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Ready Player One

⛰ What It's About

In 2045, people seek regular escape from life through the virtual reality entertainment universe OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), co-created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Games. After Halliday's death, a pre-recorded message left by his avatar Anorak announces a game, granting ownership of OASIS to the first to find the Golden Easter egg within it, which is locked behind a gate requiring three keys.

We follow the story of Wade (avatar: Parzival), an 18-year old schoolboy who wants to find the Easter egg. Along the way we meet other Egg Hunters (‘gunters’). There’s also a big evil corporation that employs billions of dollars and thousands of workers to find the Egg, so that they can take control of the OASIS and turn it into a corporate advertising nightmare.

🔍 How I Discovered It

I first watched the film on an aeroplane in December 2018, and loved it. I didn’t really give it much extra thought after that, but then a few months later when I bought 2 Kindles (the Paperwhite and the 2019 regular Kindle) from Amazon to compare for a YouTube video, I noticed that the box for the Kindle Paperwhite had an excerpt from the introduction of Ready Player One on it, and then realised that it must be a book!

I made a mental note to get the book, but thought ‘I’ve seen the film already, it’s probably similar’.

But then, I was browsing Valentin Perez’ favourites list, and noticed that on his list of favourite books he read in 2018, Ready Player One was at the top. That was the final nudge I needed to make me buy the book - I immediately hopped onto the Kindle store, bought it, and devoured it over the next 3 days.

🧠 Thoughts

Really really really good. Kept me up until 4am 3 nights in a row. I’ve never been so gripped by the introductory few pages of a book before - usually it takes a while for me to get into a book, and much like a new TV series, I recognise that you have to ‘give it a chance’. But there was no need for that with Ready Player One.

The story is solid, it’s got a slight touch of romance, the ending is great, and it just generally feels pretty awesome to read.

There are a lot of 80s references, most of which were lost on me, but the book is accessible enough that you can enjoy it even if you don’t ‘remember the 80s’. I think though, that people who were kids during the 80s would probably appreciate it even more.

When I posted about it on Twitter, someone commented:

I think if I ever get round to reading it again, I’ll follow this guy’s suggestion and pull up the references as they come up.

But yeah, even without fully appreciating the nostalgia and the references, this was an incredible read.

🥰 Who Would Like It?

I’m tempted to say ‘anyone’, but being honest, if you’ve never been into video games then you probably won’t appreciate it to the level that others might.