Contented Reader

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Ready Player One

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Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

Crown

I didn’t play “Adventure” in the 1980s, or “Dungeons and Dragons.”  But I did play “King’s Quest,” and “The Legend of Zelda,” both of them fairly insatiably.  I can’t quote “Weird Science,” but I’ll bet I could still quote most of “Batman” if I had to.  I still think that both “Ladyhawke” and “Labyrinth” are underrated wonderful films.  I never played a perfect game of Pac-Man, but I was pretty good.  I had a strong preference for Ms. PacMan, however.

I am definitely the target audience for this book.  In Ready Player One, the world sucks.  Energy crisis, environmental collapse, and global economic depression have created an America in which most people struggle to get by.  Our hero lives in a mobile home, high up in a stack of mobile homes which is the new kind of ghetto.

People don’t work to make things better.  Instead they escape into OASIS, a virtual-reality internet that reminds me of what Second Life tried to be and every once in a while actually was.  OASIS is wonderful.  Its founder has died, and left behind a will which leaves his business, and his enormous fortune, to the first person to find the easter egg he has hidden somewhere inside the program.  The only clue is the founder’s obsessive fondness for the pop culture of the 1980s.

I think, if you want to read this book, that it really helps to remember the 1980s, and it helps even more if you can arrange to have been a teenager at that time.  The 80s references, the obvious ones and the subtle ones, are a major part of why Ready Player One is so entertaining.  And it really is entertaining.  Reading it this morning, I noticed that blocks of time had pleasantly vanished in a sensation not unlike what I experienced in my youth, playing “Maniac Mansion.”

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Written by Contented Reader

October 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Posted in Reviews

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