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Geeky Sci-Fi - Ready Player One - what a brilliant book!

(13 Posts)
dappledawn Thu 07-Nov-13 15:56:32

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was recently recommended to me by Cote d'Azur (thanks Cote!) - and I finished it a couple of weeks ago. Wish it hadn't ended - it's one of those books that is just so entertaining, you want it to go on forever! grin For lovers of good sci-fi (like myself) it was the purest pleasure. Unpretentiously written, a really good central idea, and very well-imagined throughout, I found that I got really involved with the characters, who - while not hugely complex - were sympathetic (except for the baddies, of course!) and also convincingly well-drawn.

On the front cover, it's endorsed by USA Today: 'Enchanting. Willy Wonka meets The Matrix'. I thought that a better comparison than Willy Wonka would be the mediaeval search for the Holy Grail (especially as the protagonist's avatar is called Parzival). ...The basic concept (of most of humanity being completely addicted to the online universe of the OASIS, to the detriment of global society generally) was fascinating and, potentially, spookily possible. I particularly loved the masterstroke at the end - (NB: look away now if you don't want it spoiled!) - where the finder of the egg also is offered the Big Red Button, the power to switch it all off, if/when the time is ever right.

If anyone has any other really great sci-fi reads to recommend, I'd love to hear.

melodyangel Thu 07-Nov-13 21:53:38

I finished it yesterday - it's great isn't it.

I know it isn't the most complex book but I really enjoyed it and read it in two days, which for me is very unual.

Loved all the references to all the games, books, films and music I grew up with.

Have chosen my gunter name and ship. Now what to call my stronghold...

dappledawn Thu 07-Nov-13 22:57:26

Yes, I also enjoyed all the references to all kinds of 80s culture, much of which I recognised - and I found the character of the mysterious Halliday very touching. Strong hints that this reclusive genius was on the autistic spectrum, 'never felt at home in the real world', yet came to the ultimate conclusion that 'terrifying and painful' though reality was, it was 'also the only place where you can find true happiness'. Cline was sensible enough to leave what Wade does later with his vast fortune to our imagination; a satisfying ending to a very entertaining read.

I'll have to think about my own gunter name grin (all this Mumsnet experience will probably help); and ship? - I loved the Transformer-type ones in the book! As for personal stronghold....? that could be a fun daydream for when I next have a free minute!

Trills Thu 07-Nov-13 23:04:31

Is it mainly a concept, with just enough story to make a book?

Or is it mainly a story, with just enough concept to make it scifi?

dappledawn Thu 07-Nov-13 23:28:36

Good question. I'd say it's a really well-told story, set in a sci-fi type setting (a near-apocalyptically horrible future world of 2044, with incredible developments in technology, but civilisation reduced to a dire state in a world where oil has run out, the climate is wrecked, and most people starving and struggling to stay alive). It's definitely set in a world of the near-future, with implicit/explicit warnings of how unpleasant it could turn out to be - but thankfully he avoids sermonising to his readers, and simply lets his descriptions speak for themselves.

Cline is really clever in taking the existing concept of people's finding (= escaping into?) a 'better' existence, through their avatars into a virtual world - to a whole new level. He's considered the reasons many people actually enjoy playing online games, and has tapped into the thrill of winning/solving these online games by using this pattern as a kind of structure for his novel (which is his first, by the way). It's set up as a quest, in a scary future society, with a tremendous reward at the end for the one who succeeds in solving the complex riddles.

If he's written/writes any more, I'm certainly going to read them!

melodyangel Thu 07-Nov-13 23:58:59

Trills - I would say it's the first one but still well worth a read especially if you were a child/teen in the 80's.

CoteDAzur Fri 08-Nov-13 07:15:01

You are welcome, dapple. I'm glad you liked it grin

Cherrypi Sat 09-Nov-13 14:48:57

I loved it too. I would recommend mr penumbra's 24 hour bookstore.

CoteDAzur Sat 09-Nov-13 20:40:46

That looks interesting. Thanks for the recommendation smile

dappledawn Mon 11-Nov-13 14:40:47

Yes thanks Cherrypi - I'll look out for that too - intriguing title! grin

KeepYourEyesPeeled Fri 15-Nov-13 07:54:18

After reading this thread the other day I gave this book a go and loved it. Very different from what I normally read. Enjoyed the 80's references although some were very obscure.

Now where is my immersion rig ??? wink

Stokey Fri 15-Nov-13 15:37:41

oh intrigued - am going to download

Have any of you read "Among Others" by Jo Walton?

A bit more fantasy than sci-fi but name checks lots of classic sci-fi novels.

Encouraged me to read Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut which was brilliant.

dappledawn Fri 15-Nov-13 16:35:18

Glad you also liked it, Keep! - and thanks Stokey for the recommendation of the Jo Walton book. I like well-written fantasy as well as sci-fi, so am always on the lookout for new recommendations in these genres. (Must be my need for escapism from daily reality, or something....)

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