Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

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Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Fiction - ISBN: 1846059372 - ISBN13: 9781846059377

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90% positive

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Review of "Ready Player One - Ernest Cline"

published 19/03/2017 | steerpyke
Member since : 13/02/2004
Reviews : 467
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About me :
musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.
Pro sci-fi with a knowing wink
Cons younger readers may miss some of the references
very helpful
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How does it compare to similar books?

"The holy book of geek chic."

I grew up reading high fantasy and science fiction; nothing was more exciting than following a group of adventurers on an epic quest or picturing attack ships laying waste to floating space cities. But as the saying goes; when I grew up I put away childish things. For a long time I eschewed the fantastical and the far fetched, the dystopian and the magical in favour of more grounded subjects, but a couple of years ago that devil may care attitude which comes with age got the better of me. Life, like my savings account, is indeed too short and why should I impose such strict rules on my own literary intake when I should really be embracing my inner geek. In the years between my first forays into the mystical and the far flung it seems that sci-fi, fantasy, alternative history, superheroes and the like have emerged from the teen bedroom and the Dungeons and Dragons gatherings and become, well, cool.

Having tested the waters with a few writers recommended by book lists and blogs, I realised my first problem. Whilst I had become much more discerning in my tastes, the genre hadn’t. Now with an old pair of eyes and more worldly experience I struggled with many of the books for their lack of internal logic and consistency. Some authors came up trumps; the eons old space empires of Iain M Banks, the science-fantasy hybrid of Gene Wolfe’s New Urth and the ever relevant social commentary of Ursula Le Guin. Only a few days ago I came across the one book, which fully restored my faith in science fiction. Ready Player One.

The setting is familiar, a not too distant future USA, one worn and ragged, urbanised and decaying. And one where the very Internet itself has been subsumed into Oasis, originally a massively multi-player online game but now a universal operating system that hosts all other everyday functions from shopping to chat rooms, education and of course gaming. Following the death of its creator, Halliday, it emerges that he has left a vast fortune and controlling shares in the company behind it to any gamers who can unlock the needle-like clues he has coded into the haystack, or more rightly the billions of haystacks that make up the system.

And so over the years a whole new class of gamer evolves, Egg Hunters or Gunters who do nothing else but search for clues within the complex system and due to what is at stake - immense wealth and unimaginable corporate power - many of these have grown into powerful clans and even businesses in their own right. Enter our hero, Wade Watts, a poor boy from the future equivalent of the trailer parks, a loner, a gamer and a solo Gunter. Like all the other players he realises very quickly that the clues they seek are all based on references to Halliday’s own 80’s youth, a time spent playing and designing fledgling games, watching now cult TV shows and listening the decades most Day-Glo music. And it is here that much of the humour of the book is found as the rival players and allied friends throw references and insults at each other based on 80’s geek culture – from Dungeons and Dragons to Family Ties, Zork to MTV, coin operated arcade games to Rubik’s Cube, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pac Man, Atari and everything in between.

The action wanders between the online and the real world as the search and control of knowledge and clues and eventually even the players very survival become way more than a game in the usual sense of the word.

A passing knowledge of the decade certainly enhances the humour but it is more than just a retro fest and has some poignant things to say about where technology may take us. If however you are of a certain age, have a love of the first generation of gaming culture or just enjoy a good not-too-futuristic adventure then this is for you. If you are a self-confessed computer and/or gaming geek then this may very well become your holy bible.

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 09/04/2017
    vh :o)
  • calara published 25/03/2017
    good ...
  • bettyboo47 published 22/03/2017
    Great concept!!
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Product Information : Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Manufacturer's product description

Fiction - ISBN: 1846059372 - ISBN13: 9781846059377

Product Details

ISBN: 1846059372

ISBN-13: 9781846059377

Type: Fiction

Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Release Date: 25.10.2011


Listed on Ciao since: 23/09/2011