Nicola Ranger’s review of Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s virtual reality tale set in a dystopian 2045 when the boundaries of what’s real and artificial are blurred.
Ready Player One
The year is 2045. The real world has accelerated along a path of self destruction and its human inhabitants now spend most of their days in the virtual world of the OASIS.
James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS, has passed away leaving behind a contest – a series of riddles and challenges hidden in his virtual world. Whoever can complete all three stages of the contest will inherit complete control of the OASIS. Lead character Wade attends school inside the OASIS (a popular alternative to real world schools) and spends the rest of his time studying retro video games and 1980s pop culture in order to get inside Halliday’s mind and maybe, just maybe have a shot at the ultimate prize.
Reading Ready Player One, you may find that the boundaries of what’s real become blurred. Inside the OASIS, are you dealing with magic or technology? In the real world, are you using the OASIS or the standard real world technology of 30 years from now?
Ready Player One has elements of so many genres and subjects – a coming of age story, an old fashioned battle of good vs evil, interplanetary journeys at the speed of light, nostalgia for the last full decade of pre-internet human life and a glimpse of a dystopian future.
Remember Second Life? (It’s actually still out there, by the way, and plotting its own rebirth.) If we’d all embraced Second Life with the same dedication we’ve given to Facebook, we’d pretty much be living in the OASIS. Everything you ever wanted in your real or virtual life has been recreated in this single, omnipresent alternate reality. Over the next 30 years perhaps we really will all start wearing virtual reality visors day in, day out…Google Glass anyone?
You don’t have to be into video games or all things 1980s to enjoy Ready Player One, but if you are, then this book will be absolute geek heaven for you. In fact, you’ve probably already read it and are desperately wondering if anyone will ever turn it into a movie, but only if the movie can depict everything exactly the same as you did in your own imagination.