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Ready Player Oneby Ernest Cline
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.
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.
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.
Synopses & Reviews
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?
"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
"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
"A most excellent ride...the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest...fully satisfying." Boston Globe
"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
"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
"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
"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.
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