Ready Player One | Ernest Cline

I finished a book and it was made of paper. They call it: READY PLAYER ONE, and it was set in a world where people spent more time living online than in real life. I picked it up because I was, like, whoa! I can’t imagine a life where people would prefer to interact with strangers online than friends and family in real life. I’ll have to suspend disbelief for this one!

James Donovan Halliday (1972-2039), born the same year as yours truly, spent most of his life playing, and then designing, video games. The OASIS, a massive online simulation used by billions of people in the dystopian future of 2044, was his masterpiece.  But Halliday, like Howard Hughes and Willy Wonka before him, had the social skills of a withering turnip. He  lived alone, died alone, and in the end wanted his company–and OASIS–to go to someone who loved it as much as he did. Wade Watts, teenager, knew he was that guy.


When Halliday died, his bequeathed the entirety of his estate, including The OASIS, to the person who could find the Easter Egg he hid in The OASIS. To find this Easter Egg, players had to pass through 3 hidden gates and succeed in the challenges set up inside.  You also had to be insanely knowledgeable on all things having to do with the 80s. At first, everyone was a gunter: someone who hunted Halliday’s Egg. But after almost six years, interest waned and rumors circulated that it was all a hoax by Halliday in his last, delirious days. Then, Wade Watts found the fist gate. The book is about everything that happens next. Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Matrix.

Wade in his hideout, an abandoned van, while on the OASIS. Artwork by FLorian de Gesincourt

I thought of my brother the entire time I read Ready Player One and am buying him a copy for his birthday. It’s a fun, nostalgic (almost too much), and exciting homage to video games, pop culture, nerds, and the halcyon days of the 80s and early 90s. I suspect it’s a book best enjoyed by those of us who remember Pong, Legend of Zelda, and John Hughes movies the first time around. Everyone else will enjoy the movie, which Steven Spielberg promises will be great.

p.s. If you read and enjoyed the book, check out the fan art. It’s amazing!

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