Ready Player One
NCC's Common Reading for 2014-2015
In Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, the world of 2044 is a depressing place. Crowded, violent, polluted, economically depressed, devoid of natural resources, it's a planet whose inhabitants have been reduced to eking out an existence in boxcar-like dwellings stacked on top of each other.
Fortunately, there's the OASIS, a virtual world where many people–including Wade Watts, the novel's narrator–take refuge from life on Earth and live through their avatars. The OASIS has practically all of the elements of the real world, without the deprivations and dreariness that plague our planet. There are schools, adventures, relationships, and challenges, not the least of which is an intense competition–a search for solutions to a virtual puzzle (created by the OASIS's late founder) whose grand prize is control of the OASIS.
Besides being an engaging and entertaining piece of science fiction, Ready Player One offers a thoughtful meditation on the task of living in a rapidly changing and often uncertain environment. Though he moves in a virtual world, Wade Watts must confront many of the challenges of our own reality, including contending with corporate evildoers and searching for meaningful connections and relationships with others.
Ernest Cline has written an insightful narrative, a story that will hook you early on and leave you with much to think and talk about. Whether you're a hardcore gamer, a futurist, a techie, or just somebody who loves eighties' pop culture (the book oozes with 80's references–Family Ties, Conan the Barbarian, the music of AC/DC and Def Leppard, and plenty more), you'll find Ready Player One a read unlike any other. You'll also agree with BoingBoing.com's view of the novel as "a rollicking, surprise-laden, potboiling, thrilling adventure story."
It's all that–and much more.
Get ready for Ready Player One!
P.S. And get ready for Ernest Cline himself! The author will be visiting NCC on Wednesday, Nov. 5 to talk about his book and the cyberworld that's increasingly a part of our own. He'll also be available to sign books and pose for pictures. So put Nov. 5 on your calendar and in your phone. It will be a special day at NCC.