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Last MM: Writers of the Future Contest

Ready Player One | [Ernest Cline]

This past week I finished reading, or more accurately, listening to, Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.   I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book.

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

The story line is a combination of an MMO, 80’s nostalgia, futuristic scifi, and a splash of dystopia.

NO SPOILERS – just my impressions of the storytelling.

One of the things that so enamors me with this book is the world building.  The descriptive power and story are entwined seamlessly, making for a truly immersive read.

The amount of research that must have gone into this book is staggering.  There are so many 1980’s facts and trivia, it makes me wonder if he just wrote everything he could think of down during that decade and saved it for later.  (It’s actually inspired that thought in me.  Writing it all down now, saving the facts for later… ) But I’m certain that he is just really into the 80’s and looked up anything that he didn’t know.  I was a kid in the 80’s, so some of this book was cozy warm comfort food for my brain.

There’s the scifi element.  Everyone spends most of their time in a simulation.  I’m really into virtual reality books these days.  This one was done very well.

And then there’s the video game element.  Which, was really the whole structure of the book.  The story is based on completing a game, or quest.

Which is another great thing about writing about virtual worlds in fiction.  They allow you to implant all the fantasy and magic you might want to, but still makes it scifi.

All in all, fantastic book.  I could not have liked it more.