#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. “Enchanting . . . Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.”—USA...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. “Enchanting . . . Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.”—USA...
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.
“Enchanting . . . Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.”—USA Today • “As one adventure leads expertly to the next, time simply evaporates.”—Entertainment Weekly
A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.
When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune—and control of the OASIS itself.
Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on—and the only way to survive is to win.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Entertainment Weekly • San Francisco Chronicle • Village Voice • Chicago Sun-Times • iO9 • The AV Club
“Delightful . . . the grown-up’s Harry Potter.”—HuffPost
“An addictive read . . . part intergalactic scavenger hunt, part romance, and all heart.”—CNN
“A most excellent ride . . . Cline stuffs his novel with a cornucopia of pop culture, as if to wink to the reader.”—Boston Globe
“Ridiculously fun and large-hearted . . . Cline is that rare writer who can translate his own dorky enthusiasms into prose that’s both hilarious and compassionate.”—NPR
“[A] fantastic page-turner . . . starts out like a simple bit of fun and winds up feeling like a rich and plausible picture of future friendships in a world not too distant from our own.”—iO9
I was jolted awake by the sound of gunfire in one of the neighboring stacks. The shots were followed by a few minutes of muffled shouting and screaming, then silence.
Gunfire wasn’t uncommon in the stacks, but it still shook me up. I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep, so I decided to kill the remaining hours until dawn by brushing up on a few coin-op classics. Galaga, Defender, Asteroids. These games were outdated digital dinosaurs that had become museum pieces long before I was born. But I was a gunter, so I didn’t think of them as quaint low-res antiques. To me, they were hallowed artifacts. Pillars of the pantheon. When I played the classics, I did so with a determined sort of reverence.
I was curled up in an old sleeping bag in the corner of the trailer’s tiny laundry room, wedged into the gap between the wall and the dryer. I wasn’t welcome in my aunt’s room across the hall, which was fine by me. I preferred to crash in the laundry room anyway. It was warm, it afforded me a limited amount of privacy, and the wireless reception wasn’t too bad. And, as an added bonus, the room smelled like liquid detergent and fabric softener. The rest of the trailer reeked of cat piss and abject poverty.
Most of the time I slept in my hideout. But the temperature had dropped below zero the past few nights, and as much as I hated staying at my aunt’s place, it still beat freezing to death.
A total of fifteen people lived in my aunt’s trailer. She slept in the smallest of its three bedrooms. The Depperts lived in the bedroom adjacent to her, and the Millers occupied the large master bedroom at the end of the hall. There were six of them, and they paid the largest share of the rent. Our trailer wasn’t as crowded as some of the other units in the stacks. It was a double-wide. Plenty of room for everybody.
I pulled out my laptop and powered it on. It was a bulky, heavy beast, almost ten years old. I’d found it in a Dumpster behind the abandoned strip mall across the highway. I’d been able to coax it back to life by replacing its system memory and reloading the stone-age operating system. The processor was slower than a sloth by current standards, but it was fine for my needs. The laptop served as my portable research library, video arcade, and home theater system. Its hard drive was filled with old books, movies, TV show episodes, song files, and nearly every videogame made in the twentieth century.
I booted up my emulator and selected Robotron: 2084, one of my all-time favorite games. I’d always loved its frenetic pace and brutal simplicity. Robotron was all about instinct and reflexes. Playing old videogames never failed to clear my mind and set me at ease. If I was feeling depressed or frustrated about my lot in life, all I had to do was tap the Player One button, and my worries would instantly slip away as my mind focused itself on the relentless pixelated onslaught on the screen in front of me. There, inside the game’s two-dimensional universe, life was simple: It’s just you against the machine. Move with your left hand, shoot with your right, and try to stay alive as long as possible.
I spent a few hours blasting through wave after wave of Brains, Spheroids, Quarks, and Hulks in my unending battle to Save the Last Human Family! But eventually my fingers started to cramp up and I began to lose my rhythm. When that happened at this level, things deteriorated quickly. I burned through all of my extra lives in a matter of minutes, and my two least-favorite words appeared on the screen: game over.
I shut down the...
About the Author-
- Ernest Cline is a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. He is the author of the novels Ready Player One and Armada and co-screenwriter of the film adaptation of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg. His books have been published in over fifty countries and have spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.
April 25, 2011
This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans. In a bleak but easily imagined 2044, Wade Watts, an impoverished high school student who calls a vertically stacked trailer park home, lives primarily online, alongside billions of others, via a massive online game, OASIS, where players race to unravel the puzzles OASIS creator James Halliday built into the game before his death, with the winner taking control of the virtual world's parent company, as well as staggering wealth. When Wade stumbles on a clue, he's plunged into high-stakes conflict with a corporation dedicated to unraveling Halliday's riddles, which draw from Dungeons and Dragons, old Atari video games, the cinematic computer hacker ode War Games, and that wellspring of geek humor, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Of course.) The science fiction, video game, technology, and geeky musical references pile up quickly, sometimes a bit much so, but sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.
May 1, 2011
Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline's first novel is old wine in new bottles.
The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it's free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three. Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival's great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday's obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline's narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade's trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more '80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it's clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate "epic throwdown" fail to stir the blood.
Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.
(COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
March 1, 2011
Reportedly bought for something like $500,000 and already slated for filming, this novel from Fanboys screenwriter Cline features a geeky kid named Wade Watts who gets caught up in a worldwide virtual utopia called Oasis. There he finds himself on a virtual treasure hunt for a very real treasure. Described by Firstshowing.net as a blend of Avatar, The Matrix, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, this book promises to be really, really big. Get it, probably in multiples.
Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Starred review from May 15, 2011
Young Wade Watts takes refuge in the OASIS, the globally networked virtual reality that nearly all of humanity relies on. Its 2044, the year before the Singularity futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts will inextricably unite humans and computers. Life on earth is bleak and sinister, thanks to failure to avert global warming and the oil crisis. An orphan, Wade lives in the Stacks, a vast slum comprising trailers piled in precarious towers, but keeps to his hideout, where he attends school online, plays video games, and sends his avatar, Parzival, to visit with Aech, his only friend. Fanboys (2009) screenwriter Cline brings his geeky ardor for 1980s pop culture to his first novel, an exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyberquest. Wade/Parzival, Aech, a droll blogger calling herself Art3mis, and two Japanese brothers embark on a grandly esoteric and potentially life-changing virtual Easter egg hunt and end up doing battle with a soulless corporation. Mind-twisting settings, nail-biting action, amusing banter, and unabashed sentiment make for a smart and charming Arthurian tale that will score high with gamers, fantasy and sf fans, and everyone else who loves stories of bumbling romance and unexpected valor. With a movie version in the works, Clines imaginative, rollicking, coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)
- Janet Maslin, The New York Times "The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to READY PLAYER ONE as a 'nerdgasm' [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture...But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative."
- Entertainment Weekly "Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation...[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles."
- Boston Globe "A most excellent ride...the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest...fully satisfying."
- USA Today "Enchanting...Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don't have to be a geek to get it."
- New York Journal of Books "An action-packed, highly entertaining, nostalgic thrill ride through the past combined with the danger and excitement of a not-too-distant future. It marries the fantastical world of Harry Potter with a touch of Orson Scott Card--where fantasy is reality, geeks are cool, and the possibilities are endless."
- NPR.org "Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it...[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly...You'll wish you could make it go on and on."
- Village Voice "A delirious, crypto-nerd fantasia...Crammed with '80s nostalgia and sugar-high prose, it's ridiculous and addictive and full of toy surprises."
- San Francisco Chronicle "A smart, funny thriller that both celebrates and critiques online culture...Layered with inside jokes and sly references."
- Cleveland Plain Dealer "A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel...This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight...[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast."
- Huffington Post "The grown-up's 'Harry Potter'...the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. READY PLAYER ONE has it all."
- Sacramento News & Review "If you identify yourself as a nerd, geek, gamer, 1980s history buff, a fan of science, fantasy, or dystopian fiction, otaku, 1980s movie fan, romantic, someone who grew up in the 1980s, or a human with emotions--you will enjoy Ready Player One. If you identify with two or more of the above, it's a guaranteed new favorite novel."
- Long Island Press "A modern-day fairy tale...so self-assured and enthralling that it's hard to believe this is his first novel."
- Austin American-Statesman "Incredibly entertaining...Drawing on everything from "Back to the Future" to Roald Dahl to Neal Stephenson's groundbreaking "Snow Crash," Cline has made READY PLAYER ONE a geek fantasia, '80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once."
- Asbury Park Press "An exhilerating, unpredictable trip...Part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and part The Da Vinci Code with a healthy dose of Tron."
- New York Daily News "READY PLAYER ONE is the ultimate lottery ticket."
- AVClub.com "[Picture] the adventure comedy of Mike Judge's Idiocracy meets South Park's Imaginationland with a dash of Willy Wonka, except all of the cynicism has been replaced by sheer geeky love. Grade: A."
- HitFix.com "A preposterously great read and a richly imagined science-fiction world that uses the very idea of nostalgia as a thematic jumping-off point...One of the true geek events of the year."
- Charlaine Harris, #1 New Yor "This non-gamer loved every page of READY PLAYER ONE."
PublisherRandom House Publishing Group
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