Distiller: Hikari Loftus
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Broadway Books; First Paperback Edition edition (June 5, 2012)
I have nothing against video games, but aside from a few rounds on guitar hero in the last couple years, I haven’t played a single game since my sparse Donkey Kong days in the fifth grade.
So I was only intrigued by this read because it was getting such great reviews. It’s about our world not too far into the future from now, and it's vastly deteriorated and most of our resources are depleted. Because real-life isn’t that great, people spend all their time in the virtual reality, OASIS. You create an avatar, complete quests, go to school, go to church— you name it, you can do it in the OASIS. Most people can have entire relationships without ever having met in real life.
When the creator of the OASIS died, he willed his vast fortune to the one person who could maneuver the OASIS and find his hidden Easter egg. The quest is deeply mired in 80s trivia and requires the smarts to make the obscure connections.
I loved this immediately. Its got tons of fun 80s references, and the world was fun and super interesting. You can imagine what that kind of money would mean to people living in a world of depleted resources!
This book spans large amounts of time and the course of an extremely difficult challenge, so there was a lot of “cutting to the chase”. Creating characters, relationships, and keeping the action going is a pretty difficult thing to do, so even though there were points where events were resolved too quickly or were too abrupt for me personally, I was willing to forgive it because Cline kept the tension up.
There are some points in this book that feel pretty mired in references and explanations, but I liked being able to pick up on them. I could see it bothering people who aren’t as interested in them.
I felt like this was more world and plot driven than character-based, so some times they fell a little flat to me. I thought this was fun, full of tension, with a relevant underlying social commentary. I loved it