Title: Ready Player One
Review: The year is 2045 and life in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, resembles scenes from every Hollywood sci-fi, dystopian flick you’ve ever seen. Chrome and glass skyscrapers soar into the heavens towering over buildings as grey and miserable as the dystopian, Bladerunner-esque weather. Society is high tech with glowing neon everywhere. Orphaned 18-year-old Wade Watts lives in the “stacks”, dwellings, literally, formed from stacks of old cars, trailers, RVs, etc.
Like most of humanity he escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia. Like millions of others, Wade dreams of discovering a virtual Easter Egg that lies concealed within one of thousands of virtual worlds by the OASIS’s creator, the late James Halliday. The wacky genius has left clues to the Egg’s location in puzzles scattered around his virtual worlds which, when solved in order, lead to the location of the prize – whoever discovers the Egg will inherit his entire estate, including management and control of the OASIS itself; a prize worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
In order to claim the Egg Wade has to solve the series of puzzles hidden in various classic arcade games and media from the 1980s, as Halliday was mad about the era. Though Wade is an expert at classic arcade games, and a human database of 80s pop culture knowledge, he doesn’t know everything. Aiding him in his quest for the Egg are his “gunter” (a portmanteau of “egg hunter”) mates: Art3mis, his best friend Aech, and the brothers Daito and Shoto.
Our nerdy heroes, however, soon gain the attention of Nolan Sorrento, the head of the “Oology Division” at Innovative Online Industries. IOI is a multinational corporation bent on taking control of the OASIS for purely commercial reasons – charging for its use and bombarding users with advertisements. Currently schooling in the OASIS is free. When Wade refuses to assist them in finding the first key, Sorrento and his associates attempt to murder Wade; they fail and the race is now on to find the Egg with Wade and his buddies representing the forces of good and Sorento, the face of the evil IOI corp, the villain of the story.
So what’s to like about the book?
Everything! Ready Player One is not just homage to all things 80s pop culture: the movies, the music and, of course, classic arcade and roleplaying games, it’s an addictive read so potent it can only be described as literary cocaine. The story grips hold of the reader and drags them through a dizzying adventure and when it finally ends, you feel light headed and disorientated. It’s unputdownable!
Ready Player One is an utterly engrossing story, peering nostalgically into a popular past while at the same time set in a disturbing, dystopian, future. But, reader, be warned! If you read this book, you won’t love it – you’ll worship it!
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: www.amazon.com