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  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (27,264 ratings)

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Ready Player One cover art

Ready Player One

By: Ernest Cline
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
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Editor reviews

Earth’s future is bleak in the gripping sci-fi fantasy audiobook Ready Player One, written by the brilliant Ernest Cline and narrated by American actor Wil Wheaton. Set in the near future, most of the human race have locked themselves into a virtual reality to escape the planet that the past generations had destroyed. Within this virtual existence lies the answer to infinite riches and Wade Watts spends every second on the treasure hunt. It is a frenzied race with countless players, all infected with desperation. The danger is intense and will affect them all. 

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The book behind the major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

Now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

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 10,000 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 dies 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.

If you loved Ready Player One and can't wait for more, check out Armada, Ernest Cline's latest geek masterpiece!

©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2012 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut." (Independent)

"Part intergalactic scavenger hunt, part romance, and all heart." (CNN

"Ernest Cline’s novel deserves to be a modern classic." (SciFiNow)

What listeners say about Ready Player One

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This Book Changed My Life 💙 New Hobbies Found 💜

I never read books.
Always thought ....

" pffft, Naaaaaaa. . This is for nerds " ... BORING! ..etc.

So just brought one of those alexa devices, set it up added some skills played some music and all the other stuff when you get something new etc..

Came across this audible app and how you get a free audible book on sign up, something free always sounds good so went for it, thought nothing off it just did it for the sake of it.. after sign up the first book I see is Ready Player One, so just thought yeah that will do as I planned to see the movie soon which a the time movies beat books any day was my way of thinking THEN!!

Man how I was so wrong, I went on to have the book play while I was preparing to sleep, thinking yeah this will make me doze right off ... 6 hours later I was now sat up with a drink and snacks excited to find out what happens next ! totally amazed !

so for the regular bookworms this book may not do much justice I guess, but for me it will be the first book I have read/listened from start to finish and what has now made me want to read or listen to more and more from here on out.. I have a new hobby and it is thanks to this amazing book. .. please guys give it a try .. especially non book readers... it may change your perspective on thins 😃😃😃

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172 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly enjoyable!

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!

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70 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Are you ready to begin?

What made the experience of listening to Ready Player One the most enjoyable?

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?

What other book might you compare Ready Player One to, and why?

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.

What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

'What would you sacrifice to win the ultimate prize?'

Any additional comments?

Read (.....listen to). This. Book.

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44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ready Reader One

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.

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42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Radio, Video, Boogie in a Suitcase!

Oh what a ride this was! For sure it helps that I am precisely the target consumer for this having had my teenage years across the 80s. And yes I loved the video games of the time and of course have long lived in thrall to a certain Canadian Holy Trinity who feature so prominently.

Even so, having questioned the wider appeal of some other LitRPG-style books this one blows away any such doubts. While there are stats and game rules in this that's not at all the key feature. It's a wonderful space opera of a game within a story. The nostalgia of 80s pop culture, video games, music and all the rest of it is a massive bonus for me and those with interests in the decade but the story more than stands on its own considerable feet.

Cline imbues his dysfunctional geeks with warm character, gives them personality and even a certain twisted nobility as they battle corporate evils in an online quest that boils over with real-world implications. Towards the end I was willing them to succeed and genuinely enthralled with this curiously geeky adventure.

Of course to be the real deal an audiobook needs a good narrator and for this book Wheaton strikes precisely the right tone and hits all the right notes.

Yeah, yeah, I know this isn't going to win any Booker prizes but it's pure entertainment on a stick!

Five Stars all the way.

GAME OVER

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Awful fan fiction

I was only about 10 minutes into listening to this audiobook when I got a bad feeling that I had just wasted my months credit on a terrible book. I stuck with it but unfortunately I was right... this is not a good book. At all.

Paper thin character with a dislikable hero. A silly concept taken way too seriously. Terrible dialogue. Poorly written. The amount of times Cline uses the word ‘perfectly’ is ridiculous (“such and such a thing fit perfectly”, “such and such a pop culture reference was recreated perfectly”, “I tried such and such and it worked perfectly”). The story is nerd wish fulfilment that obsessing over pop culture minutia will somehow make you the saviour of the world.

I listened to this because I was interested in the premise of a run down world where everyone spends their time in virtual reality, but the world building is really under-baked. Hardly any time is spent in the real world so you don’t really care why the character want to escape it in the Oasis, and the virtual world is just a mishmash of pop culture references. Cline spends so much time listing references or with mundane descriptions of old games and movies and it becomes very tedious. I can’t count the amount of times I rolled my eyes at how ham fisted the references became, and seriously this very silly concept was being taken. Listing references is not a substitute for world build, story and character, but that’s what this book is.

I’ve no problem with a good trashy book but this is basically dull fan fiction. Generally I don’t mind Wil Wheaton but his narration just added an extra layer of authenticity to the toxic nerd culture the main character live in and generally takes the ridiculous story way too seriously.

What I’m trying to say is this book is basically awful.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Listened in 2 days.....

Best book I have listened to this year. I am not sure why the description did not really draw me to this book before but so glad I eventually gave in to curiosity. I am a big fan of online gaming, star trek, sci fi fantasy etc etc... so I am probably a bit nerdy I guess and I think it most definitely helps with this book. I enjoyed so much in this one, the 80's nostalgia mixed with the dystopian future just worked so well. Having Will Wheaton narrate this book was fantastic and made me smile a lot in certain places that it was him narrating, I am pretty sure he smiled himself at certain parts too whilst narrating. Aside from the fun part of him being narrator for obvious reasons he is actually a superb narrator and did such a good job with this, I would not hesitate to listen to him narrate anything. Love this story and everything about it.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Look at all these things from the 80s

This book was a chore to finish. Wheaton's performance was passable bordering on poor for the most of if, and even then it was the best part. The story was dull, uninspiring and the entire book was carried on its references to geek culture and nothing else. Give it a miss.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Second Life: Fanboy edition

Would you try another book written by Ernest Cline or narrated by Wil Wheaton?

I'd have to be thoroughly convinced that it was better than this one.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

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.

What three words best describe Wil Wheaton’s performance?

Very mildly annoying.

Could you see Ready Player One being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

80's Teenager!

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 :)

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