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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »

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trynewideas has commented on (1) product.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One

trynewideas, December 29, 2013

The first 100 pages of this book are lovely, filled with good worldbuilding and nice pacing. But the more it tries to ape Snow Crash, the more it plays out like a poorly-cut mashup video of 80s cartoons--it reads more like an early nineties cyberpunk novel that's been rewritten by the SEO manager of an 8-bit game console emulator site, more worried about hitting keyword quotas than telling the story.

Then there's the thin, broad characterizations, with two Japanese characters portrayed as borderline racist stereotypes and a quiet but persistent homophobic/transphobic undercurrent. There's a weak romance sideplot that sits squarely in fedora-wearing Nice Guy idiocy: the protagonist is rewarded despite blatantly stalking and harassing a woman who is trying to avoid him. Pop culture references hit maybe once every ten times they're smashed into the reader's face and become a page-skipping burden less than halfway through the book. (At least skipping them makes this a fast, if tiring, read.)

The Wonka-ish nature of the plot is forgivable, but this could have been a much, much tighter book. It feels like it was edited for the factual accuracy of its references rather than to determine if most of them were remotely necessary to the story or characters.
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