Sissyneck's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Aug 19, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: apocalypso

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!)

But.
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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Reading Progress

August 19, 2011 – Shelved
August 30, 2011 – Started Reading
August 31, 2011 – Finished Reading
November 4, 2013 – Shelved as: apocalypso

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 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! (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)


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.


Kirsten T "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..." This is the best and most concise description of everything that is wrong with Ready Player One. So, so accurate.


Mark Hebwood Ah - what a shame you didnt get into it. My experience was your first paragraph, minus the second. I think it is "dei ex machina".


Elliot Cosubei Ah. I got time to read some more reviews. Yours says what mine does, only conciser (sic). I gave it two stars, 'cause I had fun until he blew it, ultimately. What you said.


Lovely Rita Totally agree on the tokenism and well phrased. And yeah, there was some literal deus ex machinis going on!


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

How did I know someone, or group of someones, was gonna find something racist about this book...


message 11: by John (new) - rated it 2 stars

John Castaneda Spot on


Christopher Yep, all of what you said. And an excellent point about the Johnny 5 thing. Their whole world is fully with cloned objects, like the Tyrel Corporation building, and yet that was picked out by the protagonist as somehow being "less than". I don't get it.


Celia Also some uncomfortable bits that were pretty transphobic.


Hallie “The worst kind of tokenism disguised as actually valuing diversity” THIS.

And I agree with Celia above, the transphobia came through loud and clear.


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