I have a younger brother who makes a living as an English Professor. Whenever I see him I ask for book recommendations and he always has some for me. Unfortunately, he often recommends material that he’s reading and what he reads is often a little over my head. But the last time I talked with him he said that he had just finished a book that he thought I would enjoy and that I should check it out for the nostalgic factor he was sure I would experience. It may be the best recommendation he’s given me.
Ready Player One is a simple, nostalgic story set in the year 2045. A tale set thirty years in the future, but a future that has become obsessed with 1980’s culture. It’s the first novel from Ernest Cline, who’s most known for writing the screenplay for the movie Fanboys.
This book is packed with geek culture from the 80’s, and consequently a great deal of fun to read. Even though the 80’s were just a little after my time (my time was really the early 70’s) I’m just geek enough to be familiar with most of the references: I’ve seen many of the movies, listened to most of the music and played a number of the video games, including the Tempest game that figures prominently into the conclusion of the game. And while I enjoyed it a great deal, I believe my younger geek friends will get a kick out of it as well – particularly all the references to Japanese anime and game characters: most of those references eluded me altogether but I’m sure are ingrained in the minds of those younger than myself.
There is quite a bit of discussion on the internet about this book being made into a movie; Warner Brothers has purchased the rights (even before the book was published) and recently hired someone other than Ernest to work on the screenplay. While there is some concern about the ability to make the movie and make it well, while reading the book I often found myself thinking “this will make a great movie” so I’m in the camp that is looking forward to it. It may be a little expensive (all those licensing fees) but would be fun, a lot like Scott Pilgrim, but with even more geek-dom.
So, my recommendation: read this book! You’ll enjoy all the 80’s references, even if you’ve never spent time in an arcade. And if you have spent time in an arcade you’ll really enjoy it.