Feed your inner geek with 'Ready Player One'

By by kathleen duncan/kduncan@vicad.com
Jan. 23, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline is fantastic. As an '80s kid with a healthy love of geekery, I insist that any person who loves John Cusack, Atari, high tops, scrunchies, DeLoreans and virtual realities read this book. It is soaked in '80s references and geeky tidbits. You'll be in heaven.

I actually read "Ready Player One" a year ago, but friends I've chatted with lately seem to have missed this gem. Egads. What a crisis. To solve this debilitating dilemma, I thought I'd write about it this week. It's worth rewinding time for.

It opens in the not so distant future where global warming and depression have taken over the Earth, making it a bleak place to exist. Thankfully there is an alternative, a Virtual Reality world called OASIS created by game designer James Halliday. OASIS provides a virtual universe where education is free, entertainment abounds, thousands of worlds exist and there are even quests to beat.

Everyone on Earth buys a pair of gloves, a visor and plugs in to this virtual world to ignore the decay and destruction of the real world. Halliday becomes the richest man on the planet.

When Halliday dies, he leaves behind no heirs and makes a video, which introduces a grand game. The game starts with a riddle, which leads to the first of three keys. Each key will open gates that have challenges the searcher must beat. The entire quest ends in finding an egg, which gives the winner Halliday's entire fortune and control of OASIS.

Our hero, Wade, is a young man in high school. He is exceptionally smart and lives in a trailer park with his abusive aunt in one of the many slums on Earth. He has been studying and searching for the first key for five years with the rest of the world. Then, he actually finds it, and the adventure begins.

Not only is this book brain candy for anyone who loves geekery, but the story itself is fast-paced and engaging. I was captivated as Wade worked to navigate the puzzles and the real world to find the ultimate prize.

Regardless of whether you are an '80s fanatic wearing high tops, a trench coat and holding your boom box outside of your girlfriend's room to play "In Your Eyes" or just someone who loves books, you'll be thoroughly delighted by "Ready Player One."

But I do recommend wearing high tops anyway, they're just so darn stylish.



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