friends. extremely recomend hate listening to it a second time, it's one of the laugh out loud funniest things you'll ever listen to.

14 people found this helpful

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Large amounts of filler

Will Wheaton does little to bring life to the characters. At times I wasn't sure who was saying what, due to the same voice/tone used for all characters. The story is a cool walk down nostalgia lane, but there were too many internal dialogues when it felt like the protagonist needed to move forward.

13 people found this helpful

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Sorry, can't finish this one

I love sci-fi and adventure, anything along those lines. But this is absolutely not what I had in mind. First of all, as a Christian, the bashing of religion in such a way is oft putting. And it's the same old mumbo jumbo we hear every single day in regards to climate change, etc. I really am not one of those people who doesn't like listening to things that don't match up with exactly what I believe. What I was desperately hoping for was less bleak, hardened hate, and more nostalgia. Who doesn't love the 80s? But that never materialized. It was all the junk and weariness, and no fun. The 80's encompassed fun, even innocence. And none of this is conveyed here, like it was conveyed in a show like "Stranger Thing" for example. And 80's video games...pure fun. None of that is conveyed here. It's a bleak virtual reality where you can't tell truth from fiction. And it feels sad and hopeless. Will Wheaton has a great narration voice. That is one positive point.

12 people found this helpful

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Thanks, But No Thanks

Wil Wheaton was literally the only reason I got even halfway through. I understand the appeal of it that led to its popularity, but it's just... so much cringe. The protagonist is also just so wholly unlikable.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Bennett
  • 10-02-18

High concept, low on story

The whole thing could be about half as long if the author didn't just spout cultural references without any plot

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  • Kimberly
  • 03-27-18

Totally awesome

This is the 7th time I’ve listened to the book, brilliant performance by Wil Wheaton. Looking forward to Spielberg’s interpretation tomorrow, though not expecting it to be the same as this book, but still expect an awesome movie.