The year is 2044 and the world is an ugly place. The Great Recession has taken it’s toll on the world’s economy, resources are scarce, there’s an ongoing energy crisis, catastrophic climate changes, widespread famine, poverty, disease, and many wars. In 2012, an online simulation was released that changed the life of many across the world, as people of all ages and backgrounds spend every waking hour on it, the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation (OASIS). This is the world created in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The internet and gaming culture has evolved into the OASIS simulation created by James Halliday and Ogden Marrow of Gregarious Simulation System (GSS). Halliday, with no other living family members, dies suddenly leaving only a video will and a book, Anorak’s Almanac, a book written by James Halliday’s avatar Anorak in OASIS. The video says that whoever finds the three keys, Copper, Jade, Crystal, hidden throughout the universe of OASIS and passes through the matching gate will receive Halliday’s fortune and control of GSS. This became known as the Easter Egg.
Protagonist Wade Owen Watts, who is known as Parzival (after the Arthurian knight famous for his quest for the holy grail), is a poor, sarcastic, and intelligent orphan from the stacks surrounding metropolitan Oklahoma. Five years after the video will had been sent out publicly, Wade stumbles upon the meaning of the first riddle and finds the first key, solving the first gate. On his quest to find the Easter Egg, Wade befriends Aech (Helen Harris), Art3mis (Samantha Evelyn Cook), Daito (Akihide Karatsu), and Shoto (Toshiro Yoshiaki). Together, they face the real world and it’s real consequences while pushing through the challenges and puzzles of the Hunt.
The inside jokes and sly references that Cline uses appeals to his wide range of readers, making this a great young adult science-fiction book. Cline uses his love for the 80s and applies it throughout the whole book. It would seem that he even based the character Anorak on himself due to the love that the character and the author have for the decade they grew up in. Cline uses several 80s settings to design a familiar feeling throughout the book and, if readers don’t understand what the Dungeons of Daggorath looked like, they should surely look it up to be enlightened over the reference.
Ready Player One is a thrilling science fiction book that keeps readers on the edge of their seats and makes them stay up all night reading it just so they can know what happens next. Ready Player One can be loved by many, especially coin-operated game enthusiasts and 80s fanatics like myself.