karen's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Jun 11, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 02 to 06, 2011

let me get the gripes out of the way first, because despite overall being a fun, escapist book, there are things that rankle.

i have a crush on the 80's (not an obsession, mind you, but a crush. when i was little i managed to simultaneously want to make out with both jon cryer and molly ringwald and to this day depeche mode's album black celebration soothes many sorrows.

so a book that revolves around 80's pop culture sounded like my kind of thing, even if a lot of the references are video game related, and the minutiae, while impressive, could have been made up for all i knew because i enjoyed the atari back in the day, but i wasn't a serious video game geek. (although i did take my atari 2600 to college in 1995 - i was the original ironic hipster - recognize!)

i am getting to the gripes now after one more brief personal anecdote. i used to go to a lot of new wave dance nights. (if i am being honest, most of them were "dark" new wave, bordering on goth: camouflage, wolfsheim, anything box, the normal, soft cell) and towards the end of my going to this one particular club, they used to frequently slip sit down by james in there. and i used to get so irate. because 1) you cannot dance to that song. 2) you cannot go from the sun always shines on TV to jaunty britpop and 3) (but i just consulted queen wikipedia and learned i was absolutely wrong) it is not an 80's song. as it turns out, it is. 1989. and this undermines my entire argument so let's pretend my initial misconception was correct and i am not just wrong in everything i do.

but that was my problem with this book. if we take as fact that james halliday's obsession was the eighties, than how is quentin tarantino among his favorite directors?? or neal stephenson among his favorite writers?? and unless he really loves the meaning of life, what the hell is monty python doing in there? there is a long pivotal scene involving the acting-out of scenes from the holy grail. i don't even need queen wikipedia to know that that movie came out in 1975. and don't give me attitude about geek culture and how integral that movie is to geeks everywhere because trust me, i am aware. and "well, the seventies were really the eighties..." no. this is a novel. the character has built an entire life around being obsessed with the pop culture of the 80's. commit to your premise!! you wrote this - stick to it! it's not like there is a dearth of source material, that's kind of what the 80's were for.it was ALL pop culture.

but that aside - this is definitely a lot of fun. if there was such a thing, i would call this a popcorn book. it is fun and fast-paced, and if you are old enough, you will chuckle, and if you are younger, you will probably be baffled and miss a lot of the slyly inserted references, but that's okay because you have your whole life ahead of you, so it's a trade off for those of us in our dotage. he gets points for having an oingo boingo reference on page two - that pretty much cemented my engagement in the book, so smart move there. and i loved all the swordquest references. because i know i have gone off about this in another review somewhere, but seriously, doubleyoo tee eff??


i am also glad that he realized he was just writing a tech version of charlie and the chocolate factory. that's all i was thinking of at the beginning, and when he finally references it, it is just to say "nooooo this is different." but it is pretty much the same premise. but he is wise to distance himself from c.a.t.c.f., because, hello?? 1964. not 1984.

dunno - this is going to be a huge hit when it comes out, mark my words. and i expect it will eventually be adapted into a movie. and i will buy the soundtrack to that movie.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 104) (104 new)

message 1: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j i am interested in seeing how this translates to girls.

karen i am a girl!

message 3: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j yes. that is what i meant. since i am a boy, as is greg, as is my understanding.

karen i was just being excited. for my gender.

message 5: by karen (last edited Jun 02, 2011 06:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

karen it's fun to be a girl

message 6: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine i want to read this too. I am a girl!

karen oh, great, jasmine reading a book full of pop culture references... i can hardly wait...

message 8: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine karen wrote: "oh, great, jasmine reading a book full of pop culture references... i can hardly wait..."

I know that never happens I mean the book I'm reading now only referenced the artist formerly known as prince... that's so 1999

message 9: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j but jasmine, you were barely alive in the '80s!

karen exactly - jasmine has no awareness of contemporary pop culture, so her reading this... so far before her birth... i am going to have to answer a lot of questions...

message 11: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I will watch blade runner first.

message 12: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j heh -- i watched blade runner right after i finished this.

message 13: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I feel like I am better at geek pop culture. I've played dungeons and dragons. I might not have too many questions about this book

karen okay, i will trust in your geekiness

message 15: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j i am excited about your review of this.

karen it will be soon, but i might knock off the 3 men in a boat review first...

karen i knew plenty of those boys.
girls know better than to quote.

so - okay, my bad - i was watching them in the 80's with my dad, but i assumed everyone else had already seen them somehow, because my dad had.

i take it back, sort of.
sort of.

message 18: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I like the yellow

karen i liked the yellow, too. but it didn't last - i was going through the whole rainbow...

message 20: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j yeah, you can make the argument that most of the stuff had an impact on kids in the '80s, but really the author was just using the soapbox to name his own favorite geek things. he also gets away with it a bit but not making all the stuff he references totally integral to the quest.

BUT it is highly plausible that halliday would count stuff from the '70s as the '80s because he was little in the '70s and a teen in the '80s. i do that -- i should really think of myself as a '90s kid because that was when i was in middle and high school, but i had nine years to soak up the '80s too...

message 21: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg I think those non-80's things were still things that geeks from the 80's gravitated towards, like Neal Stephenson. Great review though!

message 22: by karen (last edited Jun 11, 2011 12:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

karen i knooooow, but my poooooint is that this character was obsessed with the 80's, not with geek culture in general. i am talking about narrative integrity for goodness' sake

message 23: by Miriam (new)

Miriam That is an adorable photo.

message 24: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Such a cute yellow-haired moppet! Moppet isn't an insult, is it? Not meant to be.

karen no, moppet is good. i wish i was still a moppet.

message 26: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j That screen capture just furthers my convictions that duckie was gay.

karen not duckie!!!!

message 28: by Jen (new)

Jen I too knew boys who quoted Monty Python. They were a strange strain of the Boy Scouts who later went totally Nirvana/Pearl Jam alternative. It is from them that I first heard of Python and what to do if someone came at me armed with a banana.

karen all good lessons.

message 30: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j now that you mention it, there was a big crossover in the boy scouts/python fans crowds... interesting.

karen makes perfect sense - i bet they all stuck it out to become eagle scouts, too.

message 32: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg I was a Boy Scout, and I didn't really ever get into Monty Python, actually I don't ever remember hearing anyone in Boy Scouts make a Monty Python joke. I remember there were a lot of Spinal Tap and Strange Brew jokes though.

karen you were clearly not one of the "cool" boy scouts.

message 34: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j cool boy scout = logic fail (full disclosure: i was one until sophomore year).

message 35: by Miriam (new)

Miriam My bf was a boy scout and likes Holy Grail but nothing else of the Flying Circus ilk.

message 36: by Jen (new)

Jen I think the boy scouts I knew relied on Python for all their camp skit needs. I know they did so when they were in a co-ed Ranger group I was in. By that time at least one of them wanted to be Flea more than anything else, and almost all of them had managed to pick up the guitar long enough to learn the first few notes to "Come as you are" by Nirvana. But I think pretty much everyone did that then.

karen holy shit, you were a texas ranger!!

can i have your autograph?

message 38: by Jen (new)

Jen Yes. Of course. All Texas Rangers have camp skit time.

Not really. It was a high school camping group in another state.

karen illusions = shattered.

message 40: by Jen (new)

Jen I will work on my roundhouse kick. You never know what can happen.

message 41: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Shwing!

Crowinator OMG, you mentioned Anything Box! I *just* found my cds of those this week and I'd totally forgotten about them. I was waiting in this book for a NKOTB reference, but I guess that was too much to ask. (c:

karen anything box are way cooler than nkotb, though. and you know it. go dance a number for me...

Crowinator Karen, I agree, but I didn't discover Anything Box until late high school. I loved NKOTB in the 80s like all my friends, though I was pretty much done with them in the early 90s like everyone else. They were such a quintessential 80s thing for me, but nary a mention in Ready Player One that I could find. I wonder if it is because the author and main character are boys.

karen jealousy. all the girls had their attention elsewhere and he couldn't get any play.

Micha HA! I had the SAME reaction to this book, Karen. Also, I'm sorry those DJs made you suffer through James that way. It's definitely NOT a danceable song and as a old lover of 80's gothy dance nights (they play better music) I was cringing for you.

karen we should totally go dancing.

message 48: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Awww, I forgot how cute you look in yellow! CUTE!

Micha Brilliant! I find my black lipstick fom 1993 and some Doc Martens!

karen i have my fingerless gloves and my five-yard stare...

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