“Ready Player One” is a dystopian science fiction novel by Ernest Cline and was first published in 2011. Wade Williams is a teen-ager who is trying to make it through a worldwide epidemic of poverty, overpopulation, and all of the crises that the Chicken Littles had been shrieking about. It is set in 2040’s, however many relics of pop culture from decades past still linger.
The denizens have the OASIS in which to escape, an extremely engrossing and complex virtual reality simulation that houses millions of people looking to retreat from their depressing, desperate reality. The creator of the OASIS has died and left a quest for the those known as gunters, people who live for the ongoing game. A prize awaits that could change of the world if the right person can claim it.
It’s an interesting novel in a lot of ways. It’s one I would recommend for fellow readers to try, but there is a lot of 80’s pop culture references poured with abandon throughout the tale. Cline, at times, can take a bit too much time in exposition which sometimes slows the action down.
Wade Williams is just as good as any other protagonist, I suppose. He did seem to be a bit too unbelievably wily at times for me to buy into him being around 17 or 18 years old. Some of the side plots were not a major surprise such as the expected romance that blossoms with another competitor. Wade is soon smitten by someone whose real presence he has yet to experience. I didn’t find anything too unique or engaging about dear Wade other than his seemingly impossible reservoir of knowledge of 80’s pop culture.
Although he does pull off a pretty impressive heist on the real world corporation that seeks to take control of the OASIS for more treacherous reasons. Once again, it was a little hard to buy into a teen-ager being quite that slick.
It’s a fun novel for the most part. Even the aspects I found to be somewhat exasperating were not unforgivable. I still would call this book better than the movie, although the movie wasn’t that bad either.
The next brief stop on the eternal literary journey will be an indulgence with a series that I enjoyed as a youngster. The novelization of the Doctor Who serial “The Monster of Peladon” by Terrance Dicks is the lucky winner.