Ready Player One

I’m going to review this terrific book I just finished but I must digress a bit first to explain how I came to acquire it. It arrived mysteriously in the post in a parcel addressed to me about a month ago. I thought it was an early birthday present but didn’t know who from so Ben made some enquiries and it turned out to be a thank-you gift for washable nappies.

When we left Auckland I discovered a box of old washable nappies which had been through two children – Daniel and Elizabeth. We never bought disposable nappies for our kids. I may have bought one pack once but even on holiday we used the washables. It saved us thousands of dollars and also meant we weren’t sending all that rubbish to landfill – a win-win from every angle. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and so we gave them to an old friend in Christchurch who had just had a baby. Her baby was the third bottom to wear these nappies and now she’s had another baby and they’re getting used on a fourth bottom. They must been getting pretty thin by now.

Anyway back to the book which was a gift from this friend as thanks for those washable nappies.

The book is called Ready Player One and is a science fiction novel set in the future, decades from now. Humans have predictably trashed the planet and climate change has turned much of the population into refugees. The real world is so awful that most humans now live in a computer program called the OASIS. Children even go to school in the OASIS. The creator of the OASIS has died and left his billions and control of the software to whoever can find the Easter Egg he hid somewhere inside this virtual world.

The book is about the desperate hunt for the Easter Egg which involves deciphering lots of puzzles with clues that reference the technology and popular culture of the 1980s. I grew up in the 1980s and so this aspect of the book was particularly entertaining for me. There are also lots of battles between good and evil and an interesting yet grim illustration of how the future could look. The thought that humans may live entirely inside a computer program in the future was particularly scary. Reading the book made me want to spend less time in front of my computer than I already do for this reason.

It was written by Ernest Cline; his first novel. There are a few bits that were unbelievable and a bit silly but overall I thought it was terrific. It’s also being turned into a film. Can’t wait to see it.

5 Replies to “Ready Player One”

  1. It’s one of my favourite books – and one of the few I have read more than once. It’s closer to the future than you probably imagine – with Facebook buying Occulus Rift, they are 75% of the way towards building the OASIS.

  2. Loved it. His follow-up (not a sequel), Armada, is also pretty good. Having spent some time in the VR room at the GM, I can definitely say that it feels like the OASIS is not too far away!

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