Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline - book review

Rating: 3/5

Following the death of a billionaire software developer who created a gigantic virtual world, the control of that world is legally set to be given to whoever uncovers the clues leading to the retrieval of three different keys and ultimately the egg. the narrator is a poor orphan set on winning the contest with the occasional help of his OASIS friends, none of whom he has ever met in real life.

The story, through the quest, is chock full of 80's references, be they video games, computers, films, or songs. All these references happen to be part of the deceased billionaire's cultural baggage, but really they're an unabashed excuse to revisit a period and revel in the nostalgia, thick and syrupy.

It's hard to complain about it, however. Wade's quest for keys in a recreation of a historical period is a stand-in for just about anyone's search for meaning in the many meanders of the cultural past.

The key (see what I did there) to appreciating this novel is not to look at it too closely. The Japanese buddy Shoto speaks American too well, the love story is trite and unsurprising (OMG I've never seen her in real life what does she look like), and the some clues are obvious enough that it's hard to believe that no one got them through simple artificial intelligence programs. Other than that, it's a rollicking good, bro-tastic ride, fun and feisty.

There's even a men-becoming-gods subtext to it, made believable by the virtual world.

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