Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline,

Book cover of Ready Player One

Book description


It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending…

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Why read it?

10 authors picked Ready Player One as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

There are few books that will entice me to read the entire book in a day. Ready Player One did. It is a captivating fantasy book that pits the player in a virtual world set in 2045 against an evil corporation bent on domination. The characters are vivid and the action is nonstop. It was a great thrill ride that left me questioning whether the electronic world we now live in is truly an advancement of our society.

Having grown up in the nineties, all the 80s/90s pop culture references in this book got me hooked right away. The conflict is gripping, the story is fast-paced and exciting, and the world-building is immersive and excellent. You are literally in a video game. I especially love an easy-to-read geeky science fiction book where I don’t have to struggle to learn through new terms, words, or languages introduced before I get to enjoy the story.

James Halliday is a futuristic Willy Wonka, creating a fantasy world to bring people together, despite his own social awkwardness. Unfocused on his personal appearance and social norms, yet laser-focused on his creation, The OASIS, he has a child-like exuberance that makes him endearing. Like Halliday, I can hyper-focus on projects I’m deeply interested in. His story of shyness and unrequited love resonates for me, as I’ve had a few unrequited loves in the past, ones that in some ways still affect me to this day. What I appreciate about him the most is the things he does are out…

If you just saw the movie do yourself a favor and pick this up. This book is just plain fun and the 80s nostalgia is real. The core concept of people escaping their reality into a video game isn’t farfetched and we creep closer to this every day. Between the birth of the metaverse and escalating effects of climate change the future Wade lives in may be closer than we think.

Another well-known title — and equal parts fantasy and sci-fi — this is a book that has undoubtedly influenced my life. The main thing I find fascinating about this book is the prophetic nature of it. Written in 2011, before social media, blockchain, digital tokens, VR, and overall web 3.0 was what is today, this novel seemed to be one step ahead of the curve. It’s incredible how much of it is coming true, and it’s a fantastical adventure story to boot. It’s original, entertaining, and prophetic — what more could a young mind want? 

Ready Player One is one of two books that changed my path in life.

The book and movie couldn’t be any more different. They’re almost like parodies of one another.

The book leans much harder into nerdy subculture and really embraces life in a VR space. It exalts retro videogames, tabletop RPGs, anime, music, and cinema all while establishing a vast and incredible world to escape to.

The story’s physical world is a dystopian, classist nightmare. The main character is fully aware. All he really wants to do is save what he loves and live freely.

LitRPG would not be…

Let's just get this one out of the way early. Steeped in 80s gaming and pop culture nostalgia, Ready Player One cemented itself as the quintessential VR gaming book for a whole generation. The story is light on deep technology details but full of delightful references that retro geeks are bound to appreciate (I'm a child of the 80s so I was hooked). It is also a somewhat hopeful dystopian tale that shows how the fictional worlds we love can give us the tools we need to fight real threats.

From Ramsey's list on virtual reality games.

As a Jungian author, I’ve been fascinated with the subject of “escaping to a virtual universe” since the early days of the internet. Anything from compelling video games to immersive virtual realities holds a strange sway over me, both psychoanalytically and artistically. For that reason, Ernest Cline’s debut novel Ready Player One delivers the perfect social commentary on escapism, popular culture, and shared virtual realities. Equally pliant and rigid, the intrinsic laws of virtually-generated worlds are often fun and endearing, and provide a beguiling spectacle. Concepts such as avatars, virtual reality visors, haptic gloves, hikikomori, and non-playable characters (NPCs) were…

From Louise's list on inspired neon science fiction.

Now we are traveling to current times. The details in Ernest Cline's book impact our current times. Combining the 1980’s with the future. It teaches and entertains at the same time.

The reason I like Ready Player One, Ernest Cline shares Wade's opportunities for Hope to leave the poor area of the stacks not only for Wade (Parzival) but for Art3mins and Aech the whole OASIS to find James Halliday’s keys. And if you really look at the storyline, The Metaverse imagination starts with Ernest Cline's ideas. Along with Avatar (the movie) and Second Life (the game).

From Bryant's list on sci-fi movies based on books.

Ready Player One is a fantastic book for all ages! Chapter after chapter of action-packed goodness and constant 80’s references make this book one of my absolute favourite rereads. I always manage to find something new to love when I pick it up. There’s something for everyone in this book whether you love romance, questing, gaming, music, and/or movies. Whatever your thing is, you will find it in this book, especially if you were born in the ’80s. 

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