Kemper's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
405390
's review
Aug 20, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: 2011, cyber, dystopia, future-is-now, humor, sci-fi, time-mower-adventures, craptacular
Read from August 20 to 25, 2011

I originally gave this book 3 stars as harmless lightweight fun, but my opinion of it declined as time went by. Then after reading Armada I fully realized what a talentless one-trick hack that Cline really is so I changed this rating. Plus, his outraged hardcore fans kept coming on here and telling me that I missed the point since I didn't give it 5 stars so I might as well give them something to really be mad about. If you're one of those Cline fans who wants to whine about it in the comments I will just delete it and block you.

Adventures in Time Mowing

After my laptop fused to my lawn mower due to a freak lightning strike, I discovered that I could use it to travel through time.

“Wow, where’d you come from?”

“I’m from 2011. Got a time mower and decided to come to the future. I’ll spare you the full origin story. My name’s Kemper.”

“I’m Wade Watts. Welcome to 2044.”

“Thanks. I gotta say, things are looking kind of grim around here. Are those mobile homes stacked up like hillbilly skyscrapers?”

“Yeah, I live in one of them. We’ve had a lot of problems once the cheap fossil fuels started running out. Life kinda sucks ass these days. Fortunately, we’ve got the OASIS.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s this virtual reality that’s kind of a combination of the Internet and the biggest MMORPG ever made. Here put this on, and I’ll show you.”

“Hey, this is pretty sweet, Wade. But what’s with all this old stuff here in your virtual room. It looks like the ‘80s vomited in here.”

“Oh, it’s part of my research for the contest. See the guy who invented the OASIS was this old nerd named James Halliday. He left an Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS and whoever finds it wins the prize. He was totally obsessed with the ‘80s and nerdly stuff like computers, sci-fi, cartoons, movies, comics and video games. He left three keys to three gates hidden in here, and the clues have to be stuff that he loved. So a lot of people like me have to know all about the '80s to hunt for the egg."

“How long has this been going on?”

“For years now. Nobody has found the first key yet.”

“And you what? Watch movies from the ‘80s? Listen to the music? Read his favorite books? Play old video games?”

“It‘s even bigger than that. Because of the contest, the entire world is obsessed with the ‘80s. The clothes and hairstyles are considered cool again.”

“Really? Well, I gotta get the hell out of here then. Thanks for showing me this, Wade. How do I log out?”

“You’re leaving already? Don’t you want to…Oh, my god! You said you were from 2011? And you’re in your 40s, right?”

“Well, just barely…”

“So you actually lived through the ‘80s?”

“Afraid so. High school class of 1988.”

“That’s awesome! You gotta tell me all about it, Kemper.”

“Kid, why would you want to hear about that? You’re sitting here with enough computer power to download everything from the collected works of Shakespeare to the entire run of The Wire and you want to hear about the ’80s? Just for a contest?”

“I love the ’80s. It was the coolest time ever!”

“Uh, not really. In fact, I think the ’90s beat the shit out of them. That not worrying about the Cold War thing was a relief and the music was a lot better. Plus we got to wear flannel. That was fun.”

“But… you got to play the old video games in the actual arcades, and you saw the first generation of home computers come out. Plus, music videos and John Hughes movies and Rubik’s Cubes and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and….”

“Yeah, Wade. I lived through it all. I remember when MTV played music videos and when Eddie Murphy was funny. But you’re making me sad, kid.”

“Why?”

“Lemme tell you a story, Wade. About ten years after I got out of high school, an old buddy I had stayed in touch with had a birthday bash and invited a bunch of us that used to run around together. So we’re at his house drinking and playing cards just like the old days and catching up and playing ‘Remember when?”. It was a lot of fun, but we’d been listening to hair metal and classic rock all night, and at one point, I was flipping through the CD’s.”

“Actual CD’s! Not downloads?”

“Hell, I’m so old even my post-high school stories are dated now. Yes, Wade, real CD’s. Anyhow, I found a new Foo Fighters album, and I put it in. And this one guy made a face and asked me why I had taken the Guns-n-Roses out. And I said something like the nostalgia had been fun but I needed something from that decade. Being completely serious he said that he didn’t know how I could listen to that stuff, and that he still listened to the same exact music we did in high school. He had just replaced his old cassettes with CD’s. The guy had completely managed to miss grunge and was perfectly happy with the same play list in 1998 that he’d been listening to in 1988. And that was one of the saddest things I ever heard, Wade.”

“But maybe he just really liked that stuff.”

“I liked it too, once upon a time. And I can still belt out a pretty good version of Relax when Frankie Goes to Hollywood comes on the radio, but it was a certain time and place. Now it’s done. I find it depressing that someone of Gen X would want to be stuck there and never moved on to anything new. But it got worse after that, Wade. Because we got older and then the media started catering to us by going for nostalgia trips on everything from trying to remake the Knight Rider TV show to shitty movies like The Transformers and G.I. Joe to the goddamn Smurfs. I’m tired of it in 2011, Wade. I don’t want a new Indiana Jones movie, I want the NEXT Indiana Jones. But no one is working on that because all of us got obsessed with regurgitating our childhoods over and over.”

“That is kind of sad, Kemper.”

“What’s even sadder is seeing it happen to a generation that didn’t even live through it. When I was a teenager, I got sick to death of baby boomer nostalgia and there’d be these kids my age who tried to be like damn dirty hippies by wearing tie-dye shirts and going to listen to Grateful Dead tribute bands. They were nostalgic for an era that wasn’t even theirs, and I always thought it was a waste. Don’t be like that, Wade. You seem like a nice kid. Don’t sit here watching Family Ties reruns and playing Space Invaders and making jokes about Ewoks. That was then. This is now. It’s your time and you should be out there trying to find the stuff that will become part of your own memories of growing up, not rehashing ours.”

“Gee, Kemper. That’s a really good point. You’ve opened my eyes. Thanks a lot.”

“You’re welcome, Wade. By the way, what the hell was this prize that was so good that it got the entire world doing the safety dance again?”

“Oh, the winner gets the controlling interest in Halliday’s company and his personal fortune which is about $240 billion dollars.”

“Did you say $240 billion? Dollars?”

“Yes, so how about we log off. Maybe I’ll take a walk and see if I can find this girl I like. I’ve been…”

“Screw that. Fire this rig up, Wade. Put on some Def Leppard and find me a pair of acid washed jeans and some high top Reeboks. Let’s start looking for clues. For $240 billion I’ll live through the ‘80s again.”

**************************************************

I didn’t actually hate this book. It did a lot of very clever stuff regarding an entire virtual universe. And for a member of Gen X, it was a fast and fun romp down memory lane. It was kind of like Snow Crash meets the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World movie.

But I’ve got a personal pet peeve against people trying to live in the past and since this book is nostalgia porn*, the basic premise did rub me the wrong way. The idea that the kids of the 2040s are just watching episodes of ‘80s TV shows and playing Donkey Kong really kind of depressed me.

*I stole that phrase from Flannery’s review. Sorry, Flannery! It was just too good.

I might have been able to get past it a little easier if at least one of the kids said something like, “Jesus, I hate this ‘80s bullshit. I can’t wait until his freakin’ contest is over so I can live in the here and now.” But instead all of them treat it like it’s the greatest entertainment ever. So even though a few post ’80s things like Firefly or the Lord of the Rings movies get mentioned, we’re supposed to believe that nerd pop culture reached a zenith in the ’80s and nothing worth geek obsession happened between 1990 and 2040? Sorry, but that seems kind of unlikely and the kind of wishful thinking that an aging Gen Xer would write as he pines for his glory days.
1385 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Ready Player One.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-50 of 282) (282 new)


Chip Funny - I just came across a review by you of another book and thought - hey, I should check out Kemper for a recommendation - only to see you are reading the book I just finished. It was pretty fun. Make that, rad.


Kemper Chip wrote: "Funny - I just came across a review by you of another book and thought - hey, I should check out Kemper for a recommendation - only to see you are reading the book I just finished. It was pretty f..."

But is it totally awesome? Or will it gag me with a spoon?


Chip I loved it like I love my dead gay son.


Flannery I actually contemplated writing an entire review like this:

Ahhh aahhh yeah, pick up the sword, yeaaaaah, add it to your inventory. Ooooh, so much skin on her avatar....yeah baby, get in that Delorean....a a Ghostbusters aa slkm;l,......,,


message 5: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie I really enjoyed this review Kemper.....it really cheered me up.


message 6: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink yes Kemper, ditto what Stephanie said.


Kemper Stephanie wrote: "I really enjoyed this review Kemper.....it really cheered me up."

Really? I depressed the hell out of myself...


Kemper Velvetink wrote: "yes Kemper, ditto what Stephanie said."

Thanks!


Kemper Flannery wrote: "Ahhh aahhh yeah, pick up the sword, yeaaaaah, add it to your inventory. Ooooh, so much skin on her avatar....yeah baby, get in that Delo..."

"Hey, baby. Have you ever seen the back of the A-Team van?"

You should definately write that up. And thanks to you, I'm now going to have Felica Day's song about dating her avatar stuck in my head all day.


message 10: by Cera (new)

Cera Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus it is incredibly incredibly awesome.


message 11: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez The sad thing is that because of your review, I'll be listening to Nirvana all night and generally looking back nostalgically at my 1990's teenhood.


message 12: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink Cera wrote: "Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus it is incredibly incredibly aw..."

"nostalgia porn" = I have that a lot lately, wish there were a cure.:)


Kemper Cera wrote: "Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus it is incredibly incredibly aw..."

No, I haven't read that one. But it's good that the dangers of nostalgia porn are being circulated.


Kemper Velvetink wrote: "Cera wrote: "Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus it is incredibly ..."

We can put a man on the moon but we can't cure nostalgia porn....


Kemper Paquita Maria wrote: "The sad thing is that because of your review, I'll be listening to Nirvana all night and generally looking back nostalgically at my 1990's teenhood."

All apologies....


message 16: by Mira (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mira Velvetink wrote: "Cera wrote: "Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus it is incredibly ..."

I am in two issues of Phonogram as an extra!! And I'm mentioned in the notes if you buy the compendium!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/miramang...

Kempner, you write the BEST reviews. I hope you write a novel one day ;)


message 17: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie I second that.


message 18: by Chip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chip Stephanie wrote: "I second that."

Meaning you're hoping for a novel novel?


Kemper Mira wrote: "Velvetink wrote: "Cera wrote: "Kemper, have you read the Phonogram comic series by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie? Because that was my own personal clue-by-4 to the dangers of nostalgia porn, plus..."

Ah, stop it. You're making me blush...


Kemper Chip wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "I second that."

Meaning you're hoping for a novel novel?"


I don't even have one and you're talking about a second??? I can't take the pressure...


message 21: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Oh.....I know you have it in you!


message 22: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Grommes I cannot Like this review any harder without breaking something.


message 23: by Kemper (last edited Sep 01, 2011 06:15PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kemper Matt wrote: "I cannot Like this review any harder without breaking something."

I like this comment so hard that I did break something!


message 24: by Heather (DeathByBook) (last edited Sep 01, 2011 06:41PM) (new) - added it

Heather (DeathByBook) Chip wrote: "I loved it like I love my dead gay son."

I laughed so hard I just choked on nothing when your comment caught me off guard. The book may be okay, but you guys are fricken Hi-larious.


message 25: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric I really enjoyed reading your POV even though I loved everything about this book. I thought the cyber-punk/dystopian thriller hidden beneath all the nostalgia was top-notch, and that the author did a good job not lingering on any of the nostalgic elements too long (like having us slog through entire dungeons or movies with Wade's avatar).


Kemper Eric wrote: "I really enjoyed reading your POV even though I loved everything about this book. I thought the cyber-punk/dystopian thriller hidden beneath all the nostalgia was top-notch, and that the author di..."

Thanks. I liked the thriller/puzzle part of the book, too. But while I like a stroll down memory lane as much as the next guy, I just couldn't buy that an entire generation in 2040 would see the '80s as the coolest time ever. But that's just me. I had a lot of fun with it, but just couldn't get past the I Love the '80s! aspect of it.


Chris McGrath bahaha I am 25% of the way through and just wrote that it's like a cross between snow crash and scott pilgrim. I came here wondering if anyone else thought something similar.. sure enough!


message 28: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j agree except for music from the '90s being superior to the '80s. that is only true in a narrow sense -- the seattle stuff from the '90s, etc.

but when it comes to pop music -- the really mainstream radio play stuff -- the '80s was way better.


Kemper Joel wrote: "agree except for music from the '90s being superior to the '80s. that is only true in a narrow sense -- the seattle stuff from the '90s, etc.

but when it comes to pop music -- the really mainstre..."


All I know is that before grunge broke big, the '80s radio playlists of hair metal and boy bands and Milli Vanilli had driven me to the point of listening to country music. It was a dark, dark time. Let us never speak of it again.


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

j maybe the cream has risen to the top, but after about 1994, the '90s became a bubblegum/boy band/cock rock/whatever limp bizkit is wasteland.


Kemper Joel wrote: "maybe the cream has risen to the top, but after about 1994, the '90s became a bubblegum/boy band/cock rock/whatever limp bizkit is wasteland."

I get your point but I'll still contend that any decade that spawned both Skid Row and New Kids on the Block has to be the worst.


message 32: by j (last edited Dec 02, 2011 01:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

j There are plenty of '90s acts that are equally offensive. Stop clinging to your anti-nostalgia.


Kemper Joel wrote: "There are plenty of '90s acts that are equally offensive. Stop clinging to your anti-nostalgia."

You can have my anti-nostalgia when you pry it from my cold dead hands.


message 34: by Dan (new) - rated it 1 star

Dan Trudeau I was going to write a review for this book but you said everything I was going to. I liked the thriller aspects but the idea of a kid in 2040 watching every episode of Silver Spoons and Family Ties depressed the hell out of me. Oh, and I can go the rest of my life without ever reading an inventory list again and be happy.


Robert Delikat ' wish I had read this review prior to starting RPO. I see the comparison to Snow Crash but I Loved that one. This? ugh... I hope I can get through it. Only a third of the way there. Maybe it'll get better. I lived through the 80's, just didn't grow up then. Maybe that's the problem.


Christine (AR) Exactly. The entire time I was reading I wanted someone in the narrative to point out how unwatchable some of those sitcoms were. Why weren't they watching Seinfeld, at least?


Tammie I haven't read this book, and I still haven't decided if I ever will, but your review echoes my feelings about all of the 80s remakes and people just generally being stuck in the past. So thank you, I really enjoyed it.


Chris Awesome review!


Kemper Thanks all!


message 40: by Luyola (new)

Luyola Adams I think you just saved me. I hate the 80s and 80s nostalgia irritates the hell out of me. (I always say I skipped the 80s, even though I lived through them). So I'll definitely give this one a miss.
Thanks


Melki Eddie Murphy was funny?
Surely not since "C-I-L-L my land-lord!"


message 42: by Kemper (last edited Jun 06, 2012 06:52AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kemper Melki wrote: "Eddie Murphy was funny?
Surely not since "C-I-L-L my land-lord!""


"Buckwheat has been shot!"


message 43: by Tom (new)

Tom "because we got older and then the media started catering to us by going for nostalgia trips on everything"

Seems like he's criticising himself lol


Michael Riley love how you mention safety dance lololol


Kemper Michael wrote: "love how you mention safety dance lololol"

You can dance if you want to.


message 46: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie we can leave your friends behind...........


message 47: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry 'Cause your friends don't dance


message 48: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie And if they don't dance.....


message 49: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry They're no friends of mine!


message 50: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Terry wrote: "They're no friends of mine!"

Yay!


« previous 1 3 4 5 6
back to top