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Ready Player One: A Novel [Paperback]

Ernest Cline
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 5 2012

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 
   But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

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“The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to READY PLAYER ONE as a 'nerdgasm' [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture…But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation...[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles.—Entertainment Weekly

“A most excellent ride…the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest…fully satisfying.” Boston Globe

“Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don't have to be a geek to get it.” USA Today  

“An addictive read...part intergalactic scavenger hunt, part romance and all heart.”

“An action-packed, highly entertaining, nostalgic thrill ride through the past combined with the danger and excitement of a not-too-distant future. It marries the fantastical world of Harry Potter with a touch of Orson Scott Card—where fantasy is reality, geeks are cool, and the possibilities are endless.”New York Journal of Books

Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it…[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly…You'll wish you could make it go on and on.” —

“A delirious, crypto-nerd fantasia...Crammed with ’80s nostalgia and sugar-high prose, it's ridiculous and addictive and full of toy surprises.” —Village Voice

“A smart, funny thriller that both celebrates and critiques online culture...Layered with inside jokes and sly references.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel…This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight…[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast.”Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The grown-up's 'Harry Potter’…the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. READY PLAYER ONE has it all.”Huffington Post

“If you identify yourself as a nerd, geek, gamer, 1980s history buff, a fan of science, fantasy, or dystopian fiction, otaku, 1980s movie fan, romantic, someone who grew up in the 1980s, or a human with emotions—you will enjoy Ready Player One. If you identify with two or more of the above, it’s a guaranteed new favorite novel.”Sacramento News & Review

“A modern-day fairy self-assured and enthralling that it’s hard to believe this is his first novel.” —Long Island Press

“Incredibly entertaining…Drawing on everything from "Back to the Future" to Roald Dahl to Neal Stephenson's groundbreaking "Snow Crash," Cline has made READY PLAYER ONE a geek fantasia, '80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once.” Austin American-Statesman

“An exhilerating, unpredictable trip...Part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and part The Da Vinci Code with a healthy dose of Tron.” —Asbury Park Press

“READY PLAYER ONE is the ultimate lottery ticket.”New York Daily News

“[Picture] the adventure comedy of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy meets South Park’s Imaginationland with a dash of Willy Wonka, except all of the cynicism has been replaced by sheer geeky love. Grade: A.” —

“A preposterously great read and a richly imagined science-fiction world that uses the very idea of nostalgia as a thematic jumping-off point...One of the true geek events of the year.” —

“This non-gamer loved every page of READY PLAYER ONE.” —Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

“A treasure for anyone already nostalgic for the late 20th century. . . But it’s also a great read for anyone who likes a good book.” —

“A gunshot of fun with a wicked sense of timing and a cast of characters that you're pumping your fist in the air with whenever they succeed. I haven't been this much on the edge of my seat for an ending in years.” Chicago Reader

“A rollicking, surprise-laden, potboiling, thrilling adventure story…. I loved every sentence of this book.” —Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing

"A 'frakking' good read [featuring] incredible creative detailI grinned at the sheer audacity of Cline's imagination.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[A] fantastic page-turner….READY PLAYER ONE may be science fiction, but it's also written for people who have never picked up an SF novel in their lives…”
—Annalee Newitz,

“Intriguing and thrilling. Gamers and fans of '80s pop culture will find many familiar references throughout the story...Definitely an enjoyable read and one that can be appreciated by fans of many different genres.” —

“Gorgeously geeky, superbly entertaining, this really is a spectacularly successful debut.” Daily Mail (UK)

“Fascinating and imaginative…It's non-stop action when gamers must navigate clever puzzles and outwit determined enemies in a virtual world in order to save a real one. Readers are in for a wild ride.” —Terry Brooks, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara series

“I was blown away by this book…A book of ideas, a potboiler, a game-within-a-novel, a serious science-fiction epic, a comic pop culture mash-up–call this novel what you will, but READY PLAYER ONE will defy every label you try to put on it. Here, finally, is this generation’s Neuromancer.” —Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Dominance

“I really, really loved READY PLAYER ONE…Cline expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future.” —Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse 

“A nerdgasm…imagine Dungeons and Dragons and an 80s video arcade made hot, sweet love, and their child was raised in Azeroth.” —John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War

“Completely fricking awesome...This book pleased every geeky bone in my geeky body.  I felt like it was written just for me.” —Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wise Man’s Fear  

“An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.” Booklist (starred review) 

“This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans… sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.” Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week) 

About the Author

ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone.  His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon.  These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games.  READY PLAYER ONE is his first novel. 

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a new favourite. I was born after the 80s so I don't know all that much about the decade's culture or technology. Despite that, this story is an absolute delight. I love video games and this is basically any gamer's fantasy put to paper. There's action, adventure, tension, comedy, romance, friendship, and so much more. It deals with current themes, like meeting and getting to know people on the internet; corporate greed for power; the choice between an ideal life in a virtual world or an imperfect one in the real world; sexual identity, gender perception, and how people respond to it... The list goes on. "Ready Player One" deals with all of these things in a way that's very real and mature, simultaneously taking you on an unforgettable adventure that tickles the kid in you. If you like a wholesome adventure, this is for you. If you like adventures AND you like video games, this is even more for you. And if you're just a big geek, then knock yourself out. Really, I'd say this is a book for anyone to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down! Aug. 22 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A beautiful mosaic of geek culture. Even without the nostalgia of 80s references, this book consumed me with its solid plot and very "real" characters.

The social commentary is very real as well, reminding us all not to forget to put down technology once in a while and enjoy the real world.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, missing something Aug. 11 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great premise, 80s nostalgia, and intriguing twists carry the story well. I did not enjoy the story telling, which fell short in being able to be captive or enthralling. Many sequences lacked enough build and details to be immersive, so the potential of an epic tale was never reached.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Where do I start? I should first mention that I spent a lot of time in the 80's playing many of the video games mentioned in the book, as well as watching the movies and music of that era. So perhaps for me the story was more interesting as it was more relevant. I can't say for sure. I loved it though. The idea of a future where we spend most of our time hooked into a virtual world seemed plausible, and the fact that the protagonist was an atheist was also nice as I could relate to that as well. I literally couldn't put the book down. I actually listened to it while at work, which I have never done with an audio book before. I just couldn't stop listening to it. Will Whedon did an awesome job of reading it. He added just enough flair where needed and his acting skills really seemed to add something to the characters in the story. It killed my productivity for a day, but man was it worth it. So many kewl details and interesting trivia. Even if you don't like the 80's, it may still appeal to you. There are large evil corporations, and amazing battles with manga characters. Really amazing book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and fun read June 23 2014
By Nik
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is page turner, easy to read and suspenseful. I feel those who were serious gamers in the 80's would really appreciate it more as there are tons of references to old computer games.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! June 16 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ready Player One kept my attention from beginning to end. It is smart, witty, thought-provoking, with lots of nostalgia for those who lived through the 80s, while still being an interesting dystopia for a new generation of readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic June 6 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The perfect combination of classic videogame and pop culture nostalgia. References will make you laugh and bring you back to your youth. Highly reccommend.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My Thoughts:

1. Just like a real videogame, the plot had me addicted from the start. For me, being a medium gamer, I LOVED all the old classic 80's references. It's geeky, sci-fi and fun, all in one!

2. The author does an amazing job building such an intricate and yet simple, futuristic technological world. It felt like I was actually playing the game and experiencing virtual reality through the character.

3. Flawless. Is what I would describe the plot, the writing, and pacing. Cline's writing style seem so effortless and yet detailed enough for the reader to fully experience the story.

4. What I enjoyed most about the plot is that it has a realistic quality and believable element. Most dystopian or sci-fi novels I've read have far-fetched and over-the-top ideas that end up ruining the book. It's scary to think about how much time in our daily lives is spent on the internet and I wouldn't be surprised if in a few decades reality will be overruled by virtual technology. Cline does an amazing job with the plot by adding a few fun twists and turns which makes the journey much more adventurous and exciting.

5. I praise Cline for his ability to make so many connections from the 80's and incorporating them into oridinary clues and riddles. It amazing how every small detail plays such a crucial role in the hunt. I was so engrossed with the hunt that it felt like I was playing it myself. It was smart of Cline to get the reader involved and thinking along with the protagonist in solving the game.

6. I really admire Wade's character. He's just an ordinary, average-looking, slightly overweight teen who, like many of us, undergoes a virtual identity to escape reality (not to mention he has an adorable crush with a famous online blogger).
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