Ernie Cline is already a geek legend for writing Fanboys, which we love. But his latest novel escalates him even higher in the minds of geeks everywhere. Ready Player One is one of the greatest love letters ever written to the stuff we all love. If you geek out over it, the book worships and embraces it. This is a book the belongs on the bookshelf and e-reader of every geek on the planet, and here are five reasons why.
It’s About You
Set in 2045, the book is set in a world obsessed over 80s pop culture and all things geek. That means the main character is all of us. Throughout the book and Parzival’s interactions with his friend and those around him, you’ll see countless times where you’re reflected in him. Cline obviously knows how geeks talk to each other, and most importantly exactly how they argue with each other, to deliver one of the most realistically depicted geek protagonists ever. If you liked the idea of Scott Pilgrim, but couldn’t connect to the hipster characters; this is your book.
After showing off his Star Wars love with Fanboys, we knew Ernie Cline was one of us; and Ready Player One cements that. This isn’t a book where someone scanned Google for things geeks like and just slapped references in the narrative. Right from the beginning it’s obvious the Cline knows his stuff by cleverly weaving unbelievably smart references throughout the entire book. And the deeper you get into the story, the more mind-blowingly awesome they get. There are some that will make a geek smile so big, it’ll curl their toes.
Not completely schooled in all elements of geekdom? After reading Ready Player One, you will be. Early in the story, Cline transitions from a lively debate over Ladyhawk and the two Ewok movies into a detailed explanation of the whole saga of Atari’s incomplete Swordquest series of contest games. That part of the book is just one example where he goes into detail to explain what may be an obscure reference to some people. Michael Chrichton did the same thing in his novels to explain complicated scientific theories.
An Epic Quest
The core of the book is an epic adventure wrapped in puzzles that can only be solved by knowledge of geek culture. From the start, it’ll have you enthralled as the puzzles are solved and the next clue is unveiled. Each challenge and solution is brilliant, and as you read the book you’ll want to actually play this game. As awesome as the first “Gate” challenge is, the book just gets better from there.
An Instant Classic
Ready Player One will rocket to the top of your favorite novels, probably even before you reach the halfway point. When you finish reading it, you’ll want to read it all over again. For those who grew up in the latter half of the 70′s and into the 80′s, this is a book for our generation. It speaks to the core of those people, but even those who grew up later will find it enjoyable. It’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set in the most amazing MMO ever made with everything you love from Star Wars to D&D to classic videogames. One can only hope that the movie retains everything that makes the book so great.