Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Ready Player One

Its been awhile since I've posted a book review but after *reading* this one, I had to give it some praise out here on the interwebs. Yep, this ones' an audiobook (thus the stress on the *reading* part). I've only listened to handful of audiobooks in my time and I honestly don't know why I don't listen to more. I'm sure as life goes on, I will do plenty more!

Anyway, I've read a bunch of books since my last review posted out here (yes, physically read them). Books such as Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Hobbit and the Hunger Games trilogy... but whenever I can, I'll download an audiobook to listen to. Aside from the Micheal J. Fox book I reviewed many years ago, I've listened to some great ones in more recent times but simply never reviewed them on my site. For example, both Daemon and Freedom(TM) written by the tech savvy, Daniel Suarez were excellent to listen to. All these books I've mentioned are great books, but the one I am about to tell you about was SO cool I HAD to post something about it.

The book is a New York Times bestseller titled, Ready Player One written by Earnest Cline. It was released/published in June of 2012 and I first heard about it a few months after that (from one many podcasts I watch/listen to). Anyway, I picked up the audiobook version just about a month ago and loaded it in the ol' iPhone. I'd give it a listened during the commute to work or times where I'm killing time between shuffling one of my two boys around. All-in-all, I want to say it was about a 16 hour long audiobook! Maybe the most sad part is the fact that I listened to all of it in my car.

I won't dive too much into the story too much but before I do, the first really cool thing about the audiobook is that its read by the one and only, Wil Wheaton. Yeah, Gordie from the 80's classic Stand By Me and Wesley Crusher from the 90's show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Today, in this internet world we live in, Wil Wheaton represents everything that is cool about geekdom (computers, games, beer). Having him read this book makes it that much more cool.

The story is about an impoverished teen living like most people do in his time (which is the year 2044) - spending it online inside a virtual reality world called the Oasis. In this world, people work, go to school, play and do just about everything else there. There is a whole economic ecosystem in that world; money is earned and spent there. In the story, the original developer of this world (James Haliday) had died and as part of his legacy, programmed a 'easter egg' somewhere inside the Oasis. The person who finds 3 different keys followed by 3 gates will uncover this easter egg and unlock the billions of dollars the developer has left in his will. Its basically a super hard scavenger hunt that millions of people have been attempting for over 5 years... without any luck until the main character, Wade (aka Parsifal) uncovers the 1st key.

Of course there is MUCH, much more to the story. You can read more here at's website. The reason I loved this story is because it brought together many of the things I grew up with - all being from the 1980's. All things 80's such as TV sitcoms, vintage Saturday morning cartoons, classic Atari 2600 video games and music from the era. Its simply a brilliantly crafted story! Before I wrap this up, I will give you a little spoiler - near the end of the book during one of the last 'Gates' the characters have to go through, they have to solve a quest which is directly based off the Canadian rock trio, Rush album, titled 2112... The way the author was able to tie this into the story was clever and cool as hell.

Bottom line: if you grew up in the 80's and have any interest in a fictional story involving video games and virtual reality, check this book out!