I finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline around 1:30 this morning and went to bed thinking this was easily one of my favorite books of the year. After some sleep I realized that, while good, this book isn’t even close to being one of the best books of the year. So says 32 year old me, anyway. Teenage me would be shouting from the rooftops about how this was “THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!11!!”.
The book deals with our hero Wade, who feels more as the avatar for the reader than as a fleshed-out character in his own right. Wade and the rest of the world conduct most of their business and pleasure inside a huge virtual reality MMORPG called OASIS. The creator of OASIS has died and has left an easter egg hidden within the game that, when found, gives the winner all of the creator’s riches and control of the company that runs OASIS. Wade has to deal with a corrupt corporation out to find the egg for themselves, clans of fellow hunters and the girl he may or may not be totally in love with.
I admit that I tore through the book in a single day, but on reflection I realize that was simply because I wanted to see which of my favorite geek references Cline would be dropping next (Whedon! Hitchhiker’s Guide! Monty Python!). Cline does an excellent job with the myriad of references he has filled Ready Player One with – so many that the book is more nostalgia porn than actual novel – and I enjoyed most of them. The guy even tossed in shout-outs to EverQuest and World of Warcraft. What’s not to love about that, right? I’ll tell you. Rush is used in one of the major plot points of the book. Rush sucks, folks. Nothing can change my mind about that.
Anyway, Ready Player One is certainly worth picking up just for all the geek nostalgia, but as an actual novel it leaves a lot to be desired.