|READY PLAYER ONE
Book review by Dwight
I was certainly a comic book and Mad Magazine kind of kid. I’ve always enjoyed Science Fiction. But indulge me, those for whom the term “Science Fiction” conjures images of aliens and spaceships. When I was very young, I read that “all science fiction becomes science,” and the author of that comment went on to give examples that included Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” written in 1870. Verne’s submarine was way ahead of its time.
Cutting edge Science Fiction today covers themes far more earthbound than aliens and spaceships. Authors like Vancouver’s own William Gibson are futurists with visions of our future that address themes like the evolution of the role of the internet in society, the changing nature of celebrity, overpopulation, climate change, and the wealth gap.
With “Ready Player One”, Ernest Cline takes his place among the great futurists. Set in a dystopian earth in the year 2044, Cline’s story hits heavily on the wealth gap, painting a dangerous picture of where we could be headed if we don’t address this. His internet is a virtual world where many spend all their time to escape the miserable reality of their lives (and you think your kids are hooked on video games...). And of course, the age-old themes of corruption and greed are ever present.
However, Cline’s examination of all of these weighty issues is accomplished while telling a wildly entertaining adventure story about a kid from a trailer park, whose online persona and relationships provide moments of warmth, laughter, and the triumph of good over evil. Moreover, the protagonist, Wade Watts, is a complete nerd with a passion for 1980s music, arcade games, and every element of ‘80s pop culture (and clearly the author’s alter-ego).
This is a page-turning, fast-paced adventure novel, filled with marvelous references to the ‘80s that will ignite the memory of anyone who was around back then! With enough bad guys, explosions, and plot twists to keep every reader guessing, anyone looking for a literary thrill ride will enjoy “Ready Player One.”
“Ready Player One”, Ernest Cline, Broadway Books, 2011