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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. Available now from Audible.

Summary

Imagine a dystopian future where citizens are forced to live in a virtual reality just to escape the unsettling state of the present. Narrated by actor Will Wheaton, this thrilling story is a fast-paced adventure that pits thousands of desperate members of humanity against each other in the ultimate race for the winning prize.

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

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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 😃😃😃

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

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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!

47 of 53 people found this review helpful

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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

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • United Kingdom
  • 09-04-14

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.

33 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • Inerness, United Kingdom
  • 22-09-16

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.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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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.

40 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • ISee
  • London
  • 07-08-17

It's a bit infantile

I am an avid gamer and own a Virtual Reality set, so the book's premise is right up my street. I am also of the age where the 80s and 90s culture was once a reality for me, so once again no issues there.

The book falls down a little where I get the impression that the book's author is still a teenager and is living out his unfulfilled fantasies, especially when it comes to the fairer sex and it just gets a bit awkward rather than cute. I am no prude, but it really does get a bit "cringe" for the author rather than the character, which yanks you out of the story.

Other than that the book was still quite enjoyable and I think it lends itself even better to a movie than it did to an audiobook. My wife, who is a complete non-gamer also enjoyed the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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my favourite read of 2018 so far

anyone who grew up in the 80's onwards should love this book if not for ita story just the memories it provokes. without giving much away this is the virtual reality future we will soon be living in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A book for game nerds who are into 80s culture

Book had an interesting premise (treasure hunt in a VR artifical universe) and plot was predictable but enjoyable. Let down by gratuitous level of 80s nerd culture references and main character who was a bit too weird and immature to be likeable e.g.

"My father gave me an alliterated name as he was a fan of comic superheros, like Clark Kent and Peter Parker, so I knew he was cool"

Cringe. But if you agree that that is cool, this may be the book for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriele
  • 08-09-12

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!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Preeti
  • 19-12-17

Can't stop listening to it

Such an engaging story.I am not a video game lover but even then I couldn't resist myself to listen to it till end. The narration is done amazingly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • W1M0
  • 14-10-17

Fun Concepts, Odd Character Responses

I reached a point where I got irritated with the main character (not the performance).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 02-05-15

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'.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Eszter
  • 17-06-14

Fun but shallow

Would you try another book from Ernest Cline and/or Wil Wheaton?

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.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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!

What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

He was really enthusiastic and got into the story a lot. Very good performance.

Do you think Ready Player One needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It would be good if it examined itself a bit more so if that were to happen I'd give a sequel a shot.

Any additional comments?

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!

*cough*
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.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-07-18

So sad to be finished

Wil Wheaton is an amazing narrator and the story will be one I never forget. Thank you.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jwing
  • 13-06-18

author pushing his ideals

story would have been better received without sitting thru the rants the author puts in about his anti-God rhetoric.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Edmundkw
  • 12-06-18

Awesome - a modern classic

One of the best books I've read in recent years, combining a homage to the 80s with a thoughtful exploration of how virtual reality technology can influence modern civilisation. Wil Wheaton was amazing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Syed Ebrahim
  • 02-06-18

Amazing amazing amazing

A delight for your ears and as immersive as how the OASIS probably was!

What else could I have expected from Will Wheaton reading RP1? :-)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-18

Will Wheaton give a standout performance.

Far too much exposition, but very well narrated and en2gaging. I thought I would find Wheaton's voice jarring as it's so recognisable, but nothing could be further from the truth and I hope he continues to narrate. The books scope aimed to be broad, but, sadly it fails to ever really expand upon anything set in the real world, in real detail. As a fan of pop fiction and gamer culture I found many of the tasks he has to complete enthralling. Although, the chances of him having mastered so many obscure games seems extremely remote. Nevertheless, I found it enjoyable and would recommend this, despite my nit picking.