REVIEW of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My review of READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline has been posted on SFSignal.

An excerpt:

REVIEW SUMMARY: A fast-paced story in a bleak future, where escape into virtual worlds is driven by a contest based on 1980s trivia and culture and the winner gets billions.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Wade Watts hides from the nasty real world of the mid-21st century inside the virtual world/MMORPG called OASIS. Like many, he searches for the clues that will grant the solver the fortune left by the will of the founder of OASIS. When he is the first one to solve the first of three main puzzles, the real world and the virtual starts in hot pursuit.

PROS: Any book that ties in Rush, Zork, Monty Python and other relics from my past into a Second Life meets World of Warcraft virtual reality gets my vote.
CONS: A made-for-Disney-movie ending; if you donít like 1980s trivia and culture, you may not dig this book (if itís too loud, youíre too young)
BOTTOM LINE: With a high geek and 80s factor, this book wonít appeal to everyone. But Cline lays down a well paced-plot with some good twists, and doesnít spend too much time buried in the minutia of 80s trivia, making this an enjoyable read.

I do not propose to trivialize any book with an outline, but letís do a quick plot summary exercise:

  • Guy builds virtual reality, combination of Second Life/World of Warcraft/(insert name of fave MMPORPG here); guy makes billions;
  • World has energy crisis meltdown;
  • People get poor, depressed, escape into virtual reality.

So far, sounds like lots of other books and movies, donít it? Tron, Surrogates and many others come to mind (and while we are talking Surrogates, can we all just agree that any SF movie Bruce Willis is in rocks?).

Author Ernest Cline adds the following twists to this well used base plot:

  • Guy who built virtual reality dies. But his last email to all users of this world, he describes a contest in which the winner will get all of his billions;
  • Contest is built on 1980s trivia, and involves finding three keys;
  • People get excited, dive into virtual reality world;
  • Corporations are formed, just to get expertise and win the prize;
  • Little guys versus big guys, in reality and in the game.

Read the full review here.

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