I actually first read this book, Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, a couple of years ago. And, at that time, I only gave it four stars. I thought it was good, and sometimes even great, but uneven. Although I was familiar with a lot of the RPG gaming references and 80s movie references, the arcade and video game references were, for the most part, completely over my head. And the references to Japanese cartoon and robots were on a different planet. So, I didn’t really enjoy the book as much as I could/should have the first time around.
This time though, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a great read and even though I still have no more knowledge of Japanese robots or arcade games than I did two years ago, it didn’t matter this time around. This is just a fun book to read; it’s interesting and unusual and wonderful.
Ready Player One is set in the year 2044 and the world is in bad shape. There are food shortages and gas shortages and water shortages; basically all the shortages. The gap between the rich and the poor is greater than ever before and the only relief for most people is to be logged into the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual world where most people conduct much of their lives. The OASIS is free to access and is the site of a scavenger hunt set forth by one of the OASIS creators.
The book follows the adventures of Wade Watts, a poor, lonely teenager from the Stacks (literally stacks of trailers and mobile homes kept upright by scaffolding and hope) outside of Oklahoma City. Like most of the world, Wade is intrigued by the scavenger hunt and the chance to win hundreds of millions if he is the first to complete it. To do so, he has to immerse himself in the 80s culture, video games, role playing games and Japanese cartoons favored by the game’s creator.
It’s a great adventure for Wade, his friends, and the reader; five stars.