Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.”
I’m a bit late logging on to the Ready Player One bandwagon, but I wanted to get in there before the film comes out. So here it goes.
Imagine if The Matrix was a done as homage to all things 80’s. That’s Ready Player One. Set in a not so bright future, where any right-minded person spends every waking hour logged into the OASIS; a multi player, interconnected, open universe game built on a foundation of geeky 80’s lore, from where the users create their own worlds and characters, completing quests to achieve XP and earn credits. Sounds easy, right.
But disaster afoot, the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies and leaves instructions in his will that the ownership of the OASIS be transferred to whoever finds his Easter Egg, which of course he’s hidden within the virtual world. As expected, the majority of planet set off a virtual quest to snag the keys to the Halliday kingdom. But the quests are never easy. In fact, they’re insane.
Part Matrix, part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with enough 80’s references sprinkled throughout to appease the geekiest of geeks, I loved this with every gigabyte of my being. I’m a child of the 80’s and I didn’t get half of the references in this, but it didn’t matter (although, I am old enough to own a Commodore 64). I became caught up in the sheer enthusiasm for the source material. Clines, clearly has done his research and has the knowledge to hand in which to connect the dots and creating a labyrinth like plot that draws the reader in with it’s pure giddiness. Thoroughly recommended to fans of anything and everything, there’s something for everybody in this.
I have to mention Will Wheaton’s fantastic delivery with his narration. Absolutely faultless, and you can really tell that he cares about the source material, his boundless enthusiasm adds another dimension to proceedings, helping bring this tale to life. This isn’t just a story about geeks and gamers, it’s for geeks and gamer, and anyone else that likes a bloody good thriller, with definite messages about friendship, love, and what state we’re leaving the planet in for the next generation. It struck another chord with me about online friendships. The vast majority of humans I consider friends live away from me. In this digital world, it’s easier to make friends online than it is in the real world. Many prefer this as we can pick and choose what we reveal to others. Some say that the online us isn’t the real us at all, others say it’s more than the real us, as often it’s pure personality when we’re online, nothing but soul, and the fake one is who we force ourselves to be. There’s a lot of truth in that.
If you only read one cyberpunk thriller with hard drive full of heart, I implore to have a go on Ready Player One.