Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, Ready Player One, tells the story of Wade Watts, a teenage boy living in 2045 Columbus, Ohio after our planet has succumbed to global warming and widespread poverty. People worldwide escape these harsh circumstances by logging into the OASIS – a virtual reality with infinite worlds and opportunities. Wade has studied everything related to the OASIS and its creator, James Halliday, whose nostalgia for his childhood infuses the OASIS with 20th-century pop culture. Upon Halliday’s death, it is announced that he has left his entire fortune within the OASIS in the form of an Easter Egg and challenges all of its users to find it with only a few riddles to guide them. This quest becomes a global competition that proves to be extremely challenging and, after a few years of no luck in solving the first riddle, Wade finally cracks it and unleashes a race for the Easter Egg. With dangerous rivals also vying to win the competition, Wade has no choice but to find Halliday’s fortune or risk losing the OASIS forever.
The film adaptation of Ready Player One, produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, goes by the same name as the novel and was released worldwide in March of this year. Fans of Cline’s novel were anticipating the film for a while and I really wanted to be part of the excitement. When I saw that this book arrived at the bookstore I work at, I knew I wanted to binge-read it in time for the movie – and I did. I flew through the novel in no time and was captivated by the nostalgic tone and nerdy culture that infused the story. Being a ’90s kid, I don’t have much knowledge of the older video games, music, TV shows, and, sometimes, movies that Cline referenced. However, this did not stop me from enjoying the book. It became one of my favourites of the year so far and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon!