This is your Christmas present. I’ll take a quick break from the straight superhero fare in order to review something else in the nerd genre. I’ll be doing this a little more often in the future, but for now, here you go. This is where you want to spend your Christmas and Hanukah money. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was published in 2012 by Broadway Books at 384 pages. While this is his first novel, Cline wrote the movie Fanboys, as well his own sequel to Buckaroo Banzai: Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.
Ready Player One is the story of Wade Watts, a young teen living in a near future where the world has gone to crap. But a ray of light appears. Multi-billionaire James Halliday, a Steve Jobs combined with Richard Garriott analogue, has died and left his vast fortune to the lucky gamer who finds the hidden Easter Egg in his greatest game: a virtual reality called the OASIS. The catch is that the winner will have to know a LOT about the 80s and nerd culture in general. Thus begins a fast-paced adventure thrill ride with references to everything I loved in my childhood: comics, games, movies, TV, music, toys.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I firmly believe that every person who even sees or hears about this review and listens to the Two-Headed Nerd should read this book! Just to wet your whistle: there are references to Ghostbusters, the Zapruder film, “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, Space Invaders, MTV, Heathers, The Muppet Show, the Atari 2600, Adventure (the Atari Game), Sixteen Candles, and that’s just the introduction. There’s far too many to list here. This book is a love letter to the 80s and the obsessive nature of nerd culture and its memorization of facts.
One final note about this amazing book that I need to mention: this is the book that finally forced me to join Facebook. I had previously held off because I knew it would be too much of a time-suck (Spoiler Alert: It is, but still awesome), but this book made me do it. Why you ask? Because Ernie Cline is a genius! Hidden within the original hardback version of the book (NOT the eBook) and only officially announced with the paperback release was an Easter Egg. This egg is the first step in an amazing contest. It led to a portal, in the exact same fashion as the plot of Ready Player One. If you found the clue and solved the puzzles and challenges before you, you would win a DeLorean that had been modified to match the car from Back to the Future. Flux Capacitor and all. Each stage had a delay to their opening in order to allow more readers time to discover the puzzle and complete the trials, this was of course in addition to the task of finding what and where the three stages were. The second stage of this game was a Facebook game, thus I had to join FB in order to complete it. Just so you all know, the contest is over. The final challenge was to set a new world record score in one of 4 classic arcade games and have that score verified by Twin Galaxies. Not being a real gamer, I didn’t even try to accomplish that. Of course someone else did it in 8 days from the time the third gate opened. Ridiculous.
Anyway this book is amazing. Why haven’t you read it already? I’ve already read it 6 times. It’ll be made into a movie and he’s working on another novel: Armada, about a real life Last Starfighter situation. It’ll be amazing.
Rating: 5 stars – Andrew LOVED it.!!!!!
Andrew McBride is one of the THN Love Slaves. He has been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.