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Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)
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Group Reads 2017 > October 2017 - Ready Player One

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments This is to discuss October 2017 group read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments I've not read this yet but it scores 4.3 on Goodreads so in theory should be good. I have my copy, so I will find out shortly.


message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
I don't think I would have enjoyed this as a paper book nearly as much as I did when narrated by Wil Wheaton. It's a homage to the US 1980s & his enthusiasm shone through. Unfortunately, the audio book didn't play the music, but I knew most of it well enough that I could supply it on my own.


Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Jim wrote: "I don't think I would have enjoyed this as a paper book nearly as much as I did when narrated by Wil Wheaton. It's a homage to the US 1980s & his enthusiasm shone through. Unfortunately, the audio ..."

Wil Wheaton is mentioned in the book, as an elected official of the cyber community.


message 5: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments 15% in and still wondering why this has such a high GR-rating.
Even while I once was a proud owner of a Commodore 64!


message 6: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah (ladytaco) | 4 comments I actually really enjoyed this book. It was the first one in awhile that really pulled me into the story. I thought it was an entertaining read and I'm curious to see how the film adaptation will go. Based on other GR reviews, it seems like it might be one of those "you either love it or you hate it" type of books. Since I am an avid gamer myself, that obviously made this book more exciting for me.

Also, some people are saying that Cline is a one trick pony and that he just uses a bunch of references to grab people's attention and distract from actual writing...I haven't read any of his other books yet, but personally I didn't feel that way about Ready Player One...what do you guys think?


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "...some people are saying that Cline is a one trick pony and that he just uses a bunch of references to grab people's attention and distract from actual writing..."

I've only read one other book by Cline & that was Armada. In my review of it I noted that On the Shoulders of Giants' was the name of a short story I read recently & is a great way of describing his books since it was also a nostalgia-fest. I enjoyed it too, although I only gave it 3 stars, so I can see why folks would say that. They're fun once, but limited in both audience & staying power.


Bobby (bobbery) Sarah wrote: "I actually really enjoyed this book. It was the first one in awhile that really pulled me into the story. I thought it was an entertaining read and I'm curious to see how the film adaptation will g..."

I agree-- the story and the writing grabbed my attention far more than the pop culture references. However, I wasn't alive during the '80s, so most of the references probably went over my head.


message 9: by Buck (last edited Oct 04, 2017 05:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Jim wrote: "I've only read one other book by Cline & that was Armada.

Same here. I read Armada couple of years ago. I have no memory of it at all. I went back and read my review. I still don't remember it. In my review, I said it was a fun read but I rated it 3 stars. I do remember Ready Player One (as best I can with my aged memory cells) and I think it is worthwhile to read and more so if the pop culture references work for you.


message 10: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
I hadn't wanted to admit it, Buck, but I didn't & don't remember "Armada" either even after reading my review. Since it happened to us both, I'm going to say the story was eminently forgettable & it's not my old memory. Bobby saying he wasn't alive in the 80s makes me feel old since all 3 of my kids were born in that decade & they seem pretty young to me. Time flies.


message 11: by Ronald (new) - added it

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 153 comments Some books appeal to a certain demographic. For example, the Twilight novels appealed to female teenagers (see this article for support of that claim: https://www.theguardian.com/books/200...)
while others, like me, are into old school horror: vampires are to be killed!
Ready Player One appeals to Generation X. (I am a member.)


Theresa Sl | 14 comments Read the book a while ago. Definitely found it entertaining and it has a nice flow, so I read it in one go. Storywise I wasn't very impressed,. I mainly liked the look and feel of the world, even though it seems a bit weird that the 80s will be as rad in the future.


Isa  Vargas (isa_levogira) | 6 comments I read Ready Player One a few years ago, and I remember the experience because it was one of the first novels which I read in English the whole way through (my first language is Spanish).
The story and the setting were engaging; it was a fun read. But as with all the YA novels that I read at that time, Ready Player One became forgettable. Not a reread for me.


message 14: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Theresa wrote: "...even though it seems a bit weird that the 80s will be as rad in the future. "

I had to chuckle at that. Good point. There's some nostalgia for "The Roaring 20s" or the 1960s, but I don't see that happening with the 80s.


message 15: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments For me reading this is still like watching one of those guys on you-tube, playing a video-game. It's very easy entertainment.
Is it indeed classified as YA?


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Just about anything with a YA protagonist seems to be classed as YA. In this case, I suppose it is since the story is simple enough, but I doubt most teens would appreciate it the way folks in their 40s would. The label tends to limit the audience, I think. To Kill a Mockingbird is also labeled as YA. While I enjoyed it as a teen, I enjoyed it a lot more later on in life & got a lot more out of it.

Kids can read about the 80s, but won't really understand how cool some of the stuff was. A history of computers & gaming consoles will show when certain models were invented or put on the market, but they don't show how & when first enjoyed them.

For me, part of the rush of the 80s was the appearance of video games. They showed up as machines in the arcades early in the decade & then became something that could be played at home - very new & shiny. Early in our marriage (1982) my wife & I used to love going to arcades to play the neat new games. IIRC, Dragon's Lair & Joust were 2 of the newest & neatest. Trying to control Dirk Daring (the knight in Dragon's Lair) was a whole different game from playing pong or Galaga. Joust was even quite a step up. I remember being impressed by how well the birds were shown. They had defined wings that we could see flap. Pretty incredible resolution.

At home, a lot of people hadn't even seen or played Pong in the early 80s. An early computer was something like my brother-in-law's Timex Sinclair. He bought the big memory module for it, a whopping 16kb, & used an old reel tape deck of mine to program it since that worked better than his cassette player which sometimes filtered or distorted the sounds. It took quite a while (15-20 minutes?) to load Lunar Lander, a few ASCII characters in monochrome.

Seems awfully primitive today, but just a decade earlier, there weren't any video games readily available, just pinball. I was one of the few that played something like Gravity or Asteroids on the main frame at the University of Maryland in 1973, but that was a tiny monochrome screen & required a huge amount of the resources available. If anyone had told me that a decade later I'd be playing something similar at home on a personal computer the size of a deck of cards, I wouldn't have believed it.

By the end of the decade, my Atari 130xe, a full computer & color gaming console with thousands of apps & games was obsolete. Massive, shiny changes.


message 17: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments I agree Jim, video games were very exciting and at a time it was even possible to play them at home. I spend hours and hours behind my commodore 64 with a little cassette player attached. Cool you started a decade earlier.


message 18: by Gregg (last edited Oct 09, 2017 03:11PM) (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) My math has it being attractive to us in our 50s and pushing our 60s....but it seemed just like yesterday.

"Ready Player One" is fabulous entertainment for us ol' farts but it surely isn't "Snow Crash" by a long shot. He is popularizing the Postmodern use of referencing as a writing technique.

Perhaps some gamers will also be attracted to the "history" lesson.

As to the 80s being nostalgic, from the late 90s through the mid-00s it was huge in Europe. Much of it is related to the essential European nature of the Second British Invasion and the lead up to the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here in the States we have mainly retained a Punk reference subculture since early New Country women embraced New Wave men's hairstyles and the Trailer Trash Boys retained the mullet. It was a very interesting cultural deflection...

However, I have hosted a few parties with 80s music and folks have a blast with the one-hit wonders that bring their childhood back to them in a flash. Although my 80s don't include the hair band era...


message 19: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 1826 comments Mod
Gregg wrote: "He is popularizing the Postmodern use of referencing as a writing technique...."

Yep. I found it very entertaining, and gave it a 4 of 5, but there are lots of things about it that I didn't find very good. A bunch of cliches and pop-culture references. I guess the nostalgia hooked me.

I remember the old days. When my neighbor got Pong, I was so jealous. When ATMs first came to town they seemed so futuristic. When I got e-mail, I was like "thank G** I don't have to use the telephone anymore!".

I learned patterns for PacMan and could play for many rounds on one quarter. But still, the feat that the main character did here in PacMan was hard to believe. And he basically had to pull off a similar feat on a bunch of games that would be very old-fashioned to him. Just too hard to really believe. But, I guess, no more so than a hero killing a dragon with a sword or other such things that we see in SF stories.

So, based just on pure enjoyment, it was worth my time.


message 20: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments I agree YA is the right classification.
This morning going to work I read the part going "I love You" - "You don't really know me".
I think this is a book for children.


message 21: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) YA is code for desexualized romantic stories. The reading category has grown in popularity and relies on SF and Fantasy techniques to avoid the inherent nature of sex in the human experience. It is similar to Hemingway's "war injury" gimmick for his lead in "The Sun Also Rises", thereby, avoiding the censors that kept Henry Miller's books banned in America into the 60s. One of the great failures of the Harry Potter series is the author going YA in the last couple of books instead of exploring adolescent sexuality at Hogwarts. The early books are great studies in the mind and perspectives of children. Oh, the hazardous of Neo-Victorianism!


message 22: by Gregg (last edited Oct 11, 2017 01:52PM) (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) So in "Ready Player One" the author uses "the nerd" as the desexualizing technique like "Weird Science" in the 80s. Obviously, a realistic version would have had a far more err stickier plot.

I find SF in general has stuck to its Golden Age innocence and wonder far longer than society has demanded. Except for some New Wave rebels and Atwood's explorations it has largely avoided questions of sex. We still retain our youthful naivete...


message 23: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 1826 comments Mod
I don't really want most SF books to have sex in them. I like explorations of gender and sexuality. (For example The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1: Sex, the Future, & Chocolate Chip Cookies.) But in most stories I'm happy to dispense with all that.


message 24: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) See, there you go!


message 25: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments Finished it. I liked it for the nostalgia and the virtual world oasis, which the book made sadly clear was more attractive to live in than the real world. The book had not many surprises and the story I found paperthin. It ended like you would expect it to do when youre the age of 14 or 15. Entertaining, but no more than 2 stars for me.


message 26: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Several of us were talking about this at work today, mostly the music & the games, but one guy said the plot (kid has to solve puzzle to get inheritance/position) was an old one. Besides Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we couldn't name another book, though. I think we're having a blank moment. Help?


message 27: by Donna Rae (last edited Oct 20, 2017 11:52AM) (new) - added it

Donna Rae Jones | 99 comments Jim wrote: "Several of us were talking about this at work today, mostly the music & the games, but one guy said the plot (kid has to solve puzzle to get inheritance/position) was an old one. Besides [book:Char..."

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is the first book that springs to my mind, although the puzzle that needs solving here relates to murder and secret religious orders rather than inheritance (if my memory serves me correctly!)


message 28: by Marc-André (new)

Marc-André | 298 comments All I keep thinking about are people staying in a haunted house for a night to get an inheritance.


message 29: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Marc-André wrote: "All I keep thinking about are people staying in a haunted house for a night to get an inheritance."

That vaguely rings a bell. Movie, not a book, right?


message 30: by Ronald (new) - added it

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 153 comments Marc-André wrote: "All I keep thinking about are people staying in a haunted house for a night to get an inheritance."

Sounds like the movie House on Haunted Hill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_o...


message 31: by Marc-André (new)

Marc-André | 298 comments It is a common trope that has been pastiched many times in films, tv shows and cartoons, yet I can't think of the original.

TV Tropes has a page on it, with refences to books and films. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php...


message 32: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 1826 comments Mod
Ronald wrote: "Sounds like the movie House on Haunted Hill..."

I was just about to say that. I remember variations on this trope from numerous TV shows and cartoons. In one version I think it was Porky Pig staying in the haunted house.

I'm sure you can find more examples by searching on TV Tropes (which isn't only about TV):
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php...

The "Kid Hero" trope is one part of Charlie & The Chocolate factory: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php...

Warning: you could get lost for hours following links on that site....


message 33: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 1826 comments Mod
Marc-André wrote: "TV Tropes has a page on it,..."

You beat me to it! I was typing my note while you posted yours.


message 34: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
Thanks! I've never been much of a horror movie fan. So it's not an 80s book or movie, but just a long standing plot device.


message 35: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) Including the neverending debate:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php...


message 36: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) This quote in the Cyberpunk section explains why I consider cyberpunk more of an SF era than a genre:

As a movement, it was the successor in some sense to the New Wave Science Fiction movement of the sixties and seventies.

The website uses the term Punk Punk to describe the general spawning of styles from this movement.


message 37: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) Back to the top: Is there any greater inheritance than the bloodline of Christ???


message 38: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) Or the middle...


message 39: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 432 comments I waited for ages to get this book from the library because it had so many holds and was looking forward to reading it.
I started reading it and could see why it was popular, but I couldn't get into it.
During the 80s, I was a mom with two young daughters so the video games were not high on my list of activities.
As I was reading it, I kept think of Tad Williams Otherland Trilogy, which has depth, so I decided to stop reading the book.


message 40: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3969 comments Mod
That's a shame. Sometimes things suffer from too much build up.


message 41: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 1826 comments Mod
This book has been adapted into a video game called "Ready Player F**k" which sort of makes fun of the way this book is just a bunch of 80s nostalgia all thrown together.

I'd probably enjoy that more than the upcoming movie version.


message 42: by Ronald (new) - added it

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 153 comments Speaking of '80s nostalgia, the synth pop group Depeche Mode
sold 1.27 million tickets through the first nine months of 2017, more than Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber or Bruno Mars:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...


message 43: by Ronald (new) - added it

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 153 comments Philip K. Dick wrote a novel titled _Time Out of Joint_. In that novel, the protagonist lives in a 1950s-style world, but discovers that its a manufactured reality.

Perhaps Philip K. Dick's novel can be adapted into a movie in this way: the protagonist lives in a 1980s-style world, but discovers that its a manufactured reality. This protagonist also plays video games, which is an integral part of the plot (and also is in keeping with the spirit of Philip K. Dick's novel).

Just a suggestion for Hollywood.


message 44: by Leo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments Ronald wrote: "Speaking of '80s nostalgia, the synth pop group Depeche Mode
sold 1.27 million tickets through the first nine months of 2017, more than Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber or Bruno Mars:

https://www.bloomb..."
Well I guess when you hear a Justin Bieber song, that's not very strange, is it?


message 45: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) The link is not working for me. Can you repost in full, Leo?


message 46: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) And Happy Holidays, everybody!


message 47: by Leo (last edited Dec 22, 2017 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leo | 547 comments It was just the copy of Ronald's text, Gregg, no new link. Happy holidays!


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