Do I love The Last Starfighter? Do I need a new novel version of it? Meh.
Do I love 80’s games and remember them fondly? Hell yeah, but even I got a bit tired of the references and repetitiveness in this book.
This may be unrelated but these were my personal favorites:
I listened to the audiobook of Armada because I so enjoyed the previous audiobook by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One, also read by Wil Wheaton. This novel also threw in a lot of nostalgia for 80’s movies, games, and music, but it just got a bit tedious this time.
The main character of Armada is a teenage kid just passing time until he gets out of high school, with no real ambition but to continue working in a fun local video game store and to continue rising up the rankings in his favorite game, Armada, a sci-fi adventure game that’s all about flying spaceships into battle. He is also obsessed with the things his long-dead father was obsessed with, hence a modern teenager listens to a lot of 80’s (and I guess early 90’s–I don’t know as I wasn’t always paying close attention) tunes and video games. Then everything changes when he gets scooped up by an unusual spaceship and starts his own big adventure.
That sounds really exciting, right? How could I not be riveted, 80’s fan that I am? Heck, I just had an 80’s party last weekend; I am into it. However, Cline just kept packing more and more 80’s into a stuffed story, so that it seemed like little of the story was left. It was all nostalgia and not much plot.
I do love Wil Wheaton’s reading style, and I finished the book, so that’s some kind of recommendation (I no longer waste my time with bad books), but I probably wouldn’t give it a second listen, or pick up the physical book and read it. Once was fine. If you really dig your 80’s nostalgia, you might give it a try, but it might end with eye-rolling. Chances are I’ll still give the next Ernest Cline novel a try (particularly in audiobook form), but not before trying another John Scalzi or Scott Meyer.