On books: Ready Player One

August 11, 2015

Ready Player One - Book review | Like dystopian stories AND eighties nostalgia? Then this book might just be for you! Click through for an in-depth review.
So yes, I’m a book nerd. I love spending my evenings with a good story and a hot cuppa. When I moved  in with my boyfriend, I got rid of a lot of my furniture and stuff. BUT. My one condition was that all of my books were coming with me (well, and my favorite chair, the cabinet that used to belong to my grandparents, my collection of vintage dishes and rareties, some other favorite knick-knacks, and of course my wardrobe because no way could I fit all my clothes into his).

In order to make room for my books, we took down the built-in desk that he had made himself in the small study, and converted that room into a tiny library. I love going in there to find the right book for my current mood. I always go into a bookstore when I pass one, and I usually end up buying more than one book. As such, there’s always something in my little library that I haven’t read yet. And of course there are the well loved classics, that I’ll read over and over again (Harry Potter, anyone?).

One of my most recent reads, the one that accompanied me on the flight to the Dominican, was recommended to me by one of the members of my book club (true book-nerdism here). Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is set in a near dystopian future, where nearly everyone lives most, and certainly the most pleasant parts, of their lives plugged into the virtual utopia called OASIS.

Creator of this virtual reality James Halliday has died a few years earlier, and upon his death has left his grand fortune and rights to the OASIS to whomever wins the game that he has hidden within his virtual world. Years have gone by, and although many have tried no one has even found the first clue to get the game started. By the time the story begins, the massive frenzied search has died down, and only the so-called ‘gunters’ are still actively trying to find the clues.

One of these gunters is Wade Watts, an eighteen year old kid living in one of the many massive trailer park-tower block slums that crowd the outer cities. Halliday was a notorious lover of everything eighties, and so Wade has made it his life’s goal to know everything about the music, games, movies, comics, cartoons and every other bit of popular culture from that decade in order to find the clues to the game. And then, all of the sudden, he stumbles upon the first one.

What follows is a crazy quest to finish the game that suddenly everyone wants to win again, and some don’t mind killing for. What makes this book awesome is that although the future that Cline paints is a very bleak place, it is not one that is completely unimaginable, even if it is only set less than thirty years from now. The internet is everywhere today. It is practically impossible to imagine living without it, and yet I vividly remember life before normal people had access to it. Who is to say what will be the next step in technology, and how fast that development will go?

Because the story of Ready Player One plays out in the near future, the eighties references throughout are also acceptable and even logical. Halliday did not like what the future, or his life, had become, and thus reverts back to the decade in which he was a teenager. The game he designed is full of allusions to eighties pop culture, and all gunters are experts on it. Thus, the book is riddled through with Atari games, Hall and Oates songs, Japanese robots, John Hughes movies, and whatever the like.

Personally, I really enjoy everything eighties related, so everytime a Family Ties reference is made (I watched that show!) or the Breakfast Club is mentioned (I love that movie!), my heart did a little tap dance. Having said that, even if you’re not an eighties lover like myself you will be able to thoroughly enjoy this book. I’m not a gamer, and obviously the allusions in the book are mostly games related and as such do not mean a lot to me, but that didn’t matter at all. The story in itself is great and expertly written, and frankly just unique. Try it, and I promise you will not be dissappointed.

Oh, and of course there will be a movie as well. Directed by Steven Spielberg and set to come out in 2017, I’m definitely waiting for this one to happen. I just hope there will be some cool eighties references in the casting as well.

Have you read the book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear!

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