Review: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

This book is well written and the story well told, no doubt about it. Too bad, then, that it doesn’t speak to me. I am certain that had I not read stories like Neuromancer and Snow Crash, back in the days, the impact of Ready Player One had been bigger but also I never was much of a gaming nerd. Fact is when my math and physics teacher got tasked with teaching us students to program in Basic, on ABC80 computers – and I admit I don’t remember if that was in 1982 or 83 – I vowed never ever to work with computers. Those stupid text based brainless things that spat Error11’s at me were idiotic. Period. So I’m not entirely in the target range for this tale.

On the other hand this DID change and I reconnected with computers during the late 80’s. Since 1991 they have been my livelihood and at that point I did take to gaming, but only for a few years. I lost interest somewhere at the time Doom turned to Quake. I just don’t have time for such things. Fun, but not fun enough to be prioritised above my family, or to take the place of reading.

Just to say I’m not clueless and that’s why Ready Player One didn’t do it for me ;-)

The tale is told as from the memory of Wade Watts, an orphaned kid growing up in poverty, in a white trash trailer park on steroids. His only escape is the virtual world of OASIS, and he is not alone. Millions of millions of people look at the unreal as their only way out of the misery a collapsed global economy and ecological disaster has left for most of humanity to live in. When the mega-billionaire OASIS founder dies, leaving as his will a riddle and the promise of a quest for his heritage, Wade decides to make a try at it as his off chance to a ride out of misery. The tale is the story of his quest, and as the OASIS founder was obsessed with 80’s culture the quest is a ride through 80’s music, film and gaming.

Definitely recommended to anyone who actually spent time in the pop-stream of the 80’s, not to mention anyone who was obsessively playing computer-based games back then, arcade or not.

For those of us who spent our 80’s time  in other ways – well, it IS a good read. Just not the ultimate nostalgic experience it might be for those who did ride the wave, way back.


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