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Ready Player One

by

Ready Player One Cover

ISBN13: 9780307887443
ISBN10: 0307887448
All Product Details

 

Awards

Staff Pick

I had many books on my to-read list, but this one jumped straight to the top as soon as I got my hands on a copy. It has everything I love about video games and cartoons and anime from the '80s. The pacing of the book is great, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. Anyone who can make a story based around the Atari game Adventure is my hero.
Recommended by Sam W., Powells.com

I had a hard time choosing a number one pick for my Top 5s of 2011, but this book won out because it was fun and nostalgic and possibly the most joyfully entertaining book I read all year. A quest story set mostly in a virtual world, it's a geeky celebration of all things '80s — a decade when video arcades and John Hughes movies reigned supreme. Is it the best book I read? Probably not. Is it the book that made me happiest while I was reading it and that I most want to force on friends and strangers alike? Absolutely.
Recommended by Billie Bloebaum, Powell's Books at PDX

Set in the year 2044, Ready Player One tells the story of a Steve Jobs-like character, his death, and the game that's played in a virtual world he created. The winner gains control of his company, and players range from big corporations with money, loner kids, and teams from across the world. It's a fun book filled with characters you love to cheer for and lots of '80s trivia.
Recommended by Amy W., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 ten thousand 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 twentieth 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?

Review:

"The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to Ready Player One as a "nerdgasm" [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture...But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation....[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles. A-" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"A most excellent ride...the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest...fully satisfying." Boston Globe

Review:

"Enchanting...Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don't have to be a geek to get it." USA Today

Review:

"Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it....[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly....You'll wish you could make it go on and on." NPR.org

Review:

"A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel....This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight...[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"The grown-up's Harry Potter...the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all." Huffington Post

About the Author

Ernest Cline has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days, Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games. Ready Player One is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 36 comments:

trynewideas, December 29, 2013 (view all comments by trynewideas)
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Gracie, December 7, 2013 (view all comments by Gracie)
This book is as addictive and fun as the video games it nostalgically champions. Underdog hero Wade, aka Parzival, is living in an all-too-realistic dystopian future: the planet's a wreck and escapism in the virtual OASIS is infinitely preferable. The OASIS is, in fact, where Wade spends most of his time and where he considers his real life to be.

The creator of the OASIS, philanthropic soul, lover of all things 1980s, and Wade's hero, James Halliday, also preferred the virtual world. So much so, that when he died, he left no heirs but a contest. Whoever wins Halliday's contest will inherit his great fortune and control of the OASIS.

There is, obviously, widespread interest in the contest. Whether it's idealistic individuals, cooperative clan groups, or mega corporations out for profit, the game is on. Wade must do battle with friend and enemy alike, trying to decipher clues, pass tests, and even just to stay alive. And it's along the way that he'll discover who he really is, what he wants, and change the world he knows.

Ernest Cline writes this story with wit and depth, using pop culture references and gaming strategies to illuminate the human condition and the mise en abyme of the game within a game works beautifully. Loved this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
chipkerchner, March 24, 2013 (view all comments by chipkerchner)
If you grew up in the 80s and loved the pop-culture of the time (TV, movies, books, video games), this definitely a must read. I couldn't put it down after a bit of slow start of the book. I felt that the contest puzzles built up a nice climatically ending to the story and the characters were fun and identifiable. Definitely a modern day "Willy Wonka" type of story meets a coming of age in a dystopian future. I would love to see the movie, if and when it comes out, and hope to see another great book by Ernest Cline.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 36 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307887443
Author:
Cline, Ernest
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Subject:
Science / Adventure
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
7.99 x 5.17 x 0.81 in 0.64 lb

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Young Adult » General

Ready Player One New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Broadway Books - English 9780307887443 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I had many books on my to-read list, but this one jumped straight to the top as soon as I got my hands on a copy. It has everything I love about video games and cartoons and anime from the '80s. The pacing of the book is great, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. Anyone who can make a story based around the Atari game Adventure is my hero.

"Staff Pick" by ,

I had a hard time choosing a number one pick for my Top 5s of 2011, but this book won out because it was fun and nostalgic and possibly the most joyfully entertaining book I read all year. A quest story set mostly in a virtual world, it's a geeky celebration of all things '80s — a decade when video arcades and John Hughes movies reigned supreme. Is it the best book I read? Probably not. Is it the book that made me happiest while I was reading it and that I most want to force on friends and strangers alike? Absolutely.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Set in the year 2044, Ready Player One tells the story of a Steve Jobs-like character, his death, and the game that's played in a virtual world he created. The winner gains control of his company, and players range from big corporations with money, loner kids, and teams from across the world. It's a fun book filled with characters you love to cheer for and lots of '80s trivia.

"Review" by , "The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to Ready Player One as a "nerdgasm" [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture...But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative."
"Review" by , "Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation....[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles. A-"
"Review" by , "A most excellent ride...the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest...fully satisfying."
"Review" by , "Enchanting...Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don't have to be a geek to get it."
"Review" by , "Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it....[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly....You'll wish you could make it go on and on."
"Review" by , "A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel....This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight...[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast."
"Review" by , "The grown-up's Harry Potter...the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all."
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