Book Discussion – Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

About the Author – Ernest Cline is an author, screenwriter, and spoken word poet from Ohio. Ready Player One is his first novel. He also wrote Armada, another novel featuring a video game plot. After browsing his website, it’s fairly obvious that he derived the inspiration for the main character of Ready Player One directly from his own personality and interests. For example, I discovered that he actually created an Easter Egg in his novel that leads to a treasure challenge!! To win, the contestant must identify the Easter Egg (a URL hidden inside both the paperback and hardcover versions) and pass through three gates by completing three different video game challenges. To top it all off, the grand prize is a restored DeLorean!  Unfortunately, the game is already up and the winner was awarded the car in 2012. However, you can still attempt to find the Easter Egg in the book to start the challenge. I know I’ll be trying to find it during my next reading ☺ Good luck!

About the Book – Life as we know it is greatly altered, replaced with a virtual reality world where the Earth’s population now spends all of their time and money. When the creator of this virtual reality (James Halliday) dies, he leaves behind a treasure hunt within the virtual world to find the key to his billion dollar fortune. Since he was an avid lover of 80’s pop culture, those who hope to win the ultimate game must immerse themselves in 80’s movies, TV shows, music, and of course, video games. The story follows Wade, a poor teenager who has devoted his life to discovering Halliday’s Easter Egg. Along the way you get to know the other individuals who also seek out the treasure and the corporation that employs hundreds of gamers hoping to find it first with the end goal of taking over the virtual reality world for their profit. This corporation is willing to go to any lengths to find the egg first, even if it means using sinister and dangerous tactics. Enthralling, geeky, and with a hint of a love story, this book is a page-turner from the very beginning.

Spoilers Ahead!!

Let’s Discuss:

What were your favorite parts from the book?

  • The incorporation of 80’s culture. I was born in 1989, so technically, I’m an 80’s kid : ) My dad also trained me to love 80’s music, so I have an affinity for that in particular. Reading this book makes me want to go back and watch all the old movies and TV shows that are discussed.
  • The accessibility of the material (from a non-gamer’s perspective). I had no clue about most of the video game references, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book. Cline obviously used obscure, detailed video game knowledge as an integral part of the plot, but he explained it all in a way that I could understand and that drew me into the world rather than making me feel like an outsider looking in.

Which event took you the most by surprise?

  • I absolutely flew through this book because I was constantly desperate to find out what would happen next in the story. There were a couple of incidents that took me by surprise: the revelation of Aech’s true identity, the corporation blowing up Wade’s home, etc, but the biggest shock was finding out that Daito was killed. I was devastated. It always hits me particularly hard when a character dies who is closely tied to a sibling/best friend (e.g. Fred in Harry Potter…sob).

Do you think virtual reality is a realistic future for our society?

  • This concept is a significant reason why I became engrossed in this book. It felt like it could all happen…and in the not too distant future. We’re always trying to come up with technology to improve or enhance our lives, so it’s not difficult to make the jump to a culture where we can escape from our human bodies, create a new identity and have the unlimited possibilities of a virtual world at our fingertips. Unfortunately, as this book shows, the same problems that we face now will still creep into any new world we create.

Answer the questions or add your own thoughts about Ready Player One in the comments!

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