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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Ready Player One

I came to Ready Player One by way of Larry Hosken's short summary. Some books just tickle every little piece of me that makes me me, and this book is one of them.

It's a post-peak oil era, and the world's a pretty crappy place to live. Except for OASIS, which is an MMO that substitutes for real life for most of the world's population, including one geeky high schooler. Just like some of the early adventure games, there's a quest and a prize for the first person to solve the quest. What's great about the quest is that the story provides an in-game rationale for all geeky things from the 1980s, which is probably the era geeks of my generation know well. As a result, everything you knew and love from that era shows up in the book one way or another.

D&D? Check. Ancient Infocom games? Check. 1980s music? Check. Wargames? Check. 1980s anime like G-Force/Gatchaman? Check. Mobile Suit Gundam? Check. Ultraman? Check. The list goes on and on and on, and if you enjoy all those pop culture/video game references, you will start reading this book and basically inhale it in one giant breath, just because it tickles all the formative years of your life.

The bad? The plot's predictable in many places. You wouldn't be surprised by the happy ending, and the plot twists while not 100% predictable, does in many places become a bit of a Deus ex machina here and there. The author does not always play fair with the clues as well.

So? Who should read this book and be delighted by it? If you enjoyed Scott Pilgrim, run don't walk to the nearest copy of the book and buy it. If more than 3 of the above references tickle you personally, checkout the book out of the library. Everyone else? You were probably one of those boring people who didn't even smile when you got to the end of my final exam and discovered that the last question on the exam was: "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen tree swallow."


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