Imagine a not-too-distant future where the real world is such a depressing dystopian wasteland that everyone on earth spends most of their time in a virtual-reality simulation. Now imagine that this world was created by a 1980’s-obsessed geek, and after his death, all of humanity is on a massive quest through this virtual world to find the treasure he left behind.
That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s the overall premise of Ready Player One, the best book I’ve read in a long time. (Which is not that much of a compliment seeing as how I’m not that big of a reader, but still.) The novel is jam-packed with references to the video-games, movies, and music that I—and all children of the 80’s—grew up on. But thankfully, the story is much deeper than that.
Without giving too much away, the hero is a teen boy who has devoted himself to finding the easter egg, the “treasure” left behind by the man who invented the virtual reality simulation known as the OASIS. Along the way, he forges great friendships, as well as makes some powerful enemies. There’s romance, adventure, suspense, tension, and just the right amount of comic relief mixed in.
The book clocks in at 374 pages, and it’s a fast read. I finished it in just a few weeks, though I must admit that I didn’t “read” all of it in the conventional sense. After I sang the book’s praises, Courtney borrowed the audiobook from our library, and I listened to a big chunk of it on my drive to and from New Hampshire while retrieving Meatball. For what it’s worth, Wil Wheaton (of Stand By Me and general geekdom fame) did an excellent job narrating the book.
Yes, I’m tardy to this party, as the book came out in 2011. But if you haven’t picked it up yet, you still have time before the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, hits theaters in 2018. I’m very excited for the flick; Ernest Cline, the book’s author, has written the screenplay, and I’m curious to see how they’re able to bring some of the more fantastic elements of the OASIS to life. Hopefully, Spielberg will be able to translate all of the excitement and the fun of the book to the silver screen.