Wulf Krueger's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, 0_wk_read_2019

Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable. - Anorak's Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1 – 2"

Actually, for me, being human doesn’t suck and yet I fully sympathise with the feeling that videogames do add to life – always provided we can agree that books count as well.

This book, in fact, made me smile a lot and remember a lot of things from my childhood and youth – during the 80ties which feature more than prominently in this wonderful geeky, nerdy story.

I’m three years younger than Cline but it seems we share a lot of experiences and, maybe, some notions about life:

So now you have to live the rest of your life knowing you're going to die someday and disappear forever. "Sorry."

This, Cline says, might be one way to summarise what life is about and how it ends. It’s certainly a very sobering way of expressing it. Nevertheless, it’s true.

In 1979 in the hilarious "Monty Python's Life of Brian” Eric Idle already sang “Life's a piece of shit / When you look at it” and that’s pretty much the situation in which our hero, Wade Watts, finds himself: Living in 2045 on an Earth that has been devastated by climate-change, wars for resources, with his parents dead, he's a loner.

Wade lives with his unloving aunt in her trailer but mostly stays out of her way in his hideout, hidden away in OASIS, an immersive virtual reality simulation that let’s its users escape from the harsh reality. By heart, Wade is an egg hunter, a “gunter”, who is searching for the Easter Egg in OASIS the finder of will inherits the entire wealth of OASIS’ founder.

“Ready Player One” tells the story of the hunt for that egg and the inheritance.

The entire book is full of references to the 80ties and I’ve had so many “WTF” moments, e. g. when Cline mentions FidoNet (in its time the largest private pre-internet network) - of which I had the honour to be a member (2:2437/209 and others) of for more than a decade.

For me, the book exactly hits its mark because of the many “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt" moments: I’ve played most of the games, watched most of the films and have heard most of the music. Cline obviously knows his target audience very, very well, even quoting the right role models:

I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal. - Groucho Marx

I even felt like the author describes feeling at times and, I guess, that’s why this book made such an impression on me – I felt at home, it felt like the book was written for me.

Of course, we tend to whitewash our childhood, gloss over the rough patches we all went through. Maybe that’s why I like this book as much as I do and maybe I’m being played here but if that’s the case I’m going along willingly because everything feels so right.

I’d totally be a “gunter” in the scenario presented here, I’d certainly loathe the evil mega corporation and I'd love to be Wade.

I’m writing this review on Linux in text-mode (-nw) Emacs (not vile vim!) running in a Konsole (not a typo!) window with zsh; right after reading the book on a jail-broken Kindle. If you understood that, you’re my brother (or sister, for that matter!) and I guarantee you’ll enjoy this book.

If not, well, I’m not sure... I’m not sure what today’s kids will think of this book unless they’re totally geeky and/or nerdy because my very own offspring doesn’t really know most of the games and films mentioned throughout the book. They might still enjoy it for the action and adventure, for the unbridled joy this book permeates despite the dystopic setting.

At its heart, “Ready Player One” is more than a glorification of the “good old times” (which the author knows full well weren’t that great) or one of the escapism OASIS allows for (the danger of which the author recognises very clearly as we see when he introduces a certain “device” at the very end).

It’s a story of survival in spite of the odds, of true friendship beyond the confines of gender or skin colour:

I understood her, trusted her, and loved her as a dear friend. None of that had changed, or could be changed by anything as inconsequential as her gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation.

It’s a story of finding love and a bit of coming-of-age. And for me, it’s an instant classic (totally awesome stuff!) that’s going right into my “Favourites” shelf!

P. S.: “I'd heard all the clichéd warnings about the perils of falling for someone you only knew online, but I ignored them.”, says Wade at one point.

I did, too. I’ve now been married to her (in the real world!) for about 20 years and she’s hopefully still reading my reviews. :-)

I love you, C.

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Quotes Wulf Liked

Ernest Cline
“People who live in glass houses should shut the fuck up.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“Going outside is highly overrated.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

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

Ernest Cline
“I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“Whenever I saw the sun, I reminded myself that I was looking at a star. One of over a hundred billion in our galaxy. A galaxy that was just one of billions of other galaxies in the observable universe. This helped me keep things in perspective.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“You’re evil, you know that?” I said.
She grinned and shook her head. “Chaotic Neutral, sugar.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“You're probably wondering what's going to happen to you. That's easy. The same thing is going to happen to you that has happened to every other human being who has ever lived. You're going to die. We all die. That's just how it is.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“You could shove it up your ass and pretend you're a corn dog."

Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“As we continued to talk, going through the motions of getting to know each other, I realized that we already did know each other, as well as any two people could. We’d known each other for years, in the most intimate way possible. We’d connected on a purely mental level. I understood her, trusted her, and loved her as a dear friend. None of that had changed, or could be changed by anything as inconsequential as her gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“I would argue that masturbation is the human animal's most important adaptation. The very cornerstone of our technological civilization. Our hands evolved to grip tools, all right—including our own. You see, thinkers, inventors, and scientists are usually geeks, and geeks have a harder time getting laid than anyone. Without the built-in sexual release valve provided by masturbation, it's doubtful that early humans would have ever mastered the secrets of fire or discovered the wheel. And you can bet that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein never would have made their discoveries if they hadn't first been able to clear their heads by slapping the salami (or "knocking a few protons off the old hydrogen atom"). The same goes for Marie Curie. Before she discovered radium, you can be certain she first discovered the little man in the canoe.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
“A river of words flowed between us.”
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Reading Progress

May 21, 2019 – Shelved
May 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
August 4, 2019 – Started Reading
August 9, 2019 – Shelved as: favorites
August 9, 2019 – Shelved as: 0_wk_read_2019
August 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

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