"The year is 2044 and the world is in near-ruins. The Great Recession has taken its toll on the world's economy. The Internet and gaming culture have evolved into a creation known as OASIS, a massive multiplayer online simulation game created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS). Halliday... dies suddenly and leaves a video will to those in OASIS... The video says that whoever can collect three keys that are hidden throughout the universe of OASIS and pass through the matching gates will receive his fortune and controlling stake in GSS." -Wikipedia
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know I have three great loves: soda, literature, and video games. As a human being, I've found ways to integrate the three together fairly well - by reading and drinking soda while my game loads. I never really thought about the possibility of a book that hinged its major plot line on a video game.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was a lightning bolt from nowhere.
This novel has fantastic pacing, characterization, and plot - and you don't have to be a gamer to understand or enjoy it. It's part dystopic, part sci-fi, part thriller, filled to the brim with 80's pop culture and slang.
The main character is a young man named Wade who has dubbed himself Parzival in the OASIS, an online game-simulator much like World of Warcraft but infinitely more expansive. He attends school in the OASIS and spends his time obsessively learning about 80's pop culture to hopefully solve the riddles Halliday left before anyone else.
Along the way, however, Parzival meets his best friend Aech and forms a massive crush on a young lady named Art3mis - who, for all he knows, could actually be an old man typing in his mother's basement. They, also, are hunting for Halliday's puzzles, also known as the Easter egg.
But Innovative Online Industries , a corporate monster, wants to find the Easter egg to take control of OASIS and GSS, the company that owns it, in order to turn the free online system into a money-making disneyland. And they will do anything - anything - to make sure they solve the puzzle before anyone else.
This book has it down. It's got the villains, the unlikely heros, the impossible odds. Even if you're not into games, I most definitely, heartily, recommend this book.