Posted July 9, 2013 by Ryan Villanueva in Books

BOOK REVIEW: Ready Player One

Ready Player One cover

Ready Player One is a science fiction novel set in the future where the world has undergone a great recession where people are starving, the world economy has fallen, and human kind has found refuge and continue to live their lives online.  Ready Player One is written by Ernest Cline and published by Random House. An audio book version has also been released which is narrated by Sheldon’s Cooper’s nemesis/friend and Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton.

Normally I’m not the type to read books; most of my readings are spent on comic books. I only read books because of the following reasons,  I’m required to, if I was inspired by the movie version to pick up the book or by recommendation. Ready Player One was recommended by my cousin who also like me is a geek. He told me that he picked up the audio version of the book and listens to it while he’s on commute; he told me that I should pick it up and give it a try, and so I did.

Ready Player One‘s title was taken from old video games start up screens. Remember as you turn on your favorite console or slid a coin at an arcade machine, the first thing you see on the screen would be Ready Player One. The story is set in the year 2044 and people have escaped to the confines of the Internet, in particular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.  Only one console is being used in the future and it is called the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation). The OASIS was developed by two friends, James Halliday and Ogden Morrow. The story begins with the passing of James Halliday. Halliday has created a video of his last will and testament known as “Anorak’s Invitation” which was a quest to find 3 keys scattered all over the OASIS that would allow you to pass through each gate and retrieve the prize,  “Halliday’s egg” , whoever gets it inherits Halliday’s fortune and complete control of the OASIS.

Ernest Cline sitting on Back to the Future’s DeLorean as published by NY Times.

We follow the adventure of a Wade Watts, an orphan whose online alter ego was named Parzival, whom he named after King’s Arthur knight Percival who was known for his quest for the Holy Grail and just like Percival, Wade was on his own personal quest on finding Halliday’s egg. Wade practically grew up in the OASIS; he learned everything he knows on the OASIS because everything can be found in it. On his quest he gets to meet a few friends such as Art3mis, a female blogger that Parzival has a huge crush on but at the same time is afraid that he might be a dude that goes by the name of Chuck in real life, and Aech, his bestfriend whom he also met online. Their quest involves travelling around worlds, planets just like the usual role playing games we know and play today. The quest mostly revolves around games and pop-culture from the 1980s. Ready Player One has referenced famous games such as pacman, galaga and space invaders to name a few. Ready Player One had also mentioned movies like Back to the Future, Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Ghost Busters and other famous flicks that kids from this generation would definitely know.

Ready Player One is not only a novel but it could also be a geek almanac. In the book, John Halliday grew up back in the 80s and before his death he wrote a novel named “Anorak’s Almanac” which documented everything that was released during the 1980s. I was born in the 80s but never had any awareness regarding pop-culture until the early 90s.  After reading Ready Player One, it made me realize that probably the best generation or may be the golden age of pop-culture was the 1980s. Not taking anything away from other generations, the 1980s was the time wherein geek culture probably even started. Video games became popular during the 80s, consoles started to be manufactured, movies became so popular that it even had its own following and had built a franchise of its own like Star Wars and Star Trek. Pop-culture today can be attributed to or was heavily influenced by what was released during the 80s.

I actually learned a lot regarding geek culture simply by reading Ready Player One. I even went as far as researching and even downloading some of the movies mentioned on this book that I was not familiar it. That’s how much I liked this book. For me it can even be called as Geek History or Geek 101. Everything you need to know about what or how the geek culture can be read on this 374 page book. Ready Player One may not interest everyone as like what I’ve mentioned, this is book is all about geek references which not everyone could relate to but if the geek culture interests you, or you’re an 80s kid after nostalgia, or may be a geek who would want to learn a thing or two about history, Ready Player One could just be the book that you’re looking for.


Ryan Villanueva

Your resident all around Flipgeek, from comics,movies,games,toys,music and even sports. A big Spider-man fan raised in the ways of the Jedi,who listens to punk rock and a sucker for chick flicks.