Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I bought this book on Audible and filled every free minute with it until it was over.

A tour-de-force for Wil Wheaton, easily the best performance I have every heard or seen from him.

If Cory Doctorow and William Gibson wrote a book together, I imagine that it would be a lot like this one. It has the fun and pacing of a Doctorow book with the environment and physical elements of a Gibson novel. But I am not saying that this story is derivative in any way, it is its own story in its own world with fantastic characters that I am going to remember for a long time.

This story really works for me because it is character driven with the science fiction elements playing important roles without getting in the way of the character’s lives. By the end of the book the protagonists are our friends and antagonists are the hated enemy, just as it should be in any great story.

I can’t wait to share this book with my 2-year-old son when he gets older, hopefully it will help create an appreciation of the video games and movies I grew up playing.

From the publisher:

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

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction and video games, especially those from the 80’s.

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