“Ready Player One” – Ernest Cline
In the midst of the sudden passing of Apple’s first and original genius, Steve Jobs, this all seems a bit too coincidental; but such is life. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but in case you didn’t know, I certainly have no shame or make no apologies for saying this again: I AM A NERD/GEEK! I am a child of the 1980’s and 90’s and I’m about to tell you about a novel that brilliantly embraces and encourages that ever-growing sub-culture that has become an ever-evolving way of life. I haven’t been this excited nor have I enjoyed a book so much since “The Da Vinci Code.”
“Ready Player One” starts off in the year 2044. A not-too-distant, believable future, about to be post-apocalyptic world where overpopulation, limited resources, and pollution has turned America (and most of the world) into sector after sector of people living in trailers stacked on top of each other like a game of Jenga.
The story revolves around The OASIS-a virtual reality simulation-where everyone is logged on all the time. The OASIS is basically a billion times bigger in scope and size than WoW (World of Warcraft,) Facebook, and eBay combined. A world created by renowned video game designer, James Halliday.
The book starts with the announcements of Mr. Halliday’s death.
As the announcement is broadcast to the world, among the billions to hear the news is Wade Watts, a geek to rival all geeks in his knowledge of the world that Halliday created and everything on which it is based. Upon his death, Halliday leaves behind a video will that was more like a student short film crammed with references and homages to things such as the “Back to the Future” trilogy, the Commodore 64, and Pac-Man just to name a very, very few. It even referenced a real-life video game contest back in the 1980’s of a game called SwordQuest, whose Grand Prize was crown jewels valued at $150,000! If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.
The reason for all these references: the video will contains clues to finding what is known as “The Easter Egg.” The “Egg” is Halliday’s entire fortune of over $250 billion. As stipulated in his will, since he had no family to leave his vast fortune to, he decided to hide it deep within the world he created and the first one to find it, gets to keep it. Wade is one lonely guy who is a die-hard fan of Halliday and his creation.
Upon news of his death and the fortune he leaves behind, guilds are formed and rogue scholars go in search of the Egg. All these people are known in the OASIS as “gunters.” Wade (or Parzival as he is known in The OASIS) has spent his entire young life researching Halliday, even while he was alive, and became somewhat of a self-made scholar. The Egg is broken down into three keys that must be found, each challenge more daunting than the last, as Parzival goes up against other gunters and the faceless corporation known as IOI that is also searching for The Egg to tighten their already suffocating grip on any and all OASIS business ventures.
The first novel of self-proclaimed geek Ernest Cline, (and director of the movie “Fan Boys”), “Ready Player One” is a beautiful (yes I said “beautiful”) coming-of-age story. To my fellow nerds, geeks, and social misfits. To my “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fans. To the Dungeons and Dragons, Nintendo, and board game players, this one’s for you!
READ THIS BOOK!!