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370 pages, Hardcover
First published November 24, 2020
“Don’t you kids ever get tired of picking through the wreckage of a past generation’s nostalgia?” He stretched his arms out wide. “I mean, look around. The entire OASIS is like one giant graveyard, haunted by the undead pop-culture icons of a bygone era. A crazy old man’s shrine to a bunch of pointless crap.”
“Jeez Louise,” Shoto said, rolling his eyes. He turned to me. “We’re gonna be looking for Horcruxes next.”
“Or I could just log in to the OASIS, where I was treated like a god, and where everything now felt completely real—as real as the most vivid dreams feel while you’re having them.”
“To me, this room was hallowed ground. And I’d spent three years and millions of dollars re-creating the vast collection of classic videogame consoles and home computers Halliday had originally kept on display here.”
“What we were doing was doomsday-prepping on a multibillionaire scale, packing the ultimate bugout bag—the means to escape the planet if, and when, everything went to shit.”
“They posted a music video to the ONI-net that racked up over a billion downloads before I had it taken offline. Then I sued the band for defamation and bankrupted each of its members. Which, of course, only made the public hate me even more.”
“I gleefully zeroed out hundreds of trolls in this fashion. If someone talked shit about me, I found them and killed their avatar.”
“A few dozen class-action lawsuits were filed against me. In the end, none of them amounted to anything; I was a multibillionaire with unlimited resources and the world’s best lawyers on my payroll, and there was no proof of wrongdoing on my part. But there was nothing I could do about the anger I’d caused.”
“Of course, Samantha was furious when she found out we’d spent over three hundred billion dollars to build a ship to escape our dying planet instead of using that money and manpower to help her try to save it.”
“Then I went ahead and pulled up L0hengrin’s private account profile to find out her real-world identity. I justified violating her right to privacy as an OASIS user the way I always did—by telling myself it was necessary. […] What it really boiled down to was plain old curiosity. I was curious about who L0hengrin was in the real world. And I had the ability to find out. So I did.”
“Since I’d already violated her privacy, I decided to go full-on Big Brother and have a look at her headset feeds. There were ten wide-angle surveillance cameras mounted on the exterior of each ONI headset, which allowed the wearer to keep an eye on their body and its surroundings from inside the OASIS. The Robes of Anorak gave me access to a secret submenu on every ONI user’s account, where I could monitor the video feeds coming from those cameras. Meaning I had the ability to spy on people in their homes. This was one of GSS’s uglier secrets, and there would be riots and class-action suits galore if our customers ever found out about it. But these were exceptional circumstances, I assured myself.”
“Now instead of following their favorite celebrity on social media, ONI users could become their favorite celebrity for a few minutes each day. Exist inside their skin. Live short, heavily curated fragments of far more glamorous lives.”
“And yes, the rational part of my brain knew that the vast majority of the people who trolled us online were acting out, due to crushing disappointment with their own miserable lives. And who could blame them? Reality was completely miserable for a vast majority of the world’s population. I should’ve taken pity on the sad, pathetic souls who had nothing better to do with their time than vent their frustrations by attacking me and my friends.”
“Thanks to years of surfing the ONI-net, I now knew what it felt like to be all kinds of different people, having all different kinds of sex. I’d experienced sex with women while being another woman, and sex with men as both a woman and a man. I’d done playback of several different flavors of straight and gay and nonbinary sex, just out of pure curiosity[…]”
“The ONI made the lives of impoverished people all around the world a lot more bearable—and enjoyable. People didn’t mind subsisting on dried seaweed and soy protein when they could log on to the ONI-net and download a delicious five-course meal anytime they pleased.”Yeah.
“Luckily, she already knew exactly where and how to obtain each of the five pieces.”
“I was wrong,” she told me, after she’d told Wade. “This technology does make a lot of people’s lives infinitely better than they would be without it.”
“I searched my memory, but the only woman hero of a Rieko Kodama game I could think of was Alis Lansdale, the fifteen-year-old protagonist of Phantasy Star I—and that was a home console game. Released for the Sega Master System in Japan in 1987, and in the United States in 1988.”
“Half the world already spends every waking moment ignoring reality inside the OASIS. We already peddle the Opiate of the Masses. And now you want to up the dosage?”["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
I also had Kira’s boobs, and her hips, lips, fingertips—all of it.
We also hear about the main characters throwing money to “make the world better” by feeding the poor, providing housing, etc. Yet, they aren’t any closer to solving anything. I’m very familiar with humanitarian and aid organizations. If they had the resources (aka money) they teach the poor how to fish and not simply give them food assistance. Meaning, you don’t solve the world’s poverty by providing houses and giving people something to eat. No. You create more job opportunities. You give them fair salaries. You study the market, give loans with zero interest for people to open businesses. You teach them trade skills and crafts. You try to rely more on agriculture and industry. But this isn’t an economics class. All I’m saying that what they’re doing of course won’t solve anything. If an author is going to introduce a topic such as something as massive as this one then there needs to be more forethought and research put into it, you can’t use a stamp like here’s a house problem solved, there are far more steps to eliminating poverty then the cluster fuckery I read about in RP2. And someone as rich as them could’ve known by hiring a consultant. Not everything needed to be done on paper, their NGOs can manage things and occasionally check in.
And Wade spent millions upgrading his own space but hey it’s okay because he’s spending billions helping others. Also, I refuse to believe they’re throwing so much money without studying the best way they can spend them to make a real difference… He was complaining about Samantha’s humanitarian efforts, oh poor guy, there are dying kids out there more important for you.
Just chill in your super expensive lounge.
Another thing I disliked is how the plot got preachy. Sometimes Cline just mentioned something trying to mainstream some current hot topics. Mind you, this isn’t wrong -good if anything- as long as it’s subtle. In this book, it was anything but. Other than the Tolkien bit, Wade emphasized more with people with different gender identity after he experienced all sorts of porn in the OASIS. Yes, I’m sure the lgbtq+ community would want people to accept them after experiencing their sexual intercourse… and of course, not because they see them as fellow humans. Oh, he was also wrong about Halliday’s discrimination against women. Speaking of whom, I wonder what else he would’ve invented if he lived a few more years??? Maybe another planet? Mind control machines to “control criminals”? Or something equally absurd? I can’t believe someone did so much from scratch and died not that old.
Moreover, the book tried to be philosophical in the wrong places. The events at the end, which stretched the word “science-fiction” too far and basically abused it, needed a lot of thinking and analyzing before taking course. But our characters didn’t spare the ethics of them a second. We couldn’t ask everyone, surely, so we did what we want without their consent. I can’t talk about this issue much because of spoilers. But suffice to say the book took a cliché turn at 25% (not in predictable as much as are you serious? Haven’t we see seen this type of plot enough?). It’s also something I hate reading about (it wasn’t mentioned in the blurb either).
Also, Wade mentioned adult related stuff too many times. Is Cline trying to say this book isn’t young-adult? Whatever his intentions are, he overdid it. (He also tried to remind us at every chance of that time he lost his virginity.) We also got some romance no one ever asked for especially towards the end. Well fits the surreal (even for this genre) ending anyway
I’m also not exposed to pop culture since birth. It happens if one isn’t American, you know? Sure, I’ve watched movies but it was whatever was on the tv. Anyways, I’m no 80’s references wiki. I also don’t play video games. While RP1 was more focused on video game references which I didn’t understand most of the time, it was still tons of fun. However, although this book focused on subjects other than gaming too, like music and books, I still didn’t enjoy it. The references were thrown around at every chance. But if you get them, you’d appreciate them more for sure. I didn’t. BUT they didn’t make me lower my rating to be clear, I already know what these books are known for.
Moving on to the plot, it was very boring. I had to fight to stay awake most of the time and I was simply not invested in the story.
Since the characters weren’t interesting enough this time, I hoped I’d enjoy the story regardless. So we also had a quest in this (why bother with something new if it already worked the first time?) but unlike RP1, the characters have 12 hours to solve it.
It took Wade 3 years to find the first shard (they need to collect 7 shards) and only because of outside help. Which is fine… since he isn’t an encyclopedia. But then. They solve the 6 remaining one after the other. Sometimes immediately knowing the reference after reading the riddle. With barely much thought. It also happened that one of the four was always an expert, THE EXPERT, in the subjects of the quests. Which was simply too convenient. The first shard took them three years to find but suddenly the rest can be found AND COMPLETED in less than half a day? Too easy. In RP1 it took them months to find everything. The plot was a complete mess honestly and it was ridiculous how suitable each quest was to what they know. ALSO, WADE WAS THE MOST USELESS. So yeah, it ended up being very boring and predictable.
The pacing also didn’t make sense. Some chapters stretched waaayyy too long.
Another problem I had with this book is how obvious it was set up to be a movie. Some scenes, like the Prince, would honestly look great on screen. But reading about them? It’s just not very interesting.
Additionally, I’m left wondering and have numerous questions. How is the world functioning if everyone is so addicted to OASIS? Don’t people have jobs to do? How does society survive if everyone is plugged in, sure OASIS provides opportunities for people, but I’m talking about real-life how does that function? Escaping your problems is only a temporary reprieve. Since everyone is spending so much time online, how is the real world running on 5 hours of real-world time per day?? And Wade was so proud, ONI is improving people’s lives… this is a big spoiler but I have to mention it so please ignore if you want to read the book
Ready Player Two had none of the magic and uniqueness that made us enjoy Ready Player One so much. It was not needed. To top all of the issues I’ve had with this book, it was boring. It wasn’t interesting. People sounded like they were reciting references at every chance they got and some didn’t even make sense or fit the scenes. And I can only name a few things I like (the Tolkien quest for example but then something happened and whatever interest I had vanished) but other than that, the book was bad. Exceptionally and horrifyingly so. I would say I’m disappointed, but I should have expected this end result however, my aforementioned slight enthusiasm made me hope for better than what we got.
IT’S GAME OVER.
This book is for… people who are not hell-bent on hating this sequel as a matter of principle.
‘The simulation had now become indistinguishable from real life.’