As promised, now that I have finished reading Ready Player One I can take a more in depth look at the book. My first impressions is that it was very neat. The prose were clean, the loose ends were tied up and the ending was exactly what I was expecting, yet what it needed to be.
The world of the book was thoughtfully designed and soundly constructed. I had no trouble transporting myself to 2044. In fact, when I wasn’t reading I found I was thinking about the world of the book, imagining myself there. I felt that Ernest Cline did an excellent job of creating a future that could conceivably spring from our current reality. The energy crisis was a major event in the story that sets up the need for this virtual reality called the OASIS. However, I think there could have been more done with that.
The romance was awkward, but that’s how first loves generally are, so I have no real qualms about that. I loved the characters. It was easy to cheer them on. There was one surprise I can’t quite make up my mind about. I’m scared to give a spoiler, but essentially, I felt Cline wrapped three social issues into one character in the blink of an eye and didn’t give those things a second glance. Now, I’m all for scrutinizing social issues and dispelling stigmas but I feel like this character become a token. “Look at me, I’m aware.” So props for adding it, but there needs to be more genuine attention if these issues are to be present in the book at all.
The major thought I left the book with surrounds the current state of the publishing industry. I did some reading on Ernest Cline and discovered that he is, in fact, a screenwriter. Before publishing Ready Player One, which is his first novel, he has seen his screenplays become films. He is now writing the screenplay for Ready Player One. There’s this trend going on in the major trade presses where they publish authors who write for TV and film in the hopes that that novel will become a movie, thus making them more money. I wonder what the future is for those of us who don’t want to write a page-turner designed for the big screen.
Susan Collins, author of The Hunger Games is also a screenwriter, though mostly in television. Now, she’s had other books as well, some of which I loved in my junior high years. But this is just another example of the trend. It seems to me that large publishing houses are becoming funnels for the film industry. They seek to make as much profit as possible, which I suppose I can’t blame them for, but I’d hate to see a further decline in the artistic nature of literature. I can go on and on about this. There is amazing artistic literature out there, just on independent presses. But I don’t want to take up too much space here. Then again, much (not all) of what gets published by the major presses is more entertainment then art.
Overall, my nerd heart loved loved loved Ready Player One. I was transported into a world I wanted to stay in. The content was clever and the characters were real (mostly). Cline caters to a large audience of gamers, sci-fi fans and Tolkenites in his book, and I’m glad he does.
This book is worth a read.