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?

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

I love stories where the hero is a normal guy that we can all identify with in some way or another and where there is an arc to the story that transforms that normal guy into something extraordinary. 

With just wits and creativity, our hero, Wade Watts, finds a way to survive against all odds. And no matter how bad things get, he never quits. He embodies the best of the human spirit—and by the end of the book, you’re cheering for him. Because he is you (or who you want to be), the "everyman" who stands up to injustice,…

For me, this one is all about the plot and the deep, delicious levels of fan service. I admit these are the main draws for me–but wow, I’ll take it. I’ll often see works of art in all types of media and think to myself that the comic book, anime, and manga master storytellers certainly influenced the creators. But did Ernest Cline just mention Cowboy Bebop? And Ultraman? And the main quest–doesn’t that sound just like something straight out of a PS2 RPG? And all those 80s games and movies and music and all the things I love…

I love how this book is a fast-paced read that explores what technology could be in the near future. 

This book touts a world where virtual reality is everything, and the real world is not a place you want to be. It’s only too believable. Go anywhere in public and what do you find? People on their phones. Even when reality is great, we can often turn to our devices. The allure of social media likes, polyopia victories, entertainment, or messages can sabotage our real-world relationships. I’m just glad we don’t wear headsets in our reality . . .


From Candace's list on young adult near future novels.

Set in a dystopian future where poverty is rampant and the populous flocks to a gaming metaverse to escape the doldrums of everyday life, young Wade Watts must solve a quest to not only save himself, but to save the world.

Ernest Cline’s knowledge of 80s and 90s pop culture is astounding, but he weaves the tale in such a way that you don’t have to have lived through the period to enjoy the book.

Cline’s world building is excellent and Wade Watt (Parzival is the name of his avatar in the metaverse) goes through an excellent character arc evolving…

This book made me happy and nostalgic for the eighties when I was a teenager. Ready Player One is a roller-coaster set in a futuristic and dystopian world. 

Everyone escapes their depressing reality with an immersion in an online game called the Oasis. Wade, our endearing hero, is obsessed with the hunt for an Easter egg hidden in the virtual Oasis by James Halliday, the late Oasis’s creator. 

The person who finds the egg will inherit his humungous fortune and control over the Oasis. The narrative charges along as Wade and his fellow “gunters” race to solve all the challenges,…

A video game treasure hunt filled with movie geek trivia? Sign me up.

I don’t know a single person who’s read this book and has been disappointed. Set in a not-too-distant future, this YA sci-fi novel is a fun and fast read that’s even better than the movie. 

I love how the plot, and the video game treasure hunt, are propelled forward by movie and pop culture references. This really spoke to me as a reader who loves that stuff, and showed me how I could use the same type of film references in my own book. 

From Tyler's list on movie lovers.

Sometimes I like something a little different. Ready Player One is an oldie but a goodie 2011 science fiction novel.

The story, set in a dystopia in 2045, follows protagonist Wade Watts on his search for an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game, the Oasis. It’s fast-paced and exciting. I loved the way the author made his characters and the world he created come alive.

You’ll be rooting for Wade and his friends at every turn. Will he discover the location of the egg which leads him to inherit the game creator's fortune? You’ll need to pick up…

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…

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