One by One

Review :

I found myself smiling frequently while reading this.

Willy Wonka meets The Matrix in the near future online game age. I almost typed video age and that would date me back in the 1980s, but that would be OK too. Like James Halliday, I was a teenager in the late eighties and so Ready Player One by Ernest Cline has a special place for me. I played Dungeons and Dragons (I was even dungeon master for a Tomb of Horrors campaign) I played coin operated video games, I obviously dig science fiction and comics, I listened to Rush, REM and Van Halen, etc. etc.

And for my Goodreads friends who enjoy my trivia questions, I went all out for my Ready Player One chapter; after all, 80s trivia was a big part of the book and so what better tribute could I pay than to level up with a treasure load of trivia questions Cline invites us, especially those of us who were teenagers in the 80s, to geek out and it is a fun experience.

Like Among Others, Jo Walton's Hugo award winning novel, part of the charm of this book is the fun nostalgia, but Cline takes it to another level as the 80s trivia is an integral part of the plot; a near hopeless post cyber-punk (gamer punk) dystopia with excellent characterization and with a very likeable cast.

More than this even, Cline makes an intelligent, humanistic observation about where our world is now and where it is heading with the loneliness and isolation that comes when the cyber-world is more interesting, and more vital, than the real world. Yet Cline also makes a statement about the resiliency, tenacity and perseverance of the human sprit by demonstrating that even if the only connection two people can make is on a purely artificial and mental level, as in two people who only know each other as online avatars that genuine fellowship can still occur, that even love can bloom.

One of the greatest compliments that can be paid to a book is to say you could not put it down, that's how it was with Ready Player One, a very, very good read.

I am stingy with my Goodreads 5 star votes, this one had my vote about a third of the way in.

** 2018 - I'm weird about books and films. If I have read the book first, I almost never see the film. I have not seen the Steven Spielberg film and likely won't. Nothing against it, I very much enjoy Spielberg's work and think it is great that this book was made into a movie but ... it's just me. As good a story as this is, the charm and great attraction was the 80s trivia and how Cline so expertly blended a trip down memory lane with a cool SF concept.


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