by Ernest Cline
- Are your action figures in their original packaging?
- Can you mix a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster?
- Have you spent more than eight hours at a stretch playing World of Warcraft?
- Do you speak Klingon or Elvish?
- Have you seen Return of the Jedi more than 12 times?
- Have you attended Comic-Con?
The story is told in the first person voice of Wade Watts, an 18-year-old gunter. Wade was brought up in a world far different from Halliday’s idealized youth, yet he too sits around watching re-runs of Family Ties and obsessively playing Atari and Intellevision video games, hoping this knowledge will give him the edge in the hunt for Halliday’s egg—and it just might, because after five years with zero progress, Wade Watts is the first person in the world to solve one of the clues. Readers get to follow Wade on an epic adventure.
As I read, I found myself reflecting on Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. It’s not that the two novels are alike exactly, but like Shteyngart, Cline has looked at elements in contemporary culture and extrapolated a disturbingly… I don’t want to say “plausible,” but, yeah, kinda plausible future. An exaggerated future based on certain trends in our use of technology today. Cline exaggerated different social elements than Shteyngart did, but the outcome is just as entertaining, disquieting, and funny. Wade is a tremendous, likable guide through this future/past world and Cline does an amazing job creating a cast of characters that transcend the avatars that represent them.
In short, this middle-aged, not-so-geeky girl can’t say enough good things about this paean to pop culture. Do yourself a favor and check Ready Player One out! In a word, it is AWESOME!