four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
55-Nov-Dec-2011
By: 
Ernest Cline
user_rating: 
0

A-Ready Player OneErnest Cline wrote the screenplay for the cult movie Fanboys, about a group of friends who infiltrate Skywalker Ranch hoping to steal an early copy of Star Wars: Episode 1--The Phantom Menace. Ready Player One is Cline's first novel.

The Story: In 2044, the world has plunged into a war-torn, resource-depleted dystopia. People find relief from their miserable lives by logging onto OASIS, a multiperson computer game that allows players to create their own elaborate fantasy worlds. When OASIS founder James Halliday dies, he leaves his entire fortune to whoever can locate the "Easter Egg" in his virtual world by unlocking a series of 1980s-related clues. Wade Watts, a high school computer geek living in the slums of Oklahoma City, knows everything there is to know about the 1980s. But when he cracks the first code, he finds himself battling a sinister tech company called IOI.
Crown. 384 pages. $24. ISBN: 9780307887436

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"A novel about cybernerds reciting trivia and relentlessly gaming could be as dreary as listening to a seven-minute synopsis of a movie you will never watch. The notion is particularly scary for readers, like me, who don't game. Nevertheless, I loved this book." John R. Alden

Entertainment Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"This is about a future that disappears amid the glorification of the past. ... Give Cline credit for crafting a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finding significance in there among the collectibles." Anthony Breznican

Milwaukee Jrnl Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"I'm a chick who digs Time Lords, a woman who loves William Shakespeare and William Gibson, and I can recite dialogue from Blade Runner and Battlestar Galactica. I'm a geek, and I think that made me appreciate even more the ambitious narrative structure and the incredible creative detail in Ernest Cline's Ready Player One." Carole E. Barrowman

USA Today 4 of 5 Stars
"In its charmingly odd manner, this is Willy Wonka meets The Matrix. ... Cline is an ingenious conjurer talented at translating high concept into compelling storytelling." Don Oldenburg

New York Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The book gets off to a witty start, with Wade and his cronies slinging insults about one another's knowledge of fantasy films and using '80s-vintage movie quips like ‘Don't call me Shirley.' ... Still it will be interesting to see how Ready Player One becomes (as is planned) a movie based on a book about songs, TV shows, games and movies." Janet Maslin

Critical Summary

Critics had nothing but the highest praise for Ready Player One, which combines a futuristic cyberworld with old school 1980s lore. Airwolf, Dungeons and Dragons, War Games, Atari--the sheer number of geeky references will have 1980s trivia fans salivating. But it isn't just for them or for those addicted to virtual realities and oddly spelled avatars. Simply put, you don't have to be a nerd to enjoy Ready Player One, although, as the New York Times pointed out, gaming "has overwhelmed everything else about this book." Most readers will find Cline's debut novel an inventive, adrenaline-filled, and fully accessible piece of literature. Or, as one critic called it, "a frakking good read" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).