(This is a re-post of the review I wrote for the hardback version here: http://scifichick.com/2011/08/31/book-review-ready-player-one/)
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline is now available in paperback from Broadway Paperbacks!
Decades in the future, the entire world can live most of their lives online in a virtual reality called OASIS. OASIS is a vast space with many worlds created by James Halliday, who on his death bed left his entire, vast fortune to the winner of a game that he installed with OASIS. Young Wade Watts, along with everyone else in the world, longs to find the three hidden keys that will lead to Halliday’s easter egg. But there are no rules to the game, and an evil mega-corporation (nicknamed Sixers) has stacked the decks in their favor. So when Wade is the first to find the first key, the Sixers are hot on his heels. And the Sixers will stop at nothing to get the egg, even murder in the real world.
Wade Watts and his contemporaries and friends in OASIS, Aech and Art3mis, are gunters (short for egg hunters). They have lived their entire short lives eating, sleeping, and breathing everything about James Halliday. All of his geeky loves are their favorites as well. And Halliday was a child of the 80s and a hardcore gamer, so he incorporated all of this into his game. Cline created a vast and complex world where the 80s still rule. Those of us who grew up in the 80s will find most of the quests and puzzles fun and nostalgic. I can’t imagine the research that went into this story, as there are a lot of obscure references as well.
Even though I’ve never been a gamer, I can appreciate the story and the references to older games and the fun puzzles that we learn along with Wade. Though some of the made-up history gets a bit lengthy at times, I still found myself enjoying the wild ride. This recent science fiction release is engaging, suspenseful, and highly entertaining. Full of mystery, 80s trivia, gaming, and a bit of romance, Ready Player One is a fun must-read for any scifi and gaming fan.