It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And, like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who died with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late 20th century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
Narrator Wil Wheaton is an American actor and writer best known for his role as Wesley Crusher in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for playing Gordie Lachance in the film Stand By Me. More recently, he has appeared in several episodes of the TV series The Big Bang Theory as himself.
©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
This is something of a gamer geek novel - so I preface all my views with the caveat that like Neal Stevenson's REAMDE it may appeal to those, like me, of a certain sub-culture. The story-line itself is not so remarkable, civilization in deep decline in the next few decades yada yada. What makes this story interesting is the alternative that the majority of the population turn to in order to escape and a challenge that arises therein.
It is fast paced story that never seemed to drag. It has a great 1980's sub-plot if you have fond memories of early games, TV, books, film and computers. I found the characters and their gamer-style issues with RL (real-life) accurate and engaging. I found myself looking forward to the drive to work in the mornings (when I get to listen to my audiobooks) which doesn't often happen to me!
The narration by Wil Wheaton (of ST:TNG fame and avid gamer) is excellent, a really good choice and nice kind of twist as you will find out if you choose to listen.
All in all I consider this one of my best ever spontaneous buys on Audible after being a member for many years - highly recommended.
Video games, movies, books, comics, animals.
First and foremost, Wil Wheaton is a first-class narrator - he has absolutely the most perfect voice for audiobooks (not too bassy, not too nasally) and doesn't do too badly with accents either (unlike some other narrators which have caused me to return books!). Secondly, the world of Ready Player One is - as noted in the novel - everything any reader or gamer has ever dreamed of: essentially a 'holodeck' experience. It is the book's exploration of the pros and cons of this system that draws you in - in Star Trek we see people using the holodecks for recreation, essentially living out episodes in an ongoing drama; but as Ready Player One points out....why would you ever leave?
I have desperately been searching for something else as engaging and exciting as RPO since I finished reading! My recommendations would probably be to read other books which effectively create alternative worlds - perhaps 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness, 'Peter and Max' by Bill Willingham and 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth.
As I mention above, Wil is an excellent reader. He has an obvious love for the subject matter and, having been an actor on Star Trek 'The Next Generation' and a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s, has a strong familiarity with many of the pop culture references. Wheaton sounds like he is having an absolute ball with this reading!
'What would you sacrifice to win the ultimate prize?'
Read (.....listen to). This. Book.
If you were born around 1960-1975 you will love the nostalgia in this book. A light SciFi romp, easy listening, but with lots to recomend it. Cline researched the history of video games and infact PS's like a true Geek! but managed to carry the storyline along without loosing my interest. Even a reminder of the great Rush LP 2012. Lighten up for a while, give it a go, you'll be glad you did :)
I really thought I’d like this. It is a fun ride for the most part, its pace is lightning quick, there are twists and turns. It has interesting things going on, and the premise is excellent.
But probably because of its incredulous pace, it cuts corners, and it does so very often. Narratively I feel it often takes the easy way out, marching forward on a predestined path that effectively kills off any suspense it would have needed to keep me invested in it. In fact, if one needs a good example of the use of deus ex machina in modern fiction, this is an excellent place to find many such examples. Unfortunately it’s used so often it becomes tiring, and indeed sucks the life out of the narrative. What do I care anymore what happens next because I know it will be resolved in such and such a way sooner rather than later? (The infiltration storyline injects a great deal of needed energy into the narrative, but it too resolves too easily to my taste)
But it is funky, alright. Just enough for me to actually try out ”Armada”, regardless of the abundant negative reviews that say that it is the disappointing novel, not this one. I’m about 70% through, and I have to say it is pretty the same old, same old. But something about Cline’s writing moves so relentlessly forward that I’m still going to finish it, no matter what.
Wheaton narrates with ease, and while his voice and accent doesn’t do it for me, sorry to say, it sounds like he’s having fun with the material, and it’s no wonder many applaud his performance.
I get bored quickly so take ages choosing my books. Preferred authors incl Sanderson, Rothfuss, PBrett, ....tho' C Harris makes me laugh too
On paper, I was not supposed to like this book. It's about a teenager who spends his entire life in an online virtual reality world playing a quest (reminds me of my weekly challenge to get my kids off their i-stuff and outside for a bit!) BUT - this story is actually all about paying homage to the 80s, plus a bit of rom-com for good measure!
Absolutely loved it!! Once I started, I couldn't put it down. If you're into your 40's/50's and enjoy a bit of '80s nostalgia, then this one's not to be missed!
The narration was tip-top as expected. The concept was endlessly fun, but the book needed some serious revisions and work. Feels like they published the first draft.
I'd have to be thoroughly convinced that it was better than this one.
Deus ex machina. Nothing unexpected. No subtlety; just unabashed everyone-gets-everything-they-want. In other words there was no real feeling of threat or risk.
Very mildly annoying.
I wouldn't want to this see this made into a movie. Hollywood generally struggles to make people sitting in rooms logged into the internet look exciting or thrilling.
It was a solid story, I listened to the whole thing, and it was a semi interesting premise. That said there is nothing original in this story - it was the answer to the question of "what would happen if the matrix met Second Life?" - and played out a bit like a fanboy's wet dream. Lonely gamer finds justification for being a lonely gamer.
Fan of urban fantasy & Victorian gothic especially set in London. Oh, and Georgette Heyer.
Wil Wheaton is the perfect narrator for this fun adventure story. I'm not a gamer but enjoyed the cultural references immensely particularly the music. I found the characters believeable and endearing and was even a little moved by a revelation about one of them towards the end. I can really see this as a film and have been mentally casting ever since.
It's a light read but I was completely gripped to the extent of going for long walks so that I could justify binge listening!
This is the first time I've not managed to finish a book in a quite a while. I just couldn't stand listening to the awful writing any longer. It's clearly aimed at children or at teenagers at the most. There's only so much 'cool', 'rad', 'mega' type hyperboles I can handle in a book. The nail in the coffin had to be the part when 'people started hanging around us because our arguments were so 'crazy'. The whole thing was childish to the extreme. I noticed the book received a lot of good reviews, hence why I bought it. If you like books that are well written (and I'm the first person to know that sci if books leave a lot to be desired in this respect all too often) then this book will drive you mad.
Aimed it at the over 18s
I just don't like North American narrators. It doesn't help that the story is written for the younger folk, and I think the North American accent accentuates that fact.
the performance is solid, but the whole story was predictable and just felt like it was pandering to modern geek culture rather than concentrating on the story. but was fairly enjoyable.
"Where's the sequel?!"
This was an incredible book, with both the writing and performance being top-class. I have never read a book much like this, yet I was deeply thrown into the story and really felt for the characters and the world around them.
I would recommend this book to those of you have ever had any interest in computing, retro gaming and retro film. It really is a 80s pop-culture book with an incredible setting and back story.
To be honest, I was upset when the book ended. The only question that came to my mind was: Where is the sequel?!
Hopefully one might be made soon... I know Ernest Cline hasn't ruled it out yet!
"Recommended from The Martian - didn't disappoint"
I don't think I would have chosen this book had it not been a recommendation from someone after I had read Andy Weir's 'The Martian'. While the setting is very different the heart of the story is similar with the main character struggling to solve problems.
Wil Wheaton gave a fantastic performance and while at the start I associated his voice as his own I quickly became to hear it as the characters'.
This book has skyrocketed to one of my all time favourites.
Wil Wheaton does a tremendous job at reading this adventure and the story itself is a masterpiece.
This book is phenomenal I loved every bit of it. I recommend it to people who like games or futuristic books
Great narration, with a charming story for the techno geek.
Definitely worth the price. I wish I could forget it and listen again
"A book for nerds of all types."
Going through the book as a nerd myself I recognized many of the referrence from games, comics, anime, movies and music and then there was many things I learned.
The book is well written and has a sly sense of humour what usually comes through the main character.
A very good listen!
"Really enjoyable listen "
brillant voice performance switching between the various characters. story although fiction gives good insights into the VR future
"Must listen for 80's fans"
Best book I've listened to on audible so far. Must listen for fans of 80's movies, music and games.
"Interesting story marred by hammy narration. "
The story was engrossing. Will did a good job on the narration but went hammy on certain dialogue deliveries which make you cringe. Would've been better if each character had their own distinct character and voice.
"Wizards cannot cast healing spells."
this story disgusts me. It is a cynical attempt to cash in on the disposable incomes of geeks by relentlessly hammering on about 80s movies and games. It is so badly written that you will be pulling at your hair as you listen. Just one example: the lists. List after list of just stuff, with no relevance to the characters or plot. At one point you get to listen to a list of half a dozen retro breakfast cereals that someone has in their kitchen. There are lists of movies, consoles, games etc. the purpose is for the listener to hear the one that is their favorite and get a bit excited and nostalgic.
I could go on. This book is inane, it represents a new low in taste and credulity.
We can't even create new trash. Our trash is copied/regurgitated from 80's trash.
There are so many 'homages' in this book that it is probably only about 20% original content. Some sections are basically plagiarism.
Apart from anything else, it does not ring true. There are various geek mistakes. The book absolutely stinks of Google searches. Worst of all, the book's final message is that you shouldn't spend all your time on games and geeky stuff after all, you should look for love in the real world because "only reality is real".
Thanks for the wisdom grandpa, I happen to quite like games actually, and who are you to judge the merit of my subjective experiences?
The people who like this book have very low standards. Maybe fun to hate it though?
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