READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (Crown, August 16, 2011)
I managed to pick this book up at ALA with zero clue what it was about and never having heard of it. I was actually standing in line waiting for an ARC of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. This one had a cool title and looked a bit like the 80s. But it wasn't until I saw it in the Audible recommendations that I decided to read it. What pushed me over the edge was the fact that it was narrated by Wil Wheaton :)
So I started listening on audio, and I could not stop. This is the kind of audio book I found myself making excuses of places to drive so I could listen to it. I listened when my kids were in the car (which I never do). I looked forward to folding laundry because I could listen while I folded. And even though the book ended nicely with all ends tied, I still wanted more because I enjoyed it so much.
Set in a future where the energy crisis has hit big time, lots of people are calling this the next 'SNOW CRASH,' and sure, I do see 'SNOW CRASH'-ish elements in the story, but overall it's a story about the virtual world the characters live in, and not so much about the real world (though world development is done well...don't get me wrong).
The author (who happens to live in Austin) does an amazing job of creating tension, worrying the reader, and then assuaging the situation. I love this. I want to reach a point of worry and frustration, but I don't want to stay there too long. And READY PLAYER ONE delivers.
Who would I recommend this book to? Everyone :)
Okay, seriously, if you
- love the 80s
- love video games
- love MMO games (like World of Warcraft or Wizard 101 is that is more your speed)
- love science fiction and enjoy books like SNOW CRASH
- want to see what Wil Wheaton is up to these days (listen to audio in this case)
Wait, does that cover everyone? My recommendation: AN ABSOLUTE MUST!
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at ALA, Audio purchased from Audible.com
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?