Sunday, February 23, 2014

BOOK: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

audiobook, 15 h 40 min
read by Wil Wheaton

This book was almost a little too predictable, and a little too much adventure/video game descriptions, but oh what a ride! When I saw that it was almost 16 hours on audiobook, only the promise of Wil Wheaton reading it made me take that route. I was worried about getting through that long of an audiobook in the three weeks that I would have it. Keep in mind, my 'commute' each way is 8-10 minutes to work, so I don't get a lot of listening done that way. However, I managed to listen to it in about ten days as I couldn't stop listening. The suspense! The action! The plot twists! The 80s references! So much good in this (that I could ignore that I was pretty well able to predict much of the dialogue)

Confession: I am a child of the 80s - graduated from high school in 1985, so covering junior high through university for the decade. I have so many cultural markers during this time. Not so much with the video games - a little Pac-Man, a little NES/Mario World, but I did recognize movies and TV shows. Plus, Wil Wheaton? from Stand By Me? One of my favorite movies (and my first date with my husband.) I was inclined to like this book regardless. The fact that I couldn't put it down ended up being super bonus.

Plot: A future world, with a on-line virtual world, the Oasis, where people can live a life. The designer of Oasis, when he died, released in his will, The Contest, whereby he had hidden an 'easter egg' inside the Oasis, which was filled with 80s references. By immersing yourself in his life, the clues would supposedly help you find the egg, and inherit his fortune and control of Oasis. A young 17 year old narrates his quest, with some virtual friends he has never met, plus a conglomerate 'bad guy' to contend with. There were a few places where I was worried it was only going to be a description of video game action, but it wasn't. Instead, War Games reference. Or Rush. Or Family Ties. Or Search for the Holy Grail.

The fact that you can see how kids in the future could easily get immersed in a virtual world gave this dystopian novel some scary themes. The real-life world was pretty dark, and the Oasis was a much safer place. But mostly it's just fun, adventure, and 80s culture. Awesome!