The Ultimate Nerdgasm: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

August 11, 2014 Audio Books, Dystopian 35

Hey Bookworms!

I am just starting to get into listening to audio books in situations other than long solo road trips. I’m not exactly tech savvy, but I’m pleased to report that I have figured out how to access audio books through my library’s digital service for ZERO dollars! (It’s embarrassingly easy, actually. There’s an app for that.) I’m happy to report that Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (narrated by the incomparable Wil Wheaton) was a big winner!

ready player oneIn the year 2044, society sucks. A series of economic catastrophes, wars, famine, and natural disasters have rendered the world as we know it nearly unrecognizable. In fact, most of the world prefers to spend their time logged into the ubiquitous virtual reality server known as the OASIS than, you know, exist in their own skins. The OASIS is a multifaceted information and entertainment hub- think the internet on steroids. Times eleventy billion.

Wade Watts is an orphan living in a trailer stack outside of Oklahoma City. He escapes his Dickensian circumstances in the OASIS where he spends his time hunting for the ultimate golden ticket. James Halliday, one of the original creators of the OASIS, died and left a treasure hunt in place of a will. Whoever manages to find his hidden “Easter egg” will receive his entire fortune.

Wade and others like him spend oodles of time studying every facet of Halliday’s life trying to unlock the keys to his puzzle. Halliday’s formative years were spent in that most glorious of decades, the 1980s.

This book is the ultimate nerdgasm, but you don’t need to be hardcore to enjoy it. Despite having never played a role-playing game, being abysmal at every video game ever created, and having only a passing familiarity with Star Trek, I couldn’t get enough of this book. The pop culture references flew fast and furious. Wil Wheaton, narrator of my audio book, got to discuss HIMSELF as a political leader inside the OASIS. How much fun is that?!

Ready Player One is easily one of the most entertaining and fun books I’ve experienced in a good long while. Anybody who appreciates a good Breakfast Club reference, has a collection of vintage Transformers, and/or remembers Atari needs to read this book. Like right now. DO IT!

Any of you Bookworms moonlight as gamers? Anybody as terrible at video games as I am?

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35 Responses to “The Ultimate Nerdgasm: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline”

  1. Ekaterina

    I’m reading it right now and enjoying it! I’m not terrible at videogames, but not as old ones as described in the book, hehe 🙂 But although I don’t get SOME of the references, it’s still a great read. At least I get all the bookish references, and it flatters me 🙂

    • Words For Worms

      We did have an Atari when I was a kid, but I was so young I only really remember playing PacMan on it before we got a Nintendo. Nintendo was the last game system we owned, I can’t handle anything that allows movement in more than two dimensions!

  2. Camilla

    I absolutely loved this book for exactly those reasons! Pure nerdgasm! And I was such a nerd when I was younger (still am actually, but now I also have a job where people seem to think I know things and pay rent and things) 🙂

    And mostly, I really loved the way Cline was able to do all those references without it being out of place or forced – it all seemed to match the story perfectly. I think “Ready Player One” might be due for a re-read very soon 🙂

    • Words For Worms

      Yes! I agree. He made it all work without seeming like “ooooh I need to work another 80s reference in here. Let’s throw in some hypercolor.” It was all organic and lovely.

  3. Shannon @ River City Reading

    Man, I had so much fun reading this book and was recommending it to my nerdy friends all over the place. I didn’t even get all the references, but it was just refreshing to read something so different.

    • Words For Worms

      I’m sure I missed a number of references, but the ones I got made me happy! I Facebooked at least 2 nerdy friends immediately upon finishing the book to demand they read it.

  4. Charleen

    This was such a fun book. And as much as I’m not into audiobooks at all, this is one I really do want to try my best to get through.

  5. Rhian

    Another major fan of this book here. I was a teenager in the 80s, and I was thinking I wasn’t much into video games and then I started thinking about what I used to play – Pong, Pacman, Space Invaders, Galaga, Hyper Olympics – and maybe have to change my opinion. I also may have played Dungeons and Dragons. Why yes I was a nerd, how did you guess?

    • Words For Worms

      I remember playing PacMan, Frogger, and Space Invaders on Atari, but I wasn’t really old enough to be too into it until Nintendo came out. I was terrible at Nintendo too, but I played. Never played D&D, though there was a D&D cartoon on Saturday mornings for a while there I couldn’t get enough of.

  6. Darlene @ Lost in Literature

    I’ve seen this one around a lot and you make it sound like loads of fun. Seeing as how all my formative years, junior high through college, ocurred in the 80’s, I’m sure to catch a few of the references.
    Wasn’t sure I wanted to read it before but now I’ve decided to put it on the never-ending, ever-growing TBR.

  7. C.J.

    Great review! I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages and hopefully will get to it soon. I love Wil Wheaton is such a big part of this book. I love video games, but haven’t played much since I had kids.

  8. kristin @ my little heart melodies

    This was one of my favorites last year! (I also listened on audio.) So good in fact I just recommended it to a friend for his long drive to British Columbia from Missouri this weekend, and he JUST texted me that he’s loving it! #nerdwin

  9. AMB

    “Halliday’s formative years were spent in that most glorious of decades, the 1980s.”

    Ha ha ha! Oh, I remember that “most glorious decade.” I definitely love the occasional Breakfast Club reference too. This sounds like a fun book! Great review.

    • Words For Worms

      Admittedly, I was born in ’83, so I wasn’t super immersed in 80s culture beyond, like, cartoons and School House Rock. Though I TOTALLY caught a School House Rock reference in this book and wanted to dance with glee. I find that the 80s and early 90s blur together for me. I distinctly recall seeing the first of the current legging craze and realizing how old I was… Having lived through leggings the first time. I just hope stirrup pants don’t make a comeback (shudder).

  10. Megan M.

    I am the WORST at video games. I was about 5 when we got a Nintendo, and the rule was you got to play until you died and then it was someone else’s turn. I used to die in about ten seconds, and my older sister and my stepdad could play for hours on one turn. I did get good on the Power Pad, though.

    Now the only games I play are Nancy Drew PC games.

    • Words For Worms

      Ha! Mario 3 was my salvation. It switched back and forth between players, and you could re-start with extra lives if you used all of yours. I have terrible hand-eye coordination and spacial reasoning skills. Sometimes I wonder how I function…

  11. Ciska @ Ciska's Book Chest

    Glad you enjoyed it too! I loved all the references to the things from my youth (old!!) I am not much of a gamer though I sometimes pick up the occasional gem or puzzle game. We used to have one of those Atari’s to hook up on the television and we had a Game and Watch but am not sure which one anymore. My brother played with them a lot.

    • Words For Worms

      Such a great book! The only problem I had was that I wanted to recommend it to my cousin, but he’s only 15 and wouldn’t get any of the references!

  12. Jancee Wright

    This is probably one of my favorite books ever. In my apartment, we play a LOT of video games, read a LOT of books, play a LOT of nerdy board games. So the references just made this book so much fun for me. And I love a good RPG so this book was wonderful in that respect as well! I loved everything about this one!

    • Words For Worms

      Ooooh Tetris! I blame Tetris for my less than stellar math grades in high school, once I got it on my graphing calculator… (And by “less than stellar” I mean I got B’s. I have always had issues…)

  13. Amy @ Read a Latte

    I’ve been so hesitant to read this, despite non-stop recommendations to do so because I’m not into video games that much. I may be eating crow and giving in soon after your review!

  14. Rory

    The fact that Wil Wheaton narrates this is pretty much they best thing to ever happen to a nerdy scifi novel.

  15. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I love gaming and think this sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve also recently gotten into audiobooks and would love to listen to some of those narrated by Wil Wheaton 🙂

  16. Sarah Says Read

    I LOOOOOOVED this book. It’s so wonderfully nerdy. And I definitely need to listen to the audiobook sometime, I bet Wil Wheaton is a fabulous narrator. (And narrators, I’m finding, can make or break an audiobook.)

Talk to me, Bookworms!