Review of “Ready Player One”

23 May

I wanted to share a book with you that I finished over the weekend, called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is a fantasy novel about the world of 2044, where people have unplugged from reality and live their lives in the OASIS, a virtual utopia. The creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, has died and left his billion dollar fortune and control of the virtual society in the hands of whoever wins the contest he has cooked up. Anyone can enter the contest, which takes place in the OASIS.  It consists of solving several puzzles.  People all over the world devote their lives to winning the contest, which means studying Halliday’s life and making his obsessions (one of them being games, movies, and music from the 1980’s, the decade of his childhood) their own. Perhaps no one knows him, and 1980’s cultural references, better than brilliant teenage gamer, Wade Watts. He, too, has devoted his life to figuring out Halliday’s contest, not only for the money but also to protect the integrity of the OASIS. However, there are people much older, powerful, and more ruthless than he who want to win the contest just as much. They are called Sixers, and if they win, they will force people to pay to access the OASIS. The contest goes on for years, with no one making much headway. Suddenly, though, Watts stumbles on to the first puzzle, and his life changes overnight.

I enjoyed this story, though a lot of the gaming references went over my head. I liked it because it’s a cautionary tale about what happens to society when we try to escape reality. I think a little escape every now and then is a good thing. However, as Watts found out, that can quickly become an addiction. This is kind of how I feel when I’m out to dinner with friends, who spend half their time on their phones – instead of enjoying the experience and engaging in it, they’re sharing it – either via Twitter, Facebook, or text. It makes me wonder how far away we are from being the kind of society that would want to escape the real world and live our lives in something like the OASIS. I’m always thrilled to lose myself in a world created by a good writer, but I’m always happy to return to real life.  Now, my tune might change if I somehow entered the land of Jane Austen and found myself married to Mr. Darcy…


Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Review of “Ready Player One”

  1. HelenF

    May 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Great review. The book sounds like something I would enjoy reading. I too wonder just how far from reality and living life to its fullest will technology lead us.

  2. azlelib

    May 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks, Helen! You’ll have to let us know if you end up reading it.


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