Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “ernest cline”

loveallthis’s #cbr4 reviews 24, 25: Gone Girl, Ready Player One

(cross-posted from my blog.)

24 / Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Dark and twisty. Fun and depressing. Full of unreliable narrators. It’s been a while since I read anything resembling a mystery, so this was a breath of fresh air.

Like in my review of Room, I really don’t want to give anything away plot-wise, but I will say this: the first part of the book plays like a pretty standard whodunnit. At the halfway mark, though, shit gets real. Ms. Flynn is a crafty, crafty lady.

Four stars. Trust no one.

25 / Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

One phrase kept running through my head as I read: “nerd nostalgia porn.” Lots of my friends inhaled and enjoyed this book, but I was slightly less charmed.

Combining elements of ReamdeNeuromancerFor the Win, and strongly reminiscent at times of Ender’s Game (which, strangely, was not referenced in the book, unlike every other piece of media released in the 1980s), Ready Player One is an enjoyable “fight the man” tale set in a near-future where nearly everyone lives in squalor and spends most of their time “plugged in” to Oasis, the ultimate cyberspace environment.

Our protagonist, Wade Watts, is one of thousands of Oasis-dwellers on a hunt for a mysterious prize. He’s just a poor kid, and he’s up against a group of professional “gunters” (“egg hunters,” as in “easter egg”) who aren’t just fighting dirty in the game. Hijinks ensue.

Three stars. Not totally for me, but fun.

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ElLCoolJ’s #CBR4 review #7: Ready Player One: Ernest Cline

What can be said about the book that make me long for my youth as a kid of the 80′s? I loved it and a want to get a D&D game back together again. I had to download Joust for my iPad. I want to watch coin operated TV’s at the Laundromat.

A lot has already been said about this book althrough out the cannonball read. That is why I picked it out to begin with, so my review is brief:

If you were a geek in the 1980′s read this book.

done.

llp’s # CBR IV Review 13: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


While the pop culture references are fun, and the characters are kind of interesting, the story itself was predictable. A quest is a quest, whether it is in an 80s video game or a best selling novel.

Alli’s #CBR4 Review #27: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I finished reading “Ready Player One” about a week ago. I loved it so much that I couldn’t wait to keep reading it. It is the first book in a long time that I will read again in the future. I haven’t really been able to put my thoughts together eloquently enough to write a review that I feel gives justice to the way I felt about this book but I have put it off long enough so I am going to spit it all out on here and mark it off my to do list.
 
“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline tells us the tale of a future world in which many people inhabit an alternate reality called the “OASIS”. At the beginning of the book we are told that the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, has passed away and had no heir to leave his vast fortune to. He has placed an Easter egg inside of the OASIS and the first person to find it will be his heir and therefore will inherit his money and control of the OASIS. There are 3 keys that a person must find, as well as 3 gates that they must pass challenges in order to proceed with the challenge.
 

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #37: Ready Player One (audiobook) by Ernest Cline, narr. by Wil Wheaton

Look, I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to read this book again immediately after I read it the first time, because that’s exactly what I did. I reserved the audiobook at my library, and when it came in, I rushed my fanny over there to check it out. It was a glorious three weeks of listening to Wil Wheaton’s gravelly nerd voice driving back and forth from work, and the story held up wonderfully on re-read.

Actually, probably the closest comparison I can make for having re-read the book so soon is like that thing you sometimes do (or maybe you don’t, I don’t know, but I definitely do) when you go and see a movie and you love it so much that you immediately go out and watch it three more times. The last time I did that was for Star Trek back in 2009. God, I love that movie.

Coincidentally, Wil Wheaton did the voices for all the Romulans in Star Trek — that dude is just really good at his shit. So not only did I get to listen to this book and its awesomeness all over again, but his performance is wonderful. It’s one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to (some of my other favorites are Ron Perlman’s narration of City of Thieves, Stephen Fry’s narration of the Harry Potter books, which I MUCH prefer to the Jim Dale versions, and Lenny Henry’s performance of Anansi Boys. Henry’s performance actually elevates the book, and I’m convinced it’s the reason it’s one of my favorite books, when everyone I know who’s read it and NOT listened to the audiobook merely enjoyed it. Longest parenthetical ever). Wil Wheaton has actually narrated a bunch of John Scalzi books, and since I’m on a Scalzi reading kick right now, I hope I can track some inexpensive or free versions of those books down sometime soon. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated, as my library system is being a huge buzzkill at the moment.

Anyway, let’s all just take a moment and give thanks for Wil Wheaton. Wil: I appreciate you. I like your beard and your gravelly voice and how super super nerdy you are. I also secretly like Wesley Crusher, but don’t tell anyone or I’ll lose all my internet cred.

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #13: Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One

I just want to say, at the top of this review that I am eternally grateful for all the Cannonballers who have reviewed Ready Player One already this year. Without you, I may never have found my way to this book. And what a loss that would have been.

 

When I first started reading Ready Player One I was afraid I was only going to like it because of the hype. I am pleased to report that this was not the case. If you’ve read anything or heard anything about this story you’re aware that it is a love letter to growing up in the 1980s. It’s also a confession of a love of all things gaming. However this is not a book which aims to exclude. It is a book which aims to include the relatively uninitiated (while also being an homage for those who are in the know). My non-gamer heart feels gratitude for that.

 

Cline’s protagonist’s world is our own, if our world follows a particular downward trajectory over the course of the next few years. Fossil fuels have been depleted, the economy has crashed, and celebrities are now the only people popular enough to get elected to political office. But, this matters little as most people spend the majority of their lifetimes hooked up to the most massively multiplayer game ever created – the OASIS. Every aspect of your life can be accomplished in the OASIS, it’s a complete virtual reality universe. There are planets and sectors for all of the most popular sci-fi and fantasy worlds out there, as well as a planet just for schools, and a commerce district, and anything else you care to program.

 

We meet Wade, or Parzival as he is known in the OASIS after the death of the creator of OASIS, James Halliday.  Halliday has left the ultimate Easter Egg hunt in lieu of a Will. The first few chapters of the book function as an enormous info-dump which outlines that the person who wins the hunt also wins the inheritance of Halliday’s mega-fortune and control of the OASIS. Parzival is our portal into this world. He explains the culture of the time both inside and outside the OASIS as well as the culture that has erupted in the hunt for the Egg, in which he is most immersed as a gunter (an egg hunter). We follow Wade/Parzival and others through the hunt for the Egg, their fight against the Sixers – an organization hell bent on winning the prize and in turn corrupting the OASIS, and Parzival’s journey into relationships with other people.

 

There were times when I wasn’t completely sure this was the book for me. But, miraculously, Cline is able in his first novel to bring such a clear and original voice to life that you immediately consider yourself a friend of the friendless Wade. This is a truly engaging story in every sense of the word and once things get going, an incredibly quick read. I found myself slowing down on purpose while reading the last forty pages knowing that once I got there, I could never un- get there.

 

So read this book, particularly if you love both Ladyhawke and Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. I promise you don’t need to understand gaming to truly love this book.

(p.s. the audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton if you’re into that sort of thing)

this review is cross-posted

Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #12: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve made a huge mistake. I finished this book a few weeks ago and, though I loved it, like, SO MUCH (if I could give it more than five stars, I would), I’m no longer feeling QUITE as zealous about it*. For instance, when I finished it, I reviewed it on Goodreads as such:

HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING LASDLKFJAWERUILSKDFJALSDKFLA DJF

More of a review once I put my brain back together.

Which is a ridiculous kind of review. Unfortunately, that’s the only kind of review I know how to write, so hold onto your butts.

I read this book at Ashley’s urging, based mostly on the power of her review, honestly, though if one were to take blind recommendations for books to read, Ashley would be a prime resource. ANYWAY. Ready Player One is set in the near future, a future that could very well be just around the corner, and tells the tale of Wade Watts, an overweight teen living in a “stacked” trailer park with his terrible aunt and his terrible aunt’s terrible boyfriend. Wade lives for one thing: his connection to OASIS, an online game that feels more real for most people than real life. OASIS was created by a reclusive genius named James Halliday, who, upon his death, announced that he’d hidden an Easter Egg within the game, and the first to find it would inherit Halliday’s fortune.

Wade is a gunter, an egg hunter, best friend of Aech and lover-from-afar of Art3mis, neither of whom he has ever met IRL but I think we can all agree that hardly matters. In a world where it’s become the norm to have multiple internet friends you’ve never actually hung out with in the same zip code, it seems perfectly natural that this progression will lead us to a civilization that embraces something like OASIS. I went back and forth between being jealous that I couldn’t jump straight into OASIS (it being fiction and all) and sadness for the people in the book who were so disillusioned with real life that they’d rather spend all of their time in a world of make believe. (That said, I DO spend most of my free time reading about wizards and magic and all sorts of other made up nonsense so maybe I’m already living inside OASIS.)

To say more would be robbing you of the extreme pleasure of reading this book. The nerd references, the little surprises, it feels like the book is giving your brain a hug, and I don’t want to do anything to take that away from you. I will say, though, that, as a native Ohioan, I did laugh at Columbus, Ohio being some kind of utopia. OH THE GIGGLES. Not that Columbus, Ohio is terrible or anything. Not only is there a record store called Magnolia Thunderpussy but I met Ben Folds there. So maybe it IS a utopia.

*which can only mean I need to read it again IMMEDIATELY

Rahael’s #CBR4 Review #15: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve been struggling with what to write about Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for almost a month now because while I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I don’t necessarily think it was a great book.  It’s been reviewed a number of times already this year, and the target audience probably overlaps quite well with the Pajiba readership (in the 25-40 age range, interested in popular culture, movies, video games in a more than superficial way).  Although it’s a really fun adventure, the book is over-stuffed with trivia and I think Cline got a little too caught up in the gimmicky aspects of the novel and forgot about plot consistency.

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narfna’s #CBR4 Review #11: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I loved this book. It was magical. Everyone should read it right this minute.

Is that not enough of a review? Fine. Ready Player One takes place in the year 2045, as the humanity pressed into an over-crowded Earth takes refuge in an immersive virtual reality program called OASIS, invented by reclusive genius billionaire James Halliday. But when Halliday dies, he leaves behind him a massive Easter Egg hunt through the many worlds of OASIS and through the many facets of late 20th century pop culture that he loved most —  the person to be the first to find the ultimate clue will inherit Halliday’s entire techno-empire. Enter our young hero, chubby and poor Wade Watts, whose dead father gave him an alliterative name like Peter Parker or Clark Kent so that one day he too might be a superhero. Wade is a gunter, or full-time egg hunter, and he’s made it his life’s mission to find Halliday’s hidden treasure.

You guys, I loved this book so much I wanted to start it again immediately after I finished it.*

*Actually, what I did do was request the audiobook from the library, because it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton, who is himself a minor character in the novel. (I mean, WHAT.) So there’s a good chance — and by “good” I mean 100% — that I will be listening to that audiobook shortly.

This book contains in its 384 pages everything I love about stories. Great characters, ridiculous worldbuilding (details out the wazoo), clean, entertaining prose, and passionate imagination put to good use. If a writer is talented enough, there is no limit to what he or she can conjure up in the mind of a reader, and Ready Player One takes full advantage. While Wade is on his quest, we’re right there with him . . . reading this book was more like having the experience than reading about it and that’s one of the many reasons I couldn’t put it down. But what’s really genius about this book is that Cline has managed to find a way to combine the pure imagination and wish fulfillment of fantasy and sci-fi with the stark reality and disappointment of the real world. Wade and his friends (and enemies) use the OASIS in much the same way that we as readers are using Cline’s book. The two worlds comment on each other in this beautiful dance of nerdy joy: games and stories are ways for us to shape and re-experience the world around us, to experience the things it is impossible for us to experience in our limited lifetimes, but games and stories can’t hold your hand.

I’ve heard a lot of people express the opinion that if you weren’t born in the right time-frame, you wouldn’t understand any of the references, and thus wouldn’t enjoy the book as much. I call bullshit on that one. I am just a little bit too young for most of the references in this book, but I still enjoyed the shit out of it. It works even if you don’t know the references, because Cline lays everything out in such a way that the plot is never affected negatively if you don’t “get” a reference. Instead of being alienated by the references I didn’t know**, I found myself becoming more and more curious about them. So the way I look at it, if you know the references, Ready Player One is a nostalgic joyride, but if you don’t, it’s a magical journey of pop culture discovery. Both feelings are intoxicating.

**I do feel the need to point out that I was familiar with nearly everything Cline wrote about, so my nerd-cred is firmly intact.

As with all books I really love, I feel that I’m having a hard time expressing exactly why, so again I say to you: just read the damn book. Because it’s flipping awesome.

[Link to original review here.]

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #12: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the year 2044, most of the world has pretty much gone to hell. Most of humanity spend the majority of their available time hooked into OASIS, the virtual reality environment that contains any world or environment you could possibly imagine. As his real life involves being an orphan being raised by a greedy aunt in a dilapidated trailer park, Wade Watts’ only chance at escape from his dismal existence means completing the ultimate quest, set down by James Halliday, the creator of OASIS, upon his death. The first person to unravel the riddles posed in his video will, and solve the various puzzles, will inherit his entire staggering fortune.

Wade is a gunter (short for egg hunter), one of the many who have dedicated their lives to finding Halliday’s golden egg. Halliday loved anything relating to the 1980s and nerd trivia, and Wade has played all the computer games, watched all the TV shows and movies, read all the comic books and exhaustively studied anything to do with Halliday and his life, in an attempt to figure out where the first key is hidden. Being young and poor, he’s not really able to travel much within the OASIS, he can only really stay on the educational planet where he goes to school. But one day, nearly dozing off in Latin class, he realizes that the location of the first challenge may indeed be located nearby.

As Wade becomes the first gunter to appear on the giant virtual scoreboard in the OASIS, the entire world’s attention is suddenly turned towards him. He’s no longer an unknown nobody, he’s a person to be reckoned with, and there are powerful forces in the world willing to kill to reach Halliday’s prize first. Soon Wade finds himself homeless, hunted and in danger for his life, simply because his encyclopedic knowledge of Halliday trivia has brought him closer to competing the quest. Can he defeat the evil corporation, prove himself worthy to the girl he loves, and win the ultimate game once and for all?

Ready Player One is stuffed full of nerd and geek references, and while I grew up watching my brothers play many of the computer games referenced, and watching the movies and listening to the music mentioned, I didn’t even get a fraction of the stuff Cline has crammed into his debut novel. To fully appreciate and really enjoy the book, I suspect you have to actually remember the 1980s, it just won’t resonate with you otherwise. While I thought the book had a slow start, and it took me a few chapters to really warm to Wade and get interested in the world he lived in, once the plot really got going, I was completely hooked. Reading it is a bit like playing a computer game, with end of level bosses, and new and bigger challenges until the final climax. Part dystopian sci-fi, part adventure, part romance and part thriller, Ready Player One was a delight to read, and I join the ranks of devoted fans of the novel. I can’t wait to see what Cline writes as his follow up book.

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