A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready? [x]
It’s 2044, the world is pretty much fucked and real life is a misery – but humankind still has its golden ticket: the internet or more correctly, the OASIS who has overtaken the entire thing. Ready Player One is set about ¾ in this virtual world which is kind of a mash-up of MORPGs and Second Life. People literally live their lives in there, go to work, children can attend a school system… it’s the most important thing in everyone’s life. One of its inventors, James Halliday, dies and leaves behind a quest for both, his fortune and basically the control over the OASIS within the simulation. Three keys and three gates have to be cleared and you’re the lucky winner.
The main story follows the teenager Wade and starts five years after the quest announcement. Nobody has found anything yet but you have three groups: freelancers, clans and an evil corporation all looking into the quest. All there is is an obscure riddle supposed to lead to the first easter egg inside the simulation and the knowledge of Halliday’s weird obsession with 1980s pop culture.
“You’d be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever.”
Ready Player One focuses a lot on the quest and you just have to live with the fact that there isn’t any real discussion about the state of society… but then it would probably have needed to be another trilogy and this is really something nice about the book: it’s a standalone! But that’s also one of its huge problems because in order to move the story forward there are a lot of deus ex machina moments.
Clive is namedropping a tone of pop culture references throughout the entire thing and it annoyed me after some point – it’s just too random and unnecessary. Also it’s pretty much unbelievably how the main characters (without cheating) are meant to have memorized basically every little detail of an entire decade. Sorry but no, even if you have no life I don’t buy that.
“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 also hated how the characters needed to change in order to meet in real life. Like at the beginning Wade is this cliche, fat geek and it’s sympathetic. But yeah, of course he is gonna go on a diet and get skinny and of course the girl he’s in love with is pretty much like her avatar suggests – even though she kept telling him the entire book that people don’t need to be like their avatars in real life… Aech actually made me angry because the negative things are all thrown at her. She’s the one who doesn’t look like her avatar, doesn’t have the same sex as her avatar, basically is a fat geek, a lesbian and black because whatever. Yeah, great.
There’s a lot of potential in this book but at the end it’s just a digital treasure hunt with no real ending or morale… but it does have a nice trailer for once.
Verlag: Broadway Books