Book Review: Ready Player One
The book takes place in the semi-dystopian future of 2044. It’s not a horrible future (no major nuclear war or anything like that), but it does help to set the stage. In short, our
economic downturn of the late 2000s never turned itself around (30 years later) and oil/energy prices have gone through the roof. People aren’t doing too great; enter OASIS — the virtual world that EVERYONE uses. It’s the concept of Second Life with the game elements of World of Warcraft mixed with the pervasiveness of the Web. In short, everyone uses OASIS for everything (shopping, virtual meetings, games, travel, work, and even public schooling for kids). I really think the concept of OASIS is awesome and hope I get to see something like it in my time.
People, like our protagonist Wade, use OASIS as an escape from their shitty real lives. There’s a fair amount of the book that talks about all the anti-social people that never get out. You know, like Reddit, except with VR avatars. In addition to the all encompassing nature of OASIS, the founder of the company (GSS) who made OASIS, died 5 years prior. He made his Will into a game in OASIS. Whomever beats this “Quest” in OASIS will inherit his fortune (GSS is kind of stinking rich) to the tune of $250 billion. The protagonist, or more correctly his Avatar, named Parzival, is on the hunt for this treasure (and who wouldn’t be with that much money up for grabs).
Atari, TRS-80, PacMan, Rush, WarGames, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Monty Python and Wil Wheaton… just to name a few. The author is obviously a huge fan himself and threads nearly every page of the book with references to the geek culture. Half the fun for me was seeing if I could catch all the references, let alone place them.