For ages now Ready Player One has been appearing in my Recommendations on various online stores. When it comes to novels, I'm very cautious about trying out a new author so I'd ignored it.
I finally gave in this month and got myself a copy. It is always frustrating to find yourself coming late to an absolutely fantastic party, especially when it was just my stubbornness stopping me from attending earlier!
Ready Player One's only fault, just one, is it is extremely predictable. We all know how adventure stories end... with the protagonist winning. So we need a few surprises on the journey. Sadly I found myself always a few pages ahead of the story.
However if I put that little quibble to one side... this is a beguiling, beautifully realised tale of a dystopian near-future where everyone uses a shared virtual world called "The Oasis" to escape from their unpleasant existence. The creator of The Oasis, an eighties obsessed geek of the first order, dies but leaves an Easter Egg to end all Easter Eggs... whoever completes his quest will take control of The Oasis and all its income.
Our hero is Parzival who fights to win the prize before an evil mega-corporation manages to get its hands on it. On the way we're treated to a run-through of every geeky subject known to the 20th century... from Pac-Man through Wargames to Monty Python. For a nearly-80s kid (I was born in the 80s and grew up in a house of 80s teenagers) it was absolutely wonderful.
Think Willy Wonka set in Second Life with Black Tiger.
And, of course, being so far behind the times on this... there's a movie coming directed by Steven Spielberg! I can't wait.