As the ‘season to be jolly’ approaches, I often dream of curling up by the perfectly decorated tree, in front of a roaring hot fire and sticking my nose into the biggest dickens novel I can find. As ever the Romantic cliches for the Christmas period never come into full fruition. Our tree looks like a wonky bush and has been creatively redecorated by the feral villain we call George the cat, we don’t have a fireplace and I don’t much like Dickens. In fact, very little reading is done this time of year which does little to nothing for my elusive Christmas cheer. So it was with reluctance that I dug out my Kindle and downloaded an audiobook to try to get a little bit of bookish excitement into my life whilst wrapping presents, driving all over the country and trying to reattach all of the ornaments to the tree.
I chose Ready Play One for two reasons, Firstly I heard it’s awesome secondly, I love Wil Wheaton who just happened to be the voice reading this novel.
Ready Player One is set in a not too distant dystopian future, the main character of the novel Wade is an 18-year-old orphan who spends almost all of his time hooked up to a utopian video game called the Oasis. The creator of the oasis has just passed away and has hidden an”easter Egg” deep in the game. The first to find it will receive all of his estate and most importantly become the owner of The Oasis.
This novel is brilliant. On top of the endless geek references ( Monty Python, Atari, Pac Man, Max Headroom, Cyndi Lauper Etc) you get flawed underdog characters you can really root for, evil bad guys and a plot that is funny and thrilling. I thought switching between the real world and the video game may become confusing, but the writing is as immersive as The Oasis itself. The world is described in such great and vivid detail it will have your imagination going full speed.
Finally, The story has a great sense of balance offering up both celebratory and critical opinions about our digital culture. Even if you are not a video game geek, Clines accessible writing style and killer story line will still keep you gripped.