Elena Sorrentio Managing Editor
“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline is a Sci-Fi thriller that reflects life within a world dominated by virtual reality and corporate powers. Specifically, the story follows Wade Watts, an impoverished teen who spends a good portion of his time escaping his life by going into the OASIS, an online world that uses the abilities of video games alongside feelings from reality. This virtual reality is so ingrained within their society that it is even where Watts, and several other thousand students, attend school. The narrative centers around the fortune of James Halliday, and the competition to gain his inheritance. Following his death, it was released that he had left easter eggs hidden throughout the world and that whoever found them all first would become the heir to his wealth.
Watts throws himself into the search, because while OASIS offers a temporary release from his poverty, millions of dollars would allow him to escape completely. To add to his motivation, another company, Innovative Online Industries, is searching for the eggs as well, with the intent to start charging people for use of the OASIS, which would take access away from Watts for good. Halliday was an 80’s fanatic, so everyone turns towards the pop culture of that era for answers. Whether it is Pac-Man or “The Breakfast Club”, Wade finds it and digests it, making his entire existence revolve around knowledge related to Halliday. He and his best friend, Aech, make it a game to test one another’s knowledge. It takes years, but eventually his hard work pays off and he is the first one to find a clue.
From there Wade’s life devolves into love, deception, and action, as everyone around him either works with him or against him to continue the search. He makes new friends and has them devastatingly torn away without an ability to control what happens. As the plot continues, his life outside the OASIS and inside the OASIS converge more than ever.
This further demonstrates to the reader how each world has the ability to effect the other. Who can Wade trust? Is love within the OASIS applicable to real life? Is everyone in the OASIS being honest about their identity? These are all themes that are continually brought into question, and continually put to the test.
This novel maintains a certain amount of mystery as it builds up to the final conflict. Using extreme skill, the author has dozens of moving parts that converge together into a spectacular ending. Events that occurred in the beginning of the text that the reader forgets about make startling re-emergences. Similar to the way in which Wade is continually searching for easter eggs in the game, the reader must always be on the lookout for clues as well.
What’s even more amazing about this book, is that on March 29 it will be out in theaters as a film. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it is supposed to be out of this world. However, before you run to theaters, I would seriously consider sitting down in a big, comfy chair and enjoying the novel. It’s worth reading.