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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Sci-fi

Ready Player One

by Ernest Cline

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Quick take

If you accessed the simulation with a new state-of-the-art immersion rig, it was almost impossible to tell the OASIS from reality.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, 80s

    80s

  • Illustrated icon, Puzzle

    Puzzle

  • Illustrated icon, Now_a_Movie

    Now a movie

  • Illustrated icon, Quest

    Quest

Synopsis

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines'”puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win'”and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Ready Player One.

Ready Player One

0000

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing that James Halliday had died during the night.

I’d heard of Halliday, of course. Everyone had. He was the videogame designer responsible for creating the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online game that had gradually evolved into the globally networked virtual reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis. The unprecedented success of the OASIS had made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world.

At first, I couldn’t understand why the media was making such a big deal of the billionaire’s death. After all, the people of Planet Earth had other concerns. The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars. You know: “dogs and cats living together . . . mass hysteria!” Normally, the newsfeeds didn’t interrupt everyone’s interactive sitcoms and soap operas unless something really major had happened. Like the outbreak of some new killer virus, or another major city vanishing in a mushroom cloud. Big stuff like that. As famous as he was, Halliday’s death should have warranted only a brief segment on the evening news, so the unwashed masses could shake their heads in envy when the newscasters announced the obscenely large amount of money that would be doled out to the rich man’s heirs.

But that was the rub. James Halliday had no heirs.

He had died a sixty-seven-year-old bachelor, with no living relatives and, by most accounts, without a single friend. He’d spent the last fifteen years of his life in self-imposed isolation, during which time—if the rumors were to be believed—he’d gone completely insane.

So the real jaw-dropping news that January morning, the news that had everyone from Toronto to Tokyo crapping in their cornflakes, concerned the contents of Halliday’s last will and testament, and the fate of his vast fortune.

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Why I love it

This book perfectly predicts the world's future in 2044. Or, more precisely: assuming we're all going to be spending our waking hours plugged into a virtual reality video game solving puzzles in search of the key to control of the internet, it'll probably play out just the way this book says. Ready Player One is a fantastical trip into our collective gamer-geek future, all wrapped up in a nostalgic homage to Atari-style video games and 1980?s pop culture. (Joust anyone? Q-Bert?) It?s a grand adventure where the future of the world can only be saved by teenage avatars, who also happen to fall in love. C'mon: what's better than that?

Member ratings (8,359)

  • Arlene B.

    Richmond, VA

    Exciting & visually engaging: a book you’d love to see on the big screen (but, don’t, I tried to, and ugh!): that’s just how enthralling the descriptions and details are: u can “see” it while reading.

  • Alex M.

    Spring, TX

    An entertaining & action packed adventure, full of characters and references of 80s video games & movies. One dimensional at times, the creativity behind the “how” and “where” of the plot is gripping.

  • Rachael B.

    Somerset, KY

    This was my first introduction to the sci-fi genre and is hands down my favorite book of all time. If you grew up in the 80’s/90’s playing video games, you’ll especially appreciate this book. 5⭐️

  • Jenna C.

    Aliquippa, PA

    I’ve typically had a hard time getting into Sci-Fi stuff, but I really loved everything about this book. Maybe because the reality doesn’t seem quite as far away these days? Art3mis + Parzival forev????

  • Gwendolyn C.

    Verona, WI

    I’m sure no one needs to be sold on this at this point, but so good!! I couldn’t really connect with the 80’s references, but it didn’t take away from the story at all. Now going to watch the movie!

Sci-fi
Upgrade
The Ministry of Time
Severance
The End of October
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Dark Matter
Ready Player Two
Recursion
We Could Be Heroes
The Municipalists
Camp Zero
Golden State
Early Riser
Sci-fi
View all
Upgrade
The Ministry of Time
Severance
The End of October
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Dark Matter
Ready Player Two
Recursion
We Could Be Heroes
The Municipalists
Camp Zero
Golden State
Early Riser