Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I’m attempting to read some newer releases, and I’m pretty impressed with the selection offered by the Greater Phoenix Digital Library. Of course, I see now that Ready Player One was published almost a year ago. That’s still better than usual for me.
Ready Player One is dystopian-ish YA science fiction. Generally, my problem with dystopian fiction is that I don’t buy it. I am, perhaps, a naive optimist. I honestly don’t believe that the average of human behavior is evil, which is what most dystopian fiction seems to rely on. Despite a devious, all-seeing corporation, the world of Ready Player One is fairly believable. It’s crowded and over-industrialized. The majority of people work in and are entertained by a virtual world. The OASIS is sort of the mondo combination of Second Life and every MMO/CRPG that has ever existed. If I squint really hard, I can see that future.
The story revolves around a game within the game, the hunt for an Easter Egg placed within the OASIS by one of its now-deceased creators. Find the egg, win his fortune. The egg hunters, or gunters, believe that by steeping themselves in the geek culture of the programmers–the 1980s– they can unlock the Easter Egg.
This is marketed as a YA novel. The protagonist is young, the themes are not overly complex. Yet, I question whether readers too much younger than I am can catch a fraction of the references. Ernest Cline is two years old than me. I am of the same generation and of a somewhat geeky bent. I “got” many of the references; by far, not all of them. This novel is maybe too reliant on Cline’s favorite things.
There are problems with this book (the previously mentioned evil corporation, a little bit of deus ex machina, and a laggy middle section), but I enjoyed it. What really saves the story for me is its underlying optimism. It stands alone (not part of a series) and a certain portion of the final battle brings to mind the better-natured community aspects of MMOs.
Format: Kindle Cloud Reader
Procurement: Greater Phoenix Digital Library