Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I loved this book! I've been recommending it to everyone I know. It was so much fun and by far the most entertaining novel I've read this year. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was such a refreshing roller coaster ride.
It's 2044 and the world is a mess. The environment has deteriorated, unemployment and poverty are the norm. People spend more and more time at their computers, living another life in a fantastic virtual world called the Oasis created by recently deceased James Halliday. Left with no heirs, Halliday stipulates in his will that the person who finds the three keys hidden in the Oasis and opens the connecting gates will inherit his vast fortune. Years pass and no keys have been found though millions immerse themselves in Halliday's favorite 1980s films, music and video games hoping these hold the clues to the keys' locations. Wade Watts is a teenager who lives in trailer that's literally stacked on top of other mobile homes. Overweight and acne-ridden, he goes to school in the Oasis and spends ninety percent of his life as his avatar Parzival. We find out in the first few pages of the book that Wade is the first to find a key and unlock the first gate. This discovery unleashes a wave of other treasure hunters, some of whom will stop at nothing to win the ultimate prize.
Though this was a light and fun read, it was also a cautionary tale about where our world is going in terms of the internet and social media. It's not hard to believe at all that this is what our world will look like in 2044 and it is certainly not a pretty sight. It's downright scary. When our hero is given the choice to push a red button that will destroy the Oasis forever, I felt the urge to push it myself. In the end, our hero finds his way and discovers that he doesn't need the internet or the Oasis to be happy. He wins the girl of his dreams. Yes, there's even a geeky love story thrown in. It's not surprising that the movie rights for Ready Player One were snatched up before it was even published. I just wish the late John Hughes was alive to direct it. It would have been perfect.