Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Book on Trial #29: Ready Player One
NOTE: SPOILER BOSS. Unable to be destroyed. Also, prepare to geek-gasm without prior warning.
Author: Cline, Ernest
Title: Ready Player One
Keywords: Video games, 1980s, rat pack, John Hughes, Back to the Future, vintage, OASIS, corporate control, dystopian, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, science fiction, geek, Ladyhawke, Legend, quests, billions, money, winning.
Recommended For: 13+
Sentence: I sentence Ernest Cline to a perfect game of Pac-Man.
Review: Ready Player One, at its best, is a story of individual freedoms and love over the binding, capitalist control of corporations and money. At its worst it is a jumble of idealistic, pro-vanguard working class notions mashed together with Ernie’s seemingly infinite knowledge of 80s pop culture and geekery.
And, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t give less of a coprolite. Writing is a means of communication to others and an author has the right to say whatever the frak they want, through their storytelling. I mean the only reason you’d have to fear their ideals voiced in their writing is if you lack the ability to think for yourself and can be brainwashed by anything you read.
That being said, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I’m a huge fan of the 80s and loved the little tidbits (or giant morsels) spotted throughout OASIS.
At its core, Ready Player One has many exaggerated ideas and failures that I don’t believe we’d quite get to by 2044 (hopefully finding alternatives for certain issues like energy), but ones we can all imagine being very real.
Readers will find themselves unable to stop until Wade/Parzival has figured out the next riddle and cleared its respective gate. I was cheering him on and then berating him for wasting his time. I was hoping Art3mis would see sense and accept Wade, but at the same time I was torn between her and Parzival winning.
The story is simple and reads much like a young adult novel, so audiences have no need to be intimidated by the label “science fiction”. Sure, there’s plenty of 80s junk in there, but Ernie does a great job explaining it for those unsure. He also inserts little trajectories about “Endorians” (Ewoks) and the joys of Ladyhawke for 80s geek culture aficionados. And I will admit, throughout this entire Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ordeal, readers will come across some infodumps that they may or may not understand. I encountered various things about video games I just will never comprehend. For all my geekery, I am not a gamer; unless we’re talkin’ classic board games or Tetris. There were also many strange technicalities, which were either for real or part of the OASIS technology, but either way I couldn’t tell you.
Wade seems like a genuinely good guy that is cleverer than he lets on. He single-handedly gains access to incriminating evidence against the big, evil IOI and gets the girl (Art3mis). Of course whether or not they “save the world from hunger” is likely a more complicated story in itself, so I would not say it was entirely the happiest of endings.
There was not much room to be surprised, though each chapter became increasingly urgent to finish and the need to discover whether Sorrento had bested the “High Five” more crucial. I have to admit the only surprise was Aech turning out to be a “young African American woman”, as Wade put it. Though, this is not something I haven’t seen before.
I tip my hat off to you, Ernie, and hope to see this better manifested as a movie (not that I’m saying the film would be better than the book, but it would make a goddamn good frakking movie, possibly with the feel of Minority Report meets John Hughes).#ready #player #one #ernest #ernie #cline #twitter #book #on #trial #video #80s #rat #pack #john #hughes #corporations #ioi #wade #parzival #art3mis #charlie #chocolate #factory #golden #ticket #2044 #dystopian #young #adult