Ernest Cline's debut novel Ready Player One is an unusual, unique and utterly addicting read. Kind of like a computer game that you can't shut down until you...
It's 2045 and the Earth is in pretty bad shape. Most of the fossil fuel is gone and food and land are in short supply. To escape, most citizens check into The Oasis - a virtual world created by James Halliday. In the Oasis you can do or find anything you would ever need or want. When Halliday dies, he leaves the world with his last bequest - a baffling puzzle known as an Easter Egg is hidden somewhere in the Oasis. (Think Second Life) Solve it and you'll have all the money and power you ever dreamed of.
Young Wade Watts has spent most of his young life plugged in and joins the millions of Egg Hunters or 'gunters, as they come to be known, in the search. He spends years learning about Halliday's favourite games, televison shows and obsessions - most of them based in the 1980's.
When the first clue is found after many years, the stakes couldn't be higher for Wade and his on line friends - for Innovative Online Industries, the world's largest internet provider, want to win the prize themselves - and take over the Oasis.
Ready Player One is completely outside of my normal tastes, but I really, really enjoyed it. I was initially intrigued as it seemed to fit into my recent obsession for YA dystopian fiction. But I found myself really enjoying all the '80's references - Pac Man, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Commodore 64's, song lyrics and a whole lot more -for these are the clues used to solve the puzzle.
There's lots of adventure with epic good versus evil battles throughout. But Cline has also thrown in some thoughtful explorations of friendship, coming of age and yes, romance. Lots of fun for a variety of readers. Read an excerpt of Ready Player One or listen to an excerpt. You can find Cline on Facebook and on Twitter.
I can see Ready Player One easily being made into a movie. And it's jumped on to Maclean's Canadian bestseller list at #9.