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A Reader of Fictions: The Egg and I - Seatbelts

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Egg and I - Seatbelts

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
Pages: 372
ARC Acquired from: Crown via NetGalley

Brief Summary:

Wade Watts had little to no social life, even when he had to leave his hideout; He's overweight and incredibly nerdy, not exactly the combination to make someone popular. So it should come as no surprise that he jumped at the opportunity to take classes online in OASIS, a simulated world that you can interact in like it's the real world via haptic gloves (or suits) and glasses that show you everything your avatar sees. When the OASIS's creater, Halliday, dies, he left his money to whoever can go on the ultimate scavenger hunt and locate the egg, he has hidden somewhere within his creation. Ready Player One is the story of Parzival's (Wade's avatar) hunt for the egg; it should come as no surprise that he became a gunter (egg hunter).

One of the main themes of the book, yet again unsurprisingly, is the question of whether life in the OASIS is really living. Cline seems to come down on both sides of the fence there, believing that real connections can be made mentally, stronger than those in the normal world even because the physical part does not get in the way. Still, he frequently has Wade comment on the fact that no one leaves their houses and really interacts with the world anymore, which seems to be seen as a bad thing. Certainly, in a perfect (or even halfway decent world) I do think people should not spend all of their time in an alternate reality; that's not healthy.

However, people really need an escape, because the Earth has pretty much been destroyed. Enter dystopian aspects of the story here. The world sucks. Most people, in America at least, live in trailers. And since they ran out of space for the trailers, they started stacking them in precarious towers. Pretty much everyone's poor, unless they've sold their souls to an evil conglomeration like IOI or were lucky enough to invent something like OASIS. If you are lucky enough to earn some money, you are likely to have it stolen from you by the many predators hanging around the trailers. No wonder people want to live somewhere else; in fact, if Wade gets the money, he wants to build a spaceship and get the hell out of Dodge.

Still, even without everything being a shitstorm outside the aptly named OASIS, I know anyone with a nerdy bone in their body would at least want to be there for a while, because there are planets and planes from every sci fi franchise under the sun. Try to tell me you don't want to ride on the Serenity or visit the planets from Star Wars (with the possible exceptions of Dagobah or Hoth or, well, maybe most of them actually, but I would like to check out the Death Star and Endor)! The fact that people do become obsessed with their alternate realities is no surprise though. Certainly I know a few people who would be all over that, doing quests, visiting the worlds of their favorite games, gunting...they'd never want to leave. Plus, I know I would have loved the chance to miss all of middle school and probably high school too for this online version. Not only would it save me from having to be lonely during my awkward teen years, but it also sounds super freaking cool. I mean, for history class, they can be part of a simulation in which the event they're studying takes place; I bet science was like being a kid in Ms. Frizzle's class! Who wouldn't want to learn that way?

Even better, the whole story is completely chock full of nerdy references, mostly from the 80s, but some more modern things too. This gave me a number of opportunities to nerd out. Ernest Cline clearly loves science fiction, anime, fantasy, as well as family comedies like Family Ties. He also loves Ladyhawke, which there is a debate about the book. I must share my opinion on this matter, which is that it is freaking awesome, especially the soundtrack. Plus, Matthew Broderick was such a sweetie pie when he was little.

So yeah, all nerds, science fictions lovers, dystopia enthusiasts, and video gamers who like to read will definitely want to add this one to the to read list. Personally, I hope to see more equally nerdy fiction from Cline in the future!

Note: Today's song is one that the characters ought to approve of, taken from the soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop.

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Blogger Dorky Girl said...

I LOVED this book and I am looking forward to read it again!

January 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM  

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