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
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 :)
Fan of urban fantasy, especially set in London, & Victorian gothic. A bit of steampunk & cyperpunk too. Oh, and Georgette Heyer (sorry).
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 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.
I picked this up with no expectations at all and was blown away. It is one of those books that you just can't tear yourself away from and you are a little sad when its over. Most of the reviews state that this will appeal to nerds, computer gamers and children of the eighties (and I admit that I'm all three) but I think you'd have to have a pretty hard heart not to love this book no matter who you were.
Wil Wheaton was a great choice for narrator and he does a fantastic job.
I really like this book and Wil Wheaton is brilliant at reading this, also did anyone else keep thinking of anorak looking like Steve Jobs.
Well worth your money 10/10
Yes - I had never heard of the author before, but who hasn't heard of Will Wheaton? But putting Wesley Crusher aside (10 minutes in to the book and I had) the central concept of the book is one that I could see happening if we aren't careful
Plenty of nice, neat little "in" jokes for nerds
Enjoyed it all really
The delivery was fast paced and engaging, there was an element of performance from Will which made it very entertaining.
This is a truly great sci-fi novel. It's set in the future but relies heavily on the pop culture of the 80's. If you were young in the 80's then this book is made for you.
The basic premise is that there is a virtual reality game that everyone plays called O.A.S.I.S. It's as large as a galaxy and contains a planet for everyone's taste. There are fantasy worlds, tech worlds, worlds based on different times in earths history, you name it. It's kind of like World of Warcraft writ extremely large!
The creator of this game dies without an heir to his fortune. He therefore devises a great treasure hunt open to anyone with the prize being his entire fortune. The creator was obsessed by the 80's so a knowledge of all things 80's is essential to win.
Enter our young hero Wade Watts. He's poor as a church mouse but obsessed by the 80's. And so this cracking adventure begins!
Listening to this book reminded me of watching one of those great kids movies like the Goonies. It's fast paced, it's funny, it's poignant. I really enjoyed it and really hope it becomes a movie one day.
It's narrated by Mr Will Wheaton. He does a great job of narrating this book. A man of many talents!
If you love computer games and roleplaying. If you were a kid in the 80's. If you saw most of the iconic movies of that era and remember the music then this book will be so much fun to listen to. I am all of those things and it really felt like this novel was written for me. Fantastic!
One of the most engaging books I have listened to so far.
I would compare this to Reamde as both have the story unfold in both the real and virtual world.
I enjoyed Wil Wheaton's performance.
One of the best audiobooks I've listened to. My library has well over 200 titles and this places squarly in the top ten.
The story captured me from the outset - anybody with an interest in 1980s pop culture and video gaming will adore this book! And the underlying messages about our own tech culture are very astute.
The narration is also excellent and the fact that the book was acted out instead of just simply read really does make the book come alive.
I would highly recommend this audiobook. I have a very boring, repetitive job and I need any distraction I can find to get thru the day. This book took me into another world, much like the characters when they go into the OASIS. Wil Wheaton was just a wonderful choice of narrator.
My only problem with this book was that it had to end. Please Mr. Cline, I need a sequel!!
"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!
"Fun but shallow"
Yeh I'd give them a shot but I wouldn't expect depth from Cline. Wheaton was a great narrator - he was perfect for the job.
The VR world was cool and the idea of being able to explore so many worlds.
The least interesting parts where the info dumps. So many info dumps!
He was really enthusiastic and got into the story a lot. Very good performance.
It would be good if it examined itself a bit more so if that were to happen I'd give a sequel a shot.
Definitely not self aware enough. I find it hard to believe that a few decades on from now we'd be so utterly obsessed with the 80s that we'd build and ENTIRE UNIVERSE dedicated to it. I get it that this book was meant to be a fun romp back into the 80s but it neglected the future aspect of the story a lot. The implications of a society SO stuck in the past - what about the present? What about all those NEW games, books, movies, music vidoes and TV shows?
-- side note - the author likes LISTS a LOT - it got mega irritating him saying "games, books, movies, music vidoes and TV shows" about a hundred times as if he was trying to meet a word count. Give it a rest already!
Anywho...it felt like...this book used all the high tech stuff as just an excuse to go back to the 80s and have a giant nerd-gasm about 8bit arcade games 'faded Space Invaders tees'. While it was a fun adventure with some pretty good characters, I felt it ultimately too shallow for my tastes.
"Like a 12 year old first watching The Goonies"
Immersive, descriptive imagery.
The massive scale.
Honest, committed and pitched right. Except for Og's voice - which was just wrong. But that was such a small part of the book it doesn't matter. Also it was too slow, but on 1.25x speed on the Audible app it was fine.
Something terrible. Because a movie will water this book down and leave it a tepid, lame version of the original.
"Perfect narrator for the perfect geek story"
This book was a delight to listen to and made driving to work an absolute pleasure - the story is pure fanfiction and wil Wheaton delivers it in spades - I wish he did more audiobook work
"wow just wow"
Yes. Will take you back to the good old days and will make you think about what could be
Laught and reminissed
Best audio book I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Diddnt want it to end.
"A great fun read and nostalic romp"
Story was pretty solid although some plot points were a bit hard to believe but the fun allowed you to suspend belief just this once. Wil Wheaton did a great job with the narration.
It was different to what I had encountered before and really pleasant read. I really enjoyed the nostalgia, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Good job Wil.
If I had the time I would have gotten through this in one or two sittings but I like to pace myself to enjoy the story more.
"Absolute BEST contemporary sci-fi novel there is!"
This instantly became my favorite contemporary sci-fi novel. I can't say enough good things about it. The story is imaginative yet nostalgic, and the imagery and performance are superb. I typically have a hard time getting "into" stories that largely take place in cyber space... however this story is riveting, and the characters' real world stakes were high enough to keep my headphones glued to my ears. I have recommended this to MANY friends.
"A really great read, clever and unique."
Hmm, clever, unique and daring. I grew up in the eighties and connected with almost every part of Ernie Cline's wonderful book. When I found a part that I wasn't familiar with I would pause the book and look it up on Google. I ended up listening to Rush 2112 and rented War Games, which I had watched when it first came out but really enjoyed watching again.
I liked the references to the eighties and video games and the fact that by creating a virtual world he made almost anything possible. Even giant Japanese robots LOL
"Slowish start but it hooked me."
I was recommended this story by a friend of mine. He refused to tell me anything about it but just said "read it". At the start I thought the story was OK, but nothing to rave about. Then I slowly got more and more hooked. This ended up being a great story and a really interesting concept. The narration by Wil Wheaton was top notch. He didn't really try to put on any different voices for the different characters, which is how I like it.
"Wow, what a great find!"
Yes... definitely brought out the geek in me :)
Wade was a well crafted character that will resonate with so many readers.
Wheaton was perfect for the role. It was obvious that he really identified with the protagonist, which made the reading that much more enjoyable. A great performance delivered with real empathy.
Even before I finished, I was back on line looking for sequels. Best book I have found in months.
Whether you're a closet geek yourself, or just someone that has fondness for eighties pop culture and the resulting video game revolution, you are sure to find this book a fun, enjoyable read.
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