Ready Player One

1 pm, Amazon order arrives with The Martian, I can’t help it I am a slave to trends (or reading books before seeing movies), and Ready Player One.

2 pm, I crack open Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

9 pm, I close Ready Player One having finished in one sitting, minus bathroom and child homework breaks.

ready-player-one-paperback-cover-600x924Are you a child of the 80’s?

Do you like the 80’s?

Do you have even a passing interest in the 80’s?

For example, can you quote Monty Python, Wargames, Ghostbusters, lyrics to Duran Duran, or played any and I do mean ANY of the video games from the 80’s? If any of that sounds like you, go out pick up Ready Player One and enjoy.

I grew up in the 80’s. I lived every reference in Ready Player One. When a song was listed, I could hear the music. When a movie was described, I knew the scene and dialog by heart. And the video game references, I played most of those games in arcades, actual video game arcades, or on the early home systems. Ready Player One was a trip, a very smile inducing trip, down memory lane.

Ready Player One is an adventure, a mystery, and nostalgia trip. Ready Player One is a combination of several genres, including the Matrix as much of the story takes place online in an immense interactive world.

Without giving away too much, I hope, the creator of the immense virtual reality universe where people spend most of their time to escape reality dies. Reality is a world in decay; energy shortage, food shortage, and war. Upon his death, he gives the world one last game, find three keys and obtain his fortune. The creator was a huge fan of the 80’s. Huge, may be putting it mildly.

Into this comes the protagonist, Wade, a student at the start of the story who has, along with millions of other people devoted himself to finding the keys. Unfortunately, by the start of the story, nobody has had any success for years. What started out as a huge world-wide fad, has faded.

As the story unfolds, 80’s references fly fast and furious. Hell, before you finish the first page there are two blatant references. Characters toss around movie quotes. Arguments and discussions revolve around video games and the minutia of them. Story elements have 80’s references. Every kind of reference: books, movies, music, video games, and popular culture. None of it gets in the way of the story. Not once did I wonder why that reference or hoped that the references would stop. Hell, if they did stop, the story wouldn’t move forward.

The characters are well thought out and interesting. They have their quirks, ticks, and I came to want to know what happened to them, always a plus. The story is part mystery as you try to solve the various riddles and puzzles along with the characters; part action as the characters encounter…well everything from the Tomb of Horrors (yes the D&D module) to an escape from a prison of sorts to the biggest and oddest war I have read.

I highly recommend Ready Player One.




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