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Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 7 July 2012

Wade Watts, a young 'Gunter' or Egg Hunter, spends every moment he can in the virtual online world OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentic Sensory Immersive Simulation). It is accessed by users all over the world as an escape from the dreary reality of a global energy, financial and everything else crisis which has left many living in favela type caravan 'stacks' and living off government issued food vouchers.

Through his will, after his death, the 80's pop culture obssessed creator of OASIS, James Halliday, reveals that he has hidden an easter egg within the OASIS and that the first person to find it will be handed his fortune and control of the OASIS. Immediatly, the OASIS becomes a frenzy of hunting activity. However, without anyone coming remotely close to uncovering Halliday's secret, interest begins to wane. That is, until a name finally appears in top spot on the hunts scoreboard. Parzival, the avatar of Wade Watts. Suddenly, the hunt is on and Watts is the centre of attention throughout the OASIS, finding himself in danger in both the real and virtual worlds.

The natural progression to Neuromancer, The Matrix and the like. Cline pre-empts the next manifestation of virtual reality as something common, accepted and self inflicted. His views on the whole retro movement shine through his protagonist Wade, who ultimately loves the "classics" genuinely, in respect to his idol Halliday, unlike so many "poseurs" who only do so because it is cool or research for the hunt.

This cyber punk collage of 80s and 90s pop culture references is a fun action adventure page turner for nostalgic geeks and non-geeks alike. Ready Player One is a story about solitude, escape and the search for happiness.