On Shabbat there’s no technology, so I tend to use that to catch up on my reading. This has some problems, since my collection of Cory Doctorow is on eBook after I gave away my physical copies (my baby bro has my copy of “Little Brother”). But thankfully we still have this thing where you can borrow a book for free. Maybe you heard of it? The Library.
This past weekend I got two books: Battle Royale and Ready Player One.
I’m not going to write about Battle Royale save to say that it tells a story similar to The Hunger Games but from a more male perspective, and I enjoy the ending being a semi-cliffhanger. If I have any complaint about The Hunger Games it’s that the third book doesn’t feel like the first one at all, and was too ‘let’s wrap it all up in a hurry.’ The first book of the series is great, though, and I do wish it had been left there.
Imagine, if you will, that there’s a guy out there who is the Steve Jobs of both computers but gaming. I know, not all of you like table top role-playing games and comics. Don’t worry, this is a nice balance of that and actual drama. Basically, take a kid from the 80s who loves John Hughes, D&D and has few social skills. Make him a genius who doesn’t get the girl, but reinvents the Internet to make it what we dream of. Then give him cancer and kill him young, but not before he comes up with an idea. Give away his fortune to whomever can find the ‘easter egg’ he’s left in his Internet system called OASIS.
And then an 18 year old kid finds the first key.
And “The Man” wants to stop him.
It’s a fast read, because it ties you to your seat. I didn’t want to get up and eat, I just wanted to read through it. It’s a boy’s story, true, but some of the main characters are women, and they’re written like real women their ages. People’s ages, genders, skin colors and sexual orientations don’t matter on the Internet, after all, and they don’t matter much here in Ready Player One either, which is how a lot of us feel it should be.
I’d love to tell you more in detail about the book, but I don’t want to spoil it! Suffice to say this: If you don’t happen to have an obsession with, say, War Games (I’d piss on the spark plugs!) or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or you know nothing at all about World of Warcraft, the book does a great job of carrying you through those scenes in an enjoyable and non-pandering way. Ernest Cline understands how to show you, not tell you, that which you don’t know.
And for me, the shout out to M*A*S*H in the last ‘level’ of the book was enough to make me run upstairs and tell my girlfriend. There are 80s references galore, some to the obvious, some to the obscure, but all to the enjoyable.
Pick up Ready Player One in your local bookstore, or via eBook. You can read more at http://readyplayerone.com