This might be the most fun book ever written.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a novel that will make you nostalgic for a life you never lived. While this story is set in the future, it is focused on the past. Particularly, the 1980s. Now, I was born in 1995, but I love the 80s; there’s something about that decade that pulls me to it and completely fascinates me. The characters in this novel feel the same way, as they obsess over obscure and long forgotten 80s television, film, and video games. It’s strange, reading a dystopia that feels like it happened 30 years ago. But maybe that’s what makes it so brilliant.
So the plot of the novel is a basic video game plot, when it comes down to it. Wade is the underdog hero, and IOI are the super powerful villains that somehow he must beat. If you’ve played a video game or watched a movie, then you know that “somehow” is going to involve a lot of team work and a lot of outrageously genius plots. It’s a great read, both fun and exciting, but there’s a darkness that swims just underneath the surface. It doesn’t take much to realize that, as much as you want to sink into this world, maybe it’s best that you… don’t.
For you see, planet Earth is in ruins. Life is so terrible and reality so disgusting that everyone has retreated into virtual reality. The life that these characters life is, essentially, fictional. They live in a video game. But if they’re living inside it, and portraying themselves in it, then is it any less real than life here on Earth?
That, my friends, is the true message in Ready Player One. Sure, it’s a totally fun nostalgic adventure, but it’s also highly philosophical. It questions what is real, and what is truth. It makes you see what the internet is doing to not only ourselves, but to the planet. It shows how prejudice and preconceptions ruin any chance for freedom, but how something as simple as a video game can be the escape we all need. Freedom, it seems, is only attainable in this virtual reality, where people can be whoever they want to be. But at the same time, is this freedom really living? Is it worth its cost?
Ready Player One is fantastic. FANTASTIC. It’s fast-paced and adventurous, but it’s also kind of sad. But the best part is that this is a future I can actually see happening.
I’m not sure if that makes me happy or sad.
4 video games out of 5.