Book Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One book cover
Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
2011
★★☆☆☆

(Listened to audiobook)

I’m not sure what I was ex­pect­ing, but I was ex­pect­ing bet­ter than ju­ve­nile nerd-fan­tasy fan fic­tion.

I like sci­ence-fic­tion/​fan­tasy as much as the next guy. Video games are fun; I watch movies. But it turns out that read­ing about char­ac­ters play­ing video games and watch­ing movies is not much fun. (“Neat, vir­tual re­al­ity, so the char­ac­ters can do what­ever they want…they’re play­ing ar­cade games and watch­ing TV? 😕) Read­ing lists of books and movies is not fun.

The writ­ing is not good. The au­thor tells rather than shows. He re­peats facts re­dun­dantly in his nu­mer­ous lengthy sec­tions of ex­po­si­tion (prob­a­bly more ob­vi­ous when you’re lis­ten­ing to an au­dio­book).

I did like Art3mis. And Wade is good to his friends. The plot was just in­ter­est­ing enough to keep me read­ing in case any of my com­plaints were re­solved by the end (nope). I can’t think of any­thing else good to say about this book.

Expand for spoilers
  • Wade is a jerk to peo­ple that aren’t his friends. My least fa­vorite scene, the one that made me con­sider quit­ting, has Wade and Aech ar­gu­ing (poorly) about John Hughes movies, and then be­ing jerks to a guy that did­n’t have every­thing about those movies mem­o­rized.
  • Wade just hap­pens to make friends with Aech, the coolest and most pop­u­lar egg hunter? He hap­pens to meet and fall in love with Artemis, whom he al­ready had a celebrity crush on? Meh.
  • James Hal­l­i­day should not be any­one’s hero. At least he gave Wade good ad­vice at the end.
  • I would have liked a lit­tle more nu­anced cri­tique on cap­i­tal­ism than Cline pre­sented. Maybe he did­n’t see the irony in de­mo­niz­ing cap­i­tal­ism while prais­ing Hal­l­i­day and the OA­SIS?
  • Cline did a de­cent job with the tech­ni­cal de­tails, al­though he does­n’t know what “open source” is.
  • The big red but­ton is in­ter­est­ing, al­though I can’t think of why Wade would ever push it, so I’m not sure of the point. I sup­pose if he ever wants to de­stroy some­thing he does­n’t own, that pro­vides a bunch of jobs, that is used for ed­u­ca­tion, that pro­vided him an es­cape from an abu­sive home life, where he met his only friends…
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