To say that Ready Player One is a slightly overbearing exercise in eighties cultural references would be the most under of understatements. I submit that this is also its strength. With an obvious target audience of those who remember the halcyon days of analogue phone lines, cathode ray tube televisions and just about every entertainment format that defined the best decade ever, you would be forgiven for assuming that this was just an exercise in over indulgence.
The book does have a story that seems to remain above the tapestry of online culture woven along with analogue memorabilia. It involves a young man going through, what is basically a hyper realistic version of World of Warcraft in search of a very special prize that could determine the future of the virtual reality world called the OASIS.
Of course he is pursued by baddies and he teams up with the like-minded and even entwines himself in a little romance with another user of the virtual world.
That aside, the extrapolation of where we are today in terms of the MMORPG world is both interesting and unnerving. There are questions to be answered such as, how real will virtual reality become? and as a result, how will it affect those who choose to spend more time there than in the real world? What is the real world for that matter?
Ready Player One is an exciting read that will bring a smile to the face of anyone who grew up in the era of flying DeLorean’s, X-Wings, and big hair.