Although I missed out on the majority of the 1980's, reading Ready Player One was intensely enjoyable despite being stuffed full of 80's references, from the common to the obscure. Wade is a teen who lives in the incredibly grim future–year 2044, where most of the world's resources have been used up and there's little hope for improvement. The only thing keeping him and the rest of the impoverished world sane is Oasis, a sophisticated virtual reality that far surpasses our current reality. When the founder of Oasis died he left keys buried around the many planets he created. The person who solves the clues (all involving his obsession with the 1980's) will inherit his massive fortune. No one has made any progress on the challenging puzzle–until Wade. Now he's fighting for a fortune and his life. I foresee this being a huge crossover hit with both adults who miss the sweet sounds of synthesizer-laden music and teens who've never had the privilege of playing a coin-operated arcade game. Don't miss this one!— Lauren's Staff Picks
August 2011 Indie Next List
“The world in 2044, is a mess. Energy sources are depleted, cities are jam-packed and the lives of average people are full of misery. In order to escape the hardships of everyday life, billions escape into the electronic virtual world OASIS. When the multi-billionaire creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his fortune in trust for the first avatar to complete three virtual quests. Wade Watts, a lonely teenage misfit, decides to compete and win the prize. Filled with references to 1970s and '80s pop culture, Ready Player One is a love story, a quest novel and a parable for the electronic age.”
— John Hoover, Misty Valley Books, Chester, VT
Fall '12 Reading Group List
“The world in 2044 is a mess. Energy sources are depleted, cities are jam-packed, and the lives of average people are full of misery. In order to escape the hardships of everyday life, billions escape into the electronic virtual world OASIS. When the multi-billionaire creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his fortune in trust for the first avatar to complete three virtual quests. Wade Watts, a lonely teenage misfit, decides to compete and win the prize. Filled with references to 1970s and '80s pop culture, Ready Player One is a love story, a quest novel, and a parable for the electronic age.”
— John Hoover, Misty Valley Books, Chester, VT
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut--part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by "Blade Runner," and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to" win." But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
About the Author
ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film" Fanboys," much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games. READY PLAYER ONE is his first novel.