Facing the risk to crash against the most common opinion, I found myself in wanting to speak ill of a novel: “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.
Drawn by pixel style covers (in the review) and inflamed by the idea of an innovating science fiction novel (like “Snow Crash” or “Neuromancer”) I welcomed with joy the universe by Ernest Cline that, unfortunately, happened to be a mere praise to the ’80 culture in which the author grew up and that – obviously – misses.
I found the novel not innovative and all the ’80 references – that lots of people liked – self-referencing, unrealistic within the plot and not engaging (and I love the retro graphic in games).
I suggest to the nerd, instead of reading about a guy gaming, to keep on gaming.
Ready player one by Ernest Cline
Overall the novel is an easy read, some digressions could maybe be avoided but this is not the main problem, these are:
- Cline wants to honor all the writers/actors/programmers/directors/singer who liven up the ’80, and he does not create anything new. I do not think that a quality science fiction book could be made by copying things already seen elsewhere: Stephenson, Gibson to point out some names that made up something new.
- In the book Cline takes a LOT of ’80 references and slot them into a sort of WOW mixed with Second Life. The actual innovation is the fact that they are almost free and the users have unlimited way to interact (the dream of gamers come true).
- The quests are fun IF they are solvable. The ones in the novel aren’t solvable at all by the reader who, despite some exception, has not Wade’s background (and even with this I doubt the riddles could be solved).
- Riddles are fun to solve and this is why games are fun, because the user interact in first person. Reading a game chronicle is quite boring (and surely boring if the user does not know the game).
- It’s unrealistic that a 18/19 years old boy may have the time to see – hundreds of times – movies, to study, to get a degree and to learn the whole lot of ’80 culture (books, music, video games, trivia etc..).
- It’s moreover unrealistic that Wade (& CO) has the chance and the desire to excel in EVERY game developed in the ‘80 (I hardly find a few people who like only some of the old style game).
The novel has a fast pace (but the conclusion is already stated) and the main character evolves from geek to loner to man of action (after years of seclusion?) to super hacker; quite a lot to me.
* Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ★☆☆☆☆
*I read this book in English