Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ready Player One (by Ernest Cline)

This was my birthday book--I decided to take a break from the Time list and read something that would be purely fun, and wow was this a perfect choice. It's a novel set in the near future, when the consumption of fossil fuels has basically driven the world to chaos, and people escape reality into the OASIS, a totally immersive virtual reality that has basically replaced the Internet. But the founder of the OASIS has died, and left his fortune (bazillions of dollars) to whomever can solve a giant puzzle, basically made up of Gen X pop culture references and RPGs and classic arcade games. There are also cute shoutouts to the likes of Wil Wheaton (who incidentally reads the audiobook, which I am totally going to also listen to at some point) and John Scalzi.

This totally hit the sweet spot of my nerdiness and nostalgia, and was a complete page-turner to boot. I think it's being marketed as lit fic, but it's really YA fic. (The protagonist is in high school.) I think if people have the expectation of a slightly over-the-top YA novel as opposed to something with more depth like Snow Crash, they won't be disappointed. Because it does have some problems: some deus ex machinae, some fairly implausible coincidences, etc. (I'm not sure how I feel about the Japanese teenagers being portrayed as samurai, but the book does do a couple of interesting things with gender and race.)

Anyway, I finished it at lightning speed and really enjoyed it. If you're a Gen X nerd and you don't mind YA, give it a shot.

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