Skip to main content

My review of READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

I recently finished reading an Advanced Reader Editon of READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, and I am now wondering if the crafty author and I were separated at birth. His funny, action-packed near future sci-fi romp, was so packed full of 80s nostalgia, that I could swear we were twins, almost every reference hitting a direct cord with me.

Every piece of this fun novel was packed with movie, comic book, video game, and song references from the 80s, and I laughed at every mention of Crom, Intellivision, and many, many more. 

His character, Wade Watts, goes on the gaming adventure of a lifetime, very Wonka-esque, in fact, to win the golden ticket, or in this case the fortune of one John Halliday, inventor of the most popular video game in the future, the OASIS, where he hid his billions for one lucky winner to find at the end of the quest.

This book was part 1-part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in it's poor boy gets a chance, 1-part Little Brother in its mastery of a depicting a computer hacker pop-culture prodigy in the near future, and 1-parts Butter Scotch Ripple. It had that feeling that every single reference mixed in spoke directly to me, brethren, tribe, some would say. 

Then he did a bit about the band, Rush. And I realized this author was only human. We were not separated at birth. (Editor's note: I hate Rush. I just do, sorry, not my cup of tea.) It's okay, by the way, it did not pull me out of the book, it just reminded me that my alter ego did not write this story while I was sleeping and submit it under a false name.

So, aside from that one, minor point, I found Cline's book to be totally entertaining, hysterically funny, a creative whirlwind, and it is a book I've been recommending all over town.

All the while, the professional me, whose done a bit of licensing in my day, imaged just how challenging it would be to pull off that end of this book, as I've read it's going to be made into a film (I believe film rights have been sold and this is in early development) With practically every major fantasy and science fiction film, comic book, and video game mentioned (not to mention lots of music), I don't want the licensing clearance job on that project. (whew!)

In conclusion--a really fun book. My only criticism is that if you are not someone interested in the culture of the 1980s, comic books, video games, fantasy novels, John Hues movies, pop music, and all things related, you might not be interested in the slightest. For the rest of us, it's a damn good time.


Kerry said…
Gotta love alter-ego authors, right? Sadly, I think most of the 80s references would go over my head, seeing as I only lived through half of that decade and was too young to appreciate anything pop culture beyond Kidpix and Sesame Street. Still, sounds like a well-done novel (but for the Rush bits).
A Shadow Falls said…
The review put me in mind of Charles Stross' book, Halting State. I think it's probably just the near future time frame and that Halting State incorporates the gaming world. Either way, the review has definitely put this on my reading list. Looking forward to it :)
Jayf said…
Hi David,
Thanks for your comment on my post (I really need to update the blog). And thanks for the Stross mention, I've been meaning to read Halting State and now it's officially added to the list.

Popular posts from this blog

Bloody Clever. My review of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

How else can I describe this novel from literary mash-up author sensation, Seth Grahame-Smith?
Bloody clever.

I had seen all the hubbub about his New York Times bestselling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and knew that he was approaching things a bit differently. He was creating a hot new trend.

I made a request for a bound galley, through one of my trusted literary source connections and it arrived a few days later, in a package--just like how a bunch of secret diaries appear at the beginning of the novel, filled with secrets.

So there is my disclaimer: I was sent this book, via a publishing connection, for free. I intended to review it here from the get go.

I began reading ALVH with trepidation, knowing full-well that people were going to get axed. After all, that is how Abe developed that lean physique, splitting wood in the yard all the while teaching himself to read and write and building up that wicked smart mind. 

He was a force to be reckoned with. And with the same conviction he u…

A D&D Giveaway from @theFranconian archives

Every now and then even a bookish fellow like myself needs to make room on my shelves. And where I still have many of my original Dungeons & Dragons manuals and modules, I also still have some samples that had been sent to me while an acquiring editor at the ol' SFBC. 
This set of three: Monster Manual, Players Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, all version 3.5 have been sitting on my shelves for a number of years, untouched, if not a bit dusty. They are in excellent condition and I was planning to sell them but thought it would make for a better giveaway, or 3 giveaways, for any gamer who might have been looking for the 3.5 editions to add to their reference library.
The rules are simple, in the comments section simply retell a brief D&D encounter, adventure or battle, or simply share an image of a miniature that you painted, with a little background about it. Its that simple. Have fun with it. Only open to U.S. Residents. I'll choose 1 to 3 winners that are my fa…

The Art of Space by Ron Miller PLUS a giveaway

Do you remember the first science fiction bookcover art that really struck you? Can you recall a stylized film or television show that hooked you on science fiction? Maybe it was a comic book cover from the Silver Age. I recall Star Wars having something to do with it for me as a little boy. I was hooked  at the pure imagination of it. Other worlds, magnificent spaceships, aliens; all of it drew me in.

I was recently sent by the good folks at the Zenith Press, a copy of The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, From the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era from award-winning artist and best-selling author Ron Miller, and it is a collection that is out of this world.

Miller covers each era of space art, and how it was developed at the time with the resources, knowledge and vision of the artists of the day. He covers individual artists and movements from the decades, and brings to life over 350 incredible illustrations with informative discussion and background on each.