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Upload vs. Ready Player One

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message 1: by Mark (last edited Dec 28, 2012 11:05PM) (new) - added it

Mark If you look at the Kirkus review for Ready Player One, Upload is listed as a suggested similar title. Both are accessible near-future science-fiction novels, set in dystopian worlds where virtual reality has taken precedence over "reality prime" (a term from Upload). Beyond this obvious similarity, to what degree do you think it makes sense to compare one to the other?

In William Cline's much-discussed review of Ready Player One, he makes the following point:

"Wade's dissatisfaction with a life spent entirely online is explored throughout the book, though never deeply. I would have liked to see the book explore this tension between the unifying and isolating effects of the online world in more detail."

I feel Upload delivers some of what William was looking for, but as the author I'm not exactly an impartial judge. I'd love to hear what others think.

I'm also looking for more general discussion on the two titles. Do you think Kirkus made the right call here?


message 2: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark Six chapters into Ready Player One, I'm enjoying the read. Mostly back-story and expository world-building so far. Loads of fun 80s and MMOG references.

I can see some similarities to Upload: both stories center on a young man at odds with reality, seeking escape in virtual worlds. But, so far at least, "Ready Player One" is very much a lighthearted romp, where "Upload" is a bit darker, more psychological, more intense.

I'm definitely enjoying the root-for-the-underdog angle (poor frustrated kid can't even afford to go fight kobolds), and am looking forward to things really getting rolling.

There is one aspect of the "Ready Player One" world that's bothering me, but it's a very minor beef. The energy crisis behind the dystopian future doesn't seem all that plausible to me. Technology appears to have stagnated in 2012, except for some advances around virtual reality. Is the concept here that we suddenly ran out of oil, coal, and natural gas all at once, and sunk into thirty years of economic depression as a result? Vast numbers of cars and trucks were simply abandoned, for lack of gasoline? What about conversion to alternative fuels? I see us having some serious energy issues in our future, but this particular scenario isn't sitting well with me. So, I've cranked up the suspension-of-disbelief dial a couple of notches. Not a big deal, especially when the story is clearly meant to entertain and spark the imagination, but it felt worth mentioning. Anyone else bothered by that? Perhaps as I get further in it will make more sense.


message 4: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark A co-worker who read Ready Player One, loved it, then read Upload and loved it, too, compared them this way:

"I got my fun nostalgia in Ready Player One. When I started reading Upload, I felt like I'd moved on to a book for grown-ups."


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