Reading the book, Ready Player One, was unplanned but turned out to provide an interesting, thought-provoking read. It's not the sort of thing I usually go for, much preferring epic fantasy, and it did have more language than I like, but I was drawn into the novel by the lure of the mystery game.
Before I go into my thoughts, here's the synopsis from Amazon:
A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.
When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune—and control of the OASIS itself.
Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on—and the only way to survive is to win.
First of all, one thing really surprised me as a reader. I like action in my stories, as I'm sure most of you do. And I mean a lot of action, fairly frequently. It's easy to get bogged down with just the so-called "humdrum" parts of a story, especially in fantasy/sci-fi fiction. So I was really surprised that I stayed interested in this story as I felt that there wasn't as much action as I would normally would want. And that's because the author, Ernest Cline, does a great job with the world and character building, and with his incredible knowledge of 80s pop culture. I mean wow! Granted, I was born in the 80s, so my 5 year old self didn't really get much out of that decade meaning I didn't catch all the many references.
The whole story plot revolves around a world that has/is falling apart and the one escape for just about everyone, even the poor, is virtual reality. Since things have gotten so bad in the real world, most everyone has turned to the OASIS, to escape their problems. Which then leads to the idea of escapism. If we escape our problems how do those problems get fixed?
Now in the book, the world's problems don't get fixed at the end. I mean(spoiler alert), the ending is good guy wins, so it has a "happy" ending. But the problems aren't fixed. I believe I saw that the author was considering or in the process of writing book two, so maybe that's where we see some of the fixing.
Gaming is such a big deal in today's time. As a teacher, I constantly hear about how much my students play their games and how a large part of their conversations reveal around games, etc... I see what goes on. So it's scary to read about the earth addicted to video games. You even see in the story how it changes people's behaviors-they even have a term for the young people who shut themselves off from the world and only live in the OASIS. They are dependent on their families to provide them with food because they don't work.
But enough of that; here are my final thoughts:
-I'd like to warn upfront that it does have quite a bit of language and the main character is 18 so some adult themes.
- if you are into video games, it's a must read
-if you are looking for something to help spur your creativity, check it out
-the book's way better than the movie