In Janurary, I made a promise to myself to start reading more books.
My obligations as comic book reviewer along with all the writing that had to be done, had really done a number on my reading for pleasure both in terms of books and comics. But books suffered a little more. I picked up a few books and with Ready Player One recommended by a friend, I started with it.
And was glad I did.
Wade Watts (aka Parzival) is a poor teen who lives in the “stacks” (a trailer park with trailers stacked upon one another) with his abusive aunt and pretty much nothing to his name but a government provided OASIS head set and gloves. The OASIS is the worlds largest virtual system that is best described if you took Second Life and World of Warcraft and every MMO, video game, movie and pop culture universe and slammed them all together. Wade is “gunter” who has been trying to crack the code of Halliday’s Egg; a contest set out by one of the founders of the OASIS to give away his company and multi-billion dollar fortune. Ready Player One is about what happens when Watts begins to unlock the riddles of the Egg.
To tell you much more than would be giving away too much of your possible enjoyment.
Written by Ernest Cline (screenwriter of Fanboys), Ready Player One is very close to the cyberpunk novels I grew up on (it reminds me a lot of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash) but with a lot more humor and 80’s references in it. It’s very much a book that can speak to our generation. While we are yet to stack mobile homes on one another and our economy hasn’t collapsed, the future Cline prophesies in the book are not very hard to see as a possibility. The film, music and video game references serve to connect with readers around a certain age but at the same time, I don’t see it being an issue for younger readers.
In fact, I’d almost mark Ready Player One as an all ages novel, certainly teenager to adult.
Ready Player One is a great outing for a first time author and I’m very curious to see what Ernst Cline does next.
Now if you go out and get Ready Player One and you want to understand the characters a little more, I’ve put together a quick survival guide of stuff to watch and listen to and play during the time.
Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
A great cyberpunk novel written after the the boom period of cyberpunk, Stephenson takes everything that came before it and really adds some much needed life into the genre.
Old Computer Text Games
Back before computers could handle graphics anything bigger then a block, there were text adventure games. These forefathers of the modern RPG video game had no graphics, so you had to do a fair bit of thinking to solve various problems and riddles. I like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy myself. A lot of these games are playable HERE
If you have never seen the glory that is Judd Nelson as Bender, you don’t know what you’re missing.
2112 by Rush
2112 is a rock album by Rush that tells a bit of a sci-fi story in it’s lyrics. It makes for a good soundtrack to the novel actually… lord knows it’s long enough to almost cover the reading.