Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It is 2044, and the global energy crisis has come to a head. Everyone lives in metropolitan areas because travel is prohibitively expensive. Wade Watts lives in the “stacks,” the new version of a trailer park where trailers are stacked high like skyscrapers just waiting for some tragic accident to collapse into a heap of metal. The real world has become so depressing and untenable that most of humanity lives their lives virtually in OASIS, a massive virtual reality created by technology mogul James Halliday.

Upon Halliday’s death, a video is released explaining the details of a massive treasure hunt within OASIS. The first person to collect three hidden keys will win Halliday’s vast fortune and control of OASIS. The video contains many clues, and immediately people begin to obsess over these clues and Halliday’s life story to lead them to the keys. Because Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 70’s and 80’s, the films, books, and video games of these decades experience a massive resurgence. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline begins with Wade, a poverty-stricken teenage orphan, becoming the first person to find a key. What follows is a high stakes chase with Wade pitted against his peers and a multinational conglomerate determined to gain control of OASIS by any means necessary.

Cline has created an engrossing virtual reality world where you can drive a Delorean or insert yourself in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Any child of the 70’s or 80’s will enjoy the pop culture and video game references packed into these pages. You do not need to be a gamer to enjoy this book. Cline has succeeded where others have failed in creating a page turner about people playing a video game.

Search the VBPL catalog for Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It is also available in downloadable ebook and audiobook formats on the library’s OverDrive website. The audiobook is performed by geek favorite and Star Trek: The Next Generation alum, Wil Wheaton. Readers who enjoy fiction featuring video games might also enjoy For the Win by Cory Doctorow.

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