Ready Player One is like being immersed in an awesome massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and reading a wonderful book simultaneously.
On a dystopian Earth, destroyed by a global energy crisis, the only thing left for people is the online utopia of the OASIS, where you can do anything, be anyone, where the lines of distinction between a person’s real identity and that of their avatar begin to blur. When the creator, James Halliday dies, he leaves behind the biggest Easter egg hunt the world has seen. The prize: ownership of his vast fortune and total control of the OASIS.
Wade Watts is just one of the many ‘gunters’ (those who have devoted their lives to Halliday’s hunt) and since it was announced five years ago, he’s learnt all he can about the god among geeks, the nerd uber-deity on the level of Gygax, Gattiott, and Gates: James Halliday.
When Wade deciphers the location of the first clue and is awarded the Copper Key, the first of three, his avatar ‘Parzival’ shows up as the first name on the scoreboard. Passion for the hunt reignites. Hot on his heel are thousands of competitors including the Innovative Online Industries (IOI) who, in Wade’s words, want to turn the game into a fascist corporate theme park where the few people who can still afford the price of admission no longer have an ounce of freedom. Wade soon realises that the IOI will stop at nothing to control the OASIS, and when he can’t be bought to their side, everything he has is threatened.
I was late coming to this book, originally published in 2011. It was the name that drew me in, and the frequency in which it was appearing in recommended read lists. I was not disappointed.
It’s not science-fiction, it’s not fantasy, but it is. Think ‘Enders Game’, think ‘Surrogates’, ‘Gamer’ and ‘Westworld’. The front cover quote says; ‘Enchanting. Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.’ It’s all comparable, but nothing I know is like this book. It’s a smorgasbord of ‘80s pop culture. There were so many references it didn't matter that I didn't get half of them. Joss Whedon eat your heart out.
It’s not a hard read, it’s a simple plot – good versus evil. Moving from the real world into the action-packed OASIS is seamless. The descriptions of the world outside leave me wanting more, in a good way. I was genuinely anxious when I had to close the book because I was invested in the lives of these characters.
I haven't been this excited over a book since I read Transformation by Carol Berg. For me, like that book, this one is a game changer.
This book was amazing. I read it in a few days. I didn't want to let it go. I can't wait to hand it around to my friends and family so they too can share my excitement.
Read this one.