This book has been reviewed by other, more eloquent, cannonballers but I really enjoyed the book so I will take a whack at it.
Another YA dystopian novel, but so much more. I have had this sitting on my to be read pile for a long time. Stranger Things sent me on an 80s nostalgia trip and finally got this novel moved up to the top of the list. Set in 2044, the world has become a terrible place. People escape the horror of everyday life by spending all of their time and resources living in a virtual reality called Oasis. The founder of Oasis has died and left his estate to anyone who can solve the very eighties themed puzzle that he left behind in Oasis. Wade Watts is a high school student obsessed with the game and determined to beat it before the evil corporation who wants to control Oasis.
In real life Wade is a mess. Poor and orphaned, he spends too much time online. His hatred of the IOI corporation starts as typical flame war bs, but as he and his virtual friends progress through the game, IOI becomes a real threat. Wade is not your typical hero. He is fat, pimply, socially awkward, poor and desperate. In other words, he is very easy to root for.
The world created by this book is bleak. It’s exactly what I would expect to happen if everyone turned into VR junkies who spent their day online and let the real world burn. Wade and his friends are racing to gain control of Oasis to prevent the further erosion of humanity. One, Artimis, implies that if she wins, she might shut Oasis down and force people to deal with the real world. If I had control of Oasis, I would definitely be looking to limit the amount of time people can spend there so that they did have to deal with the rampant social ills affecting everyone.
I’m so over dystopia. which is just a fun sentence to write. But seriously. Why can’t our future be Star Trek bright? Collectively humans are pretty damn wonderful. Sure we have murderers and evil bastards, but the good outweighs the bad. I am going to be actively searching for some upbeat sci fi where the fantasy worlds don’t include poverty or child abuse or war. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I definitely rolled my eyes at the idea that everyone was a monster except for these plucky youths. The greatest mind of a generation created a computer game, a’ight. But his philanthropy extended to making k-12 school available for free. I can feel Bill & Melinda Gates rolling their eyes from here. Aim higher Ernie Cline.