Now mash them all together. Oh, and mix in some ALF.
This is the world of Ready Player One.
It’s 2044, and Earth has become practically inhospitable, but people don’t seem to mind because they all live in OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory-Immersive Simulation), a free-to-play massively multiplayer online simulation game created by James Halliday. James Halliday suddenly dies, but has left a will stating that whomever can find his Easter Egg in OASIS will inherit his wealth ($240 billion) and control of OASIS.
The book’s main character is Wade Watts, known as Parzival in the game. He is one of many egg hunters, or “gunters” dedicated to finding the egg. James Halliday was obsessed with the 1980’s, so OASIS is full of 80’s pop references, and the gunters spend their time pouring over everything from the 80’s, from arcade games to movies to television to music and more. The more 80’s trivia you know, the more impressive you are. Parzivial is a low level gunter (in OASIS, you can travel anywhere, for a price, and most gunters, when they’re not studying the 80’s they’re leveling up their avatars through quests), but one obsessed with Halliday and the 80’s. He and his only friend Aech (pronounced “H”) spend all their free time playing arcade games and watching movies together, in hopes of finding clues to the location of Halliday’s egg.
Racing against the gunters is the corporation IOI (Innovative Online Industries), who want to monetize OASIS, charging for access, and for advertising space (on any and everything). The gunters are not only trying to locate the egg for wealth, but to continue the vision of Halliday, and despise anyone that works for IOI.
Now for my review
First, I will say that this book was fun to read. Entertaining and pretty quickly paced, I read this in a short amount of time. I do recommend it to anyone that 1) loves the 80’s, 2) loves virtual worlds, or 3) loves puzzles. Not that there’s really any puzzle solving for the reader. There’s no way to read a clue and actually figure something out before someone in the book does. But, it’s still fun to watch the characters explore. The action can be fun, as in a virtual world, any type of weapon can be created, from guns to magic spells and more.
A couple of times there’s some references that take me out of the story, like when someone mentions Wikipedia. I suppose that website might still be around in another 30 years, but I would have assumed something better would have come around. It just felt strange hearing a few terms that are used currently.
It’s not a very deep book. You can tell where things are going for the most part. There’s a few twists that are fun to find out, but for the most part it’s pretty heavy handed when it comes to things like “This will be Wade’s love interest.”
Overall, think of this book like an action movie. It’s fun to let yourself be drawn in and watch, but don’t expect too much in the way of a compelling story or wonderful acting.
Out of 17, I give this book an 11.