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Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Published: 16th of August 2011 – Ballantine Books
Format: Hardcover – 384 pages
“That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A YA science fiction novel set in a dystopia in 2045 by New York Times bestselling author Ernest Cline. Ready Player One was mentioned in my most recent “What Should I Read Next?” post, it is a title I’ve personally been interested to read after seeing the movie. I finally finished it and I was pleasantly surprised, keep reading to find out why!
A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.
When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune–and control of the OASIS itself.
Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on–and the only way to survive is to win.
The idea behind Ready Player One is an amazing one. Set in a dystopia in 2045, it follows protagonist Wade Watts on his quest for the Ultimate Prize in a worldwide virtual reality game. This unique concept spoke volumes to my technologically curious side. I am very interested in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology so to find a story that had imagined a world in which they were fully realised was very alluring.
However, after watching the movie, I was disappointed to see the virtual reality aspects were glossed over. Although it showcased some unique ideas and technology, it was nowhere near as much as I was hoping for. Not to say the movie wasn’t enjoyable, it was certainly an entertaining movie to watch. But it just left me wanting more. More about the world and what it might actually be like. Luckily for me, the book answered my hopes.
This could have been the desire of the filmmaker and Ernest Cline to boost sales and I must say it worked like a charm! As book readers, we know movies are often forced to leave out or change details in service of making a more digestible story for the big screen. Perfectly understandable. However, this leads to most movies being preferred much less than their book counterparts. Therefore, I became infatuated with the idea of reading the book and observing how it compares to the movie.
I had heard about the nostalgia, the pop culture references and the entertaining quest. But what I wasn’t prepared for was to completely fall in love with the world of Ready Player One.
Ready player one had a fantastic introduction. I think it served to perfectly set the scene for the world and the quest. As I read on, I became so captivated with the world-building. This semi-dystopian future that seems so real it was almost scary. Everything he spoke about wasn’t far off from our world and played to make it feel grounded and realistic. The “Stacks” that Wade lives in are very reminiscent of the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. Whether this was by design or not, it made the world being described feel all the more tangible.
From the plausible energy crisis to the food shortages, the world-building of Ready Player One blew me away. The virtual reality system seemed like a very likely future. The way it was used for different services such as schooling reminds me that Facebook/ Meta recently debuted the Infinite Office, a virtual reality office space. This isn’t far off from the virtual reality classroom depicted in Ready Player One. The different features that the school had such as the “mute” button and the “no PvP” all felt like real features that would be added to such a device. The copy and pasted building that I know for a fact would be done to save time for the programmers. Ready Player One is truly a fantasy world tinged with realism.
The portrayal of the living condition on Earth and the way the OASIS was presented and operated were thought out and executed well. It was futuristic enough to be compelling, but also realistic enough to be plausible.
Although I’m not personally from the generation that would appreciate all the pop culture references, I would say I understood the majority of them as more references were pretty surface level. This made it mildly fun to see but didn’t go past that. But it also made it easy to ignore the references I didn’t understand. I think this might have been intentional by the author to avoid alienating the audience that might not get the references.
My critique is there were some unnecessary ramblings of the main character but I do understand that is part of his character embodying the “I’m 14 and this is deep” energy. Some details definitely could have gone unmentioned as it got uncomfortable and tedious to read at some points.
MY THOUGHTS AND OPINION
It was a captivating story, strategically peering into a popular past while at the same time set in an unsettling, dystopian future. With some really interesting ideas like games mimicking movies, ‘The Stacks’, VR education and so much more.
I read Ready Player One to see how it compared to the movie and I was not disappointed. The story was engaging and the ideas interesting. With a multitude of puzzles and quests, Ready Player One is worth a read. If you enjoyed the movie at all, I would recommend picking up the book. I think it was a fun twist on the dystopian future that most people would enjoy.
Once again huge shoutout to Melissa Hawkes for providing me with the copy of Ready Player One that I used to make this review possible.
I hoped you enjoyed this post. If you have read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One let me know what you think. Put it in the comments below! I found the quote amusing cause it is just a long-winded way of saying “Go touch some grass.”
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