Ready Player One by Ernst Cline

“That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”


Mariah Rose

8/16/2021 2 min read

Ready Player One takes place in the year 2045 and is centered around this kid called Wade Watts and a simulted virtual reality called OASIS. The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, was this uber billionaire eccentric dude who, on the occasion of his death, revealed a contest, the ultimate Easter Egg Hunt, where the winner would inherehit his fortune and control of his company, GSS, that owns and runs OASIS - which is pretty much become synonymous with the internet in the way that it has permeated society. People use OASIS to go to school, to work, to read books, watch TV, play games, even to "meet people" and get married. The world is not a pretty place in 2045, we've exhausted our resources, the energy crisis has arrived, climate change has caused catastrophies, poverty, famine, disease, you name it, we gots it. People use OASIS to escape that reality, and if the contest is won by the wrong person - in this case, a company called IOI that plans to monetize every aspect of OASIS - that escape may very well soon become too expensive for most. Wade is an orphan, lost his parents to the harsh realities of the world he was born in, and spends all of his time trying to solve the riddle Halliday left for the first of three stages in the competition - which no one has managed to do, even years after Halliday's death. This competition has shaped the world since it begun, people started dedicating all their time trying to solve the first riddle, which everyone knows relates to Halliday's obsession with the 80s pop culture. After years of no progress a lot of people gave up, thinking this was all some big joke and that only left two groups, The Gunters (short for Egg Hunters) and The Sixers. The Gunters are either solo players or clustered in Clans that plan to share the prize, and The Sixers are part of the evil IOI corporate machine, people who signed away their claim to the prize and traded that for food and lodging and work for IOI in trying to find the Egg. Wade is an 18 year old gunter with nothing to lose. He has no family to speak of, no money, and his only friend is another gunter called Aech, though they've only met in the OASIS.

This book is a ode to beloved games, movies, tv shows, and books that most of us know and love (whether we were teenagers in the 80s or not) as much as it is a wake up call for how we treat our planet and how spending all our time hiding from a harsh reality isn't going to solve any problems.

I think the concept of this book is fun and innovative, and I think it was well executed. Though I had some issues with the romance, which seemed trivial and unecessary and I feel like it distracted from the main point of the story - because romance isn't the only form of meaningful human connection, though people seem to forget that. I feel like there wasn't enough time amidst everything else for the romance to flourish, nor did I want to stop focusing on the plot, much like Wade stopped focusing on the Egg Hunt...

However that does not take away from how great I think this book is, and how relevant and necessary this conversation is.