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BookMark: 'Ready Player One' By Ernest Cline, An 'Absurd' Tech Dystopia

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline is an action-packed, Sci-Fi fantasy story. 

The book starts in the early 2000’s, when James Halliday and his business partner Ogden Morrow are working on a project called the OASIS with their company, Gregarious Simulation Systems, or GSS for short. Halliday and Morrow come up with the idea to create a virtual reality world where people’s imaginations and creativity are the only limits. When the OASIS is first released in 2012, people are instantly engrossed in its fantastical and mythic worlds. But then, in the year 2039, Halliday dies. While sadness pours over the Earth, a spark of hope is sent from Halliday himself. He leaves a message announcing a contest. The first one to retrieve a hidden “Easter Egg” in his virtual reality world will inherit his stock in GSS, which is worth just over $240 billion.

When the contest is first announced, Wade Watts is a thirteen-year-old kid living in the “stacks” of Oklahoma City, a community of trailers stacked on top of each other to make living more condensed. Wade's parents died when he was much younger, leaving him in the care of his neglectful aunt. 

By the year 2045 there’s still no winner of the contest.  The world is at an all-time low: Resources are being depleted, world hunger is at the highest point in history, and trillion-dollar corporations run the OASIS. Wade is now 19 years old. He spends most of his time trying to beat three challenges to get to the final Easter Egg. Will Wade bring his all and wreck the rest of his competition, or will he slip and fall between the cracks? Dive into “Ready Player One” and find out! 

Cline not only illuminates the brilliance of his protagonist, but also of his antagonists. Nolan Sorrento is one such character. He’s the leader of Innovative Online Industries, one of the many trillion-dollar corporations. He’s also trying to win the competition and to stop everyone else. Cline expertly details Wade’s ventures through the dangers of both real and imaginary worlds.

I first read “Ready Player One” when I was in 6th grade. I’m now heading to 9th grade, and it’s still among the most fascinating, creative, and absurd stories I have ever read. Cline takes 80’s nostalgia, creativity, and competition, and blends it all into one story.

In our modern day, and especially during this historic pandemic, we’ve become deeply attached to our screens and technology. I can’t help but wonder if we’re nearing the OASIS. In the year 2045, according to Cline’s novel, that virtual world is the main source of jobs worldwide.  We may be closer than we think. 

There’s a lot of mature content in “Ready Player One.” Swearing, sexual talk, things like that; so, I would advise parents at least skim the book before letting their child read it. If you can get past the language and lewd talk, I think you’ll find the book worth your while.

Reviewer Sacha Buckland is from State College. He’ll be a ninth grader at Delta High School in the fall. He loves Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels and does Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

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