Sissyneck's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Feb 14, 12

bookshelves: apocalypso
Read from August 30 to 31, 2011

That one star is probably misleading...I thought this was going to be a 4-5 star book for a good portion of the time I spent reading it. The 80s pop-culture references are so pervasive and so relevant to my life that, at times, the book felt like it been written specifically for me. (The love interest is described as being like Jordan, from Real Genius...c'mon!)

All of the Star Wars, Ferris Bueller, and Highlander references in the world can't hide that this story is at best, empty, and at worst, ugly. Rote plotting, un-earned dickensian coincidences, clumsy deus ex machina (I still don't know how to pluralize that term), the worst kind of tokenism disguised as actually valuing diversity, a profound neglect of the complexities of the real/virtual world dichotomy...Cline has adopted some of the style of Gibson and Stephenson, but none of the substance.
In a nice manifestation of the novel's lack of self-awareness, Cline at one point derides the villains of the book for simply using "Johnny 5" style robots from Short Circuit instead coming up with their own design. This appropriation, he explaines, demonstrates "a lack of imagination," a valid criticism that only too accurately applies to the ostensible heroes of the book, as well as to Cline himself.

Update: The plural of "deus ex machina" is "dei ex machinis". Thanks, The Awl!
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Anne (new)

Anne Dei ex machina.

Armchair Deus ex machinis, for multiple machines rather than multiple gods.

Christopher Meades thank you for the review. I'm still excited to read this (I love clever pop culture references) but I'm going to be wary of the actual story...

Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) Hope you don't mind I quoted your review in mine, you are SPOT ON! (

Dwight Davis The tokenism you describe was one of the worst things I've read in a novel that wasn't just blatantly racist in awhile. That alone made me rethink the rest of the novel.

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