October 2011 SF Book of the Month - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Hobbit, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    This month's book is a recent release (August 2011), a celebration of all that is geek:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From Ernest's website:

    There's even a soundtrack: http://www.readyplayerone.com/

    Discuss!

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  2. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    I could hardly contain my excitement when reading this earlier last month. I wouldn't really class myself as a 'geek' - although I certainly recognized many of the 80s music/gaming/film/general culture references (hey - I'm of that age!) - but I absolutely loved reading this book.

    Now, 3 or 4 weeks later the effect of it has dimmed somewhat and it hasn't quite grown within me in the way that a really good book does after you finish it. I can't deny that it was pure reading pleasure at the time though.
     
  3. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Must admit I'm never keen on the word myself: I've seen it used too often as a negative term.

    But it is being used here to sell the book.

    And then there's this:

    http://www.ernestcline.com/spokenword/gwo.htm which makes it more obvious that it should be a thing of pride, not derision.

    Mark
     
  4. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

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    I absolutely loved this book. Finished it in about a day and a half. Could hardly put it down. Loved the characters and the setting both. My only "problem" with the book is it felt like a book that needed an epilogue.

    Now I'm having problems getting into the new book I'm reading because I keep thinking of RP1 lol.
     
  5. kroeger

    kroeger Active Member

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    Just finished this book, really enjoyed it. Hope there is a sequel.
     
  6. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    It's clear that this book has been a great success with a large swathe of people, including those who would not usually read SF. I wonder why this is. Is it simply because Kline is a top class story teller and able to engage across the usual boundaries in a way that other authors can't? Or is it that the story responds to some inner need a lot of people feel to escape from the world in such a profound way that they never go outside and live out crazy hedonistic years long computer game quests?

    For me, the 80s references were just window dressing and even in the context of the story they often seemed gratuitous. Still they were interesting in themselves and did mesh with the story at some points, even if it was only through the use of a film as a sort of grand computer game. They weren't intrusive enough to ever become annoying though so must have been well judged by Kline.
     
  7. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

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    Has anyone else written a VR world like this? Most of the vr stories I've seen have been more "Matrix" or "13th Floor" type of thing. I don't recall seeing a story where it's used to create the biggest MMO ever.

    I also liked some of the things that were introduced later on in the story like **Spoiler** using it to be in your favorite movie or video game.

    Overall it was just a really fun imaginative joy ride.
     
  8. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

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    P.s. is there anything similar to this out there?
     
  9. Nicolas

    Nicolas Intrigued diletante

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    80 pages in and I'm pleasantly hooked. So far I'm finding the early expository chapters quite compelling and introducing the characters and their world in a very engaging way.

    Halting State by Charles Stross starts with the main characters investigating a bank robbery in a massively successful MMORPG. The book has a great sense of humour and does a very good job of capturing and evoking the mood and general "geeky" atmosphere of these kind of games.
     
  10. T77

    T77 Registered User

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    Just finished this and really enjoyed it. I thought he did a great job with it - I was concerned about where it would go, but was pleasantly surprised by how he pulled it all together. Looking forward to his next book.
     
  11. chitman13

    chitman13 Staff

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    I absolutely loved the book when I read it, possibly one of my top three books this year. I've got a lot of driving ahead this weekend (around 10+ hours) so I'm going to try and get hold of the audio book before then. As it's read by Wil Wheaton it is going to be even more geeky than the book on its own!
     
  12. Sfinx

    Sfinx Life's a riddle

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    Really, really enjoyed this one. Has been a while since I devoured a book in this tempo - i kept on reading no matter where i was; sitting in the garden, during lunch, in the car. Like Rothfuss states on the cover: "I feel this book has been written especially for me".

    I'm from 1973, so I grew up in the eighties, watching Ferris Bueller, Wargames, Star Wars, Familiy Ties, A-team etc, etc, etc. I had one of the first Commodore 64's - you know, the one with the tapedeck - before the floppy disk arrived. Playing Defender, Way of the Exploding Fist, Frogger, Summergames and ofc text based adventure games. So RP1 was indeed a feast of recognition. But it's not only the unashamed nostalgia that kept me hooked. Cline conjures up a very believable future, including its parallel, virtual economy (which, to be fair, is already here: real dollars are being paid for World of Warcraft gold, or for property in Second Life for instance). I wonder btw which company Cline had in mind when he came up with IOI :D The story itself, Wade's quest for Hallidays egg, is also very engaging, fast-paced and a lot of fun to read; although it misses the depth Tad Williams for instance achieves in his Otherland series [@Shonsu: Otherland is an excellent example of a VR world used as the central setting for the story, highly recommended]. So here's me rooting for a sequel :)

    Cheers,

    Sfinx.
     
  13. poser765

    poser765 Registered User

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    I'll second Sfinx with the Otherland series. Very good series, and I get drawing parallels between it and RP1...even though they are not really the same. Same basic idea but Tad Williams does it with more epic a scope.

    I have to say I loved RP1. I also got a kick out of the fact that the "stack" where Wade lived in Oklahoma City is only about 3 miles from my house. Very fast paced book.

    I am kind of torn on the 80s references though. The author used a lot of 80s and 90s nerd references when describing things which I thought was a good way for a nerd of the 80s/90s to follow along. However, as was mentioned above they sometimes felt a bit too gratuitous.
     
  14. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I'm also in the camp that found this to be both great fun and very readable. It felt like a big cross between Otherland and something like The Da Vinci Code in the whole solving of puzzles aspect of things. I was a little young for some of the pop culture references to click (that and I've never been much of a movie person), but the gaming ones worked well for me. Tomb of Horrors, Joust, Adventure, even Black Tiger are all things I remember well, so he was certainly able to save a lot of world building time with just mentions of these sorts of things.

    But what I particularly liked is that the nostalgia references weren't what made it for me. Under all that was a fun adventure (almost more quest fantasy than SF) that was really engaging from front to back. There were good villains and interesting betrayals. The world building wasn't the most original thing as far as VR taking over real life, but I think it is a bit more relevant now in the face of how often people are plugged into devices.

    A lot of folks upthread are talking about being interested in a sequel. I'm not sure I think it needs one. I think it's a concept that would get to be overwhelming if overdone. RP1 seemed to be a nice length, but I'm not sure I'd have wanted another 100 pages of it. That said, I think it hit the sweet spot for me. It stands right now as the most fun I've had reading a book in a long, long while. Maybe not the best book I've read in years, but definitely the most fun.
     
  15. poser765

    poser765 Registered User

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    Agreed. I'm not really sure how a sequel would play out. I think if Mr Cline was so inclined (I know...sorry) I could see this as a trilogy if it was written as one from the start. Three Gates, three books. With all the back story and "quest" leading up to the first gate I kind of though that might be the way he was going to go with it. At that point a good chunk of the book was gone. The rest would have to be really stretched out or the puzzles made more time consuming.
     
  16. Sfinx

    Sfinx Life's a riddle

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    Aah, you're right, you're right. The book doesn't need a sequel - I do...

    Still, the OASIS universe does offer plenty of room for new adventures. And wouldn't hurt if some of the eighties stuff would find its way in there as well - what with Parzifal now being Master of the Universe and all...

    Cheers,

    Sfinx.
     
  17. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

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    It's not so much that it needs a sequel, I just want more in this world. It helped that even with all the bad stuff that was happening/had happened it still had a bit of an upbeat feel. Too many books I've read lately seem to be mostly doom & gloom where even the heroes are more dark than light.

    Anyone else ever imagine similar ideas to the movie idea at the end of gate 1? I've had similar thoughts before reading this book. A VR machine where you could put a DVD into it and then go into that world and take one of the parts over.
     
  18. Sfinx

    Sfinx Life's a riddle

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    1993: Last Action Hero :)

    But yea, that would be an immediate hit if ever realised! But would be even more popular if you - unlike in Halliday's version - could alter the story and its outcome through your actions. But I'm fairly sure it won't be long till VR gaming truly takes off. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if in a few months time exactly that turns out to be Steve Jobs' final legacy to the world...using your iVisor to navigate in a virtual universe...

    Cheers,

    Sfinx.
     
  19. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

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    That's how I envisioned it as well lol. I got tired of watching horror movies and thinking to myself "Ya know... I think I could survive that".
     
  20. Sfinx

    Sfinx Life's a riddle

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    ...which is exactly what Wes Craven uses - and turns around - in Scream, where the girl actually does the smart thing, and still gets wasted.

    But once iTunes starts featuring VR iMovies I'll keep an eye out for the airing of Freddy vs. Shonsu :)

    Cheers,

    Sfinx

    PS: that silly Balrog wouldn't catch me unaware...