Book Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A quick, informal review of a “fun” read…

This is a book all the cool kids have read, and I have heard very good things about it. So, in my down time from my regular reading I bowed to peer pressure and read it. I am not a video game person. The closest I got was being a mediocre Asteroid player on Saturday night hanging out and the pizza place with high school friends. Honestly, I get annoyed by people, not kids, but adults, at work talking about World of Warcraft as though it was real life. I started this book with the idea of probably not finishing it. I, however, was quite surprised.

The 1980s theme running through the book hooked me. The story itself was ok, not great, but ok. It actually read like a typical 1980s action or fantasy movie. Not a great story but good special effects that made it better. Think, Iron Eagle — a terrible story, but great flying scenes. What I did like about the book was all the 1980s trivia both on the surface and hidden in the text. The television shows, movies, and music references were all great. The music references were great and I particularly loved the slam on a band that rhymes with “slam.” “I loathed that song with every fiber of my being” also. There were several, and I probably missed many, references hidden in the story (Easter eggs?). References Airplane, Brazil, and even Duncan Donuts added into the story.

References to the 1980s and 1970s run through the story. I had forgotten about the TV show Riptide. The text game Colossal Cave is mentioned as well as a Zappa-ian place to get your starship repaired. My personal apathy for video games is only matched by love of AD&D. When you are a poor, low ranking Marine in the 1980s, AD&D is cheap entertainment, and you get to kill things…perfect game for a Marine. AD&D is represented in the book along with some of my favorite childhood shows — Johnny Socko and Ultraman. There are just so many things I had forgotten about in this book that made it a fun read for me. I was pleasantly surprised.Thanks for the memories.

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