Jonathan's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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's review
Mar 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, action-challenge, favourites, humorous
Read from April 16 to 17, 2012

What a rush this novel was. Like any novel it was not perfect nor was it the grandest written adventure ever but it was a lot of fun. I finished the novel and instantly contacted a few gamer friends on Facebook to tell them that they should read this novel. That's kind of an indicator of how much fun it was on the whole.

Of course I may not have agreed with several aspects of the character's narration. The talk about how he discovered that God was a myth and evolution the fact I disagreed with. Well of course it's different to my beliefs but also because the way it was written. It came across as if God's non-existence was fact and that when anyone died you simply cease to be was also fact. Things that I disagree with from a theoretical point of view, as well as other major points of view. I disapprove of anyone telling me what is or isn't fact. I prefer people to explain that 'evidence supports this view' and that way I can challenge ideas and theories for myself. After all what if we all discover in the future that the fact of gravity was a fiction and gravity itself was actually another force? What happens to our facts then. The other reason I disapproved of the idea was because it seemed overly nihilistic which is a whole system of thought I vehemently disagree with. However I became able to ignore these parts of the narrative as a way of the character expressing their disgust at what had happened to his world.

And such discourse aside 'Ready Player One' was a treasure-house of fun references. I was not born in the 80s but rather in early 1994 and so many of the video games referred to I know only as vague entities. Films I have and have not seen were also mentioned and I loved the incorporation of both Star Wars and Blade Runner into the narrative. I also appreciated the reference to various authors and musicians also from that era. All in all the way in which Ernest Cline pays tribute to those influences was brilliant.

And while 'Ready Player One' may have been on the whole simply a fun ride it also contained for me an interesting message. I find that this type of science fiction (dystopian) is an excellent format for providing both powerful prophetic messages, warnings and a thrill ride. The warning here being about consumerism and the allure of hyper-reality. As the people spend most of their time living and dying in OASIS so the lesson is for us not to lose sight of what the real world is. I may not have liked the fact that the protagonist tried to have virtual reality sex but I did appreciate his comment that it wasn't real. That is the warning in this novel. Not to be sucked into the alluring temptation of the media and of the stories spun by the world around us (as the people did in the Matrix) but rather to be focused on what matters and what is real. And I guess as the novel showed that what really matters are people and relationships - not the games we play in life although they can be fun.

On the whole this was a brilliant debut novel and one of my favourite recent science-fiction novels. I encourage anyone who likes the culture of the 80s, appreciates sci-fi or video games to give this a read and see if you are not hooked by the story. You likely won't agree with every moral lesson or ideology present but you don't have to with any novel. What is important is that you see that the story is a fine and powerful one.
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Quotes Jonathan Liked

Ernest Cline
“You'd be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Reading Progress

04/16/2012 page 7
03/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian "Marvin" Graye Great review, Jonathan. I like how you appreciated the novel, despite major differences of viewpoint. It takes a generous spirit to do this.

Jonathan I feel that all people are entitled to an opinion. I also try and remember that my viewpoint has arisen due to my childhood and life and that others may have had differing experiences. I will also read The Northern Lights in the future despite my views clashing with Phillip Pullman's due to the fact that I believe a good story both represents its author and stands apart from him. If that in any degree makes sense.

message 3: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian "Marvin" Graye Your views might differ from mine as well, but that will just keep me on my toes.

Jonathan I welcome any criticism or comments. I very much build and strengthen my own beliefs not by depending on the kindness of strangers but rather by hearing other opinions. I like to think of it in analogies such as you need pain and conflict to develop strength. In the same way as I hear other opinions it forces me to re-affirm and grow my convictions on issues and so forth.

Travelling Sunny I want to read this book simply because, yes, I was a young adult in the 80s and yes, I spent every quarter I had playing Ms. Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers at the arcade, and yes, I listened to Duran Duran, and it was, like, totally far-out.

Jonathan I think in that case Sunny you would love it. This book made me see all those excellent parts of the 80s that I missed out on being born in the late 90s - although if I can I do play some of those old games like pacman.

message 7: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew Great review Johnathan! I saw this in a local bookstore window and was intrigued. Particularly as I am the target market, having just turned 40, I grew up in the golden age of video games.

Momentai Even though I myself am agnostic, I did find the passage on God to be out of nowhere and shoehorned into the text. I have about a hundred pages left to read and it is a pretty good first novel. I do feel like for the most part part that the book is a dressing for an amazing history lesson in all things "nerdy" from the eighties. Still, I am enjoying it.

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