Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Sci-Fi / Cyberpunk(ish)
Rating: 4 of 5
In the not-too-distant future it turns out Al Gore et al. were right – we’ve burned through most of our fossil fuels, triggered severe global climate change, and life is miserable for the average person. Much of humanity copes by spending a large part of their lives in the virtual world of the OASIS (basically a virtual reality MMORPG that has become the primary means of interfacing with the internet). When the eccentric multi-billionaire creator of OASIS dies his will leaves all of his assets to whoever can find an “Easter egg” he hid in the OASIS. The main clue is hundreds of pages of a rambling journal centered around his obsession with 1980’s pop culture (especially of the nerdier variety). The book is the first person account of the “gunter” (egg hunter) who made the first major breakthrough in finding the Egg.
This whole thing is an excuse to revel in 80’s geekiness. However, it has enough edge-of-your-seat treasure hunt kind of tension that even someone who isn’t an uber-geek should still be able to enjoy it. Stylistically speaking, this isn’t a masterpiece of writing/plotting. There were parts I found annoying like occasional preachy/ranty bits, quite a few “colorful metaphors,” and plot points that were just a little too convenient and/or predictable. Despite all that, my nerdy born-in-1980 side really enjoyed it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes my top-5 fiction reads of the year list in December.