Ready Player One
When my wife told me that I must read this book, and made a special trip to a Barns and Noble book store just to purchase it for me, I found it kinda silly. I do read books every now and then, but I rarely get the inspiration to pick up a random book and start reading. Sadly, the book sat neglected beside my computer for almost a month before I picked it up. I looked at it, and never even read the back cover to see what it was about.
Of course my wife had already told me a bit about the story. She mentioned how the story delves into MMO's, The Internet, Gaming, The Degradation of Society, Corporatocracy, and a race between good and evil to win over one of the most influential and far reaching tools in the world.
I brought the book to work, and that is when I found the time to actually begin to delve into it. It didn't take long to get hooked. I read the book in under a weeks time, which for me, is quick. I think the only other books which have captivated me as much, have been the Harry Potter series. As a whole, I would say that "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline, is better then any single Harry Potter book, but not quite as stunning as the entire Harry Potter series put together if that makes any sense.
The book starts off explaining the conditions of the world. It is roughly 50 years in the future, and much of the world is impoverished. Unemployment is up around, I would say the 80% mark. Most people live off of a welfare system, and abuse is common. The world is generally lawless, and crime happens rampantly. Police and the government only care about the big corporations. The corporations have the power to arrest people who owe them money, and enslave those people to work for the company until their debt is paid off. Things are grim.
The only escape for many people, is the OASIS. The OASIS is a computer generated virtual universe. With millions of planets, each of which with their own set of rules. 'Players' may roam around this universe, and engage themselves in any number of different games or worlds. It only costs a Quarter to start your character. And when you do, you have one life to live. Credits in OASIS equated to real money, and many corporations set up shop in the OASIS, and allow people to buy real merchandise and food in OASIS, which is then delivered to your location.
The story starts, I suppose, when the creator of the OASIS passes away. In his will, he gives his entire fortune (and majority shares in the company which created OASIS) to whoever can find his easter egg first. An easter egg is a hidden object inside a game, which, if the player finds it, will give them some insight to who the creator of the game really was. The creator of OASIS, was James Halliday, a child of the 80's, super computer geek, and a very anti-social person. The adventure to find his easter egg, leads the 'gunters' (a slang term for 'egg hunters') and the reader on an epic adventure into 80's culture and extreme video arcade geekdom. Movies like WarGames, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Star Wars, and Short Circuit make appearances, as well as songs from many iconic 80's bands. Not only that, but arcade games that we all remember from our youth are all brought back to life, and you are instantly pulled into the game, and can feel yourself playing them. Everything just seems so retro... But so right. Things were great back then, wern't they?
The adventure gets interesting when a corporate giant is ready to slash and cheat its way to the final prize...
Go read the book.. NOW!