Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
The first thing I have to say about Ernest Cline is that he knows an awful lot about the 1980’s.
Cline has done a fantastic job integrating hundreds of geek trivia (whether it be Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, Cory Doctorow, Wil Wheaton, or any of literally dozens of other unique pieces of geek fandom) with all sorts of information from the 80’s (from video game trivia, to rock and roll, to movies, to authors). And he has done all of this inside of a fun and fast paced novel.
The pages really do fly by, as readers get to know Wade (A.K.A. Parzival) and the dystopianesqu world that has become of the near future earth. Wade is relatable, endearing, and just a tad over obsessive about OASIS and the Hunt (as anyone who has searched for clues systematically for 6 years would be.) Cline does a great job creating interesting and relatable characters, such as Ar3temis, Aech, and Soto. Of course some of the characters are a little black and white (such as antagonist Sorento). But with the fun of the action and the trivia you’re easily able to look over that.
That said this is not a trivia book, but it is recommended for anyone who enjoyed the 80’s or would classify themselves as a geek (or anyone who knows/has watched/read any of the people/shows mentioned above.) All in all a very fun book that I’m happy I read.