Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book One: Ready Player One

Author:  Ernest Cline

Publication date:  8/16/2011

Random House

Plot summary – In the near future, the world is falling apart, the recession has all but crumbled the nations of the world and OASIS, a virtual reality universe of both games and everyday life (and escape from life).  Ray Halliday, the creator of OASIS, dies, and leaves a cryptic will stating that his entire fortune, and OASIS, to the first player to uncover a series of clues and pass through secret gates.  Wade is a 17 year-old high school student who finds solace from his impoverished home life in the many worlds of OASIS and is the first to find and complete one of Halliday’s clues.  Life takes a drastic and fantastic turn as he is not only thrust into the spotlight but also targeted by a big bad conglomerate that also has its eyes on winning Halliday’s prize.

Quick thoughts –

  • The bastard offspring of Snow Crash and Scott Pilgrim with 80’s references for the sake of 80s references and a happy ending.
  • It’s like a big MMO, where you can watch everyone else’s winnings and failings.
  • The character of Wade is likable because he’s a pitiful, relatable “loser,” who tried to rise about his surroundings.
  • Cline’s conversational style of writing was easy to follow and necessary because the main character is only 17, with comparisons made to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games as other books that have that same conversational style.
  • The camaraderie between the game-playing characters started as very remote and wary and turned into close friendships, even before the characters met in person was also relevant in today’s society and seemed to be drawn from how many people live and meet today.
  • The characters are all flawed, and remain so through the story, which speaks of the more realistic tone of the story.
  • Which 80s references felt necessary to the plot and which one seemed more like name-dropping for the sake of adding as many 80s references as possible?  They Might Be Giants: “No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful”
  • Was the depiction of Shoto and Daito a representation of the Japanese nerd stereotype or did it cross the line into a racist stereotype?
  • Wade infiltrating IOI is one of the best parts, but it’s also filled with flaws.
  • If Ready Player One is made into a movie, how do you translate the game play into a film format for the big screen?  And, would this movie work as a video game?
  • Can the characters be called socially autistic or socially awkward because of their environment?
  • A fun story, a quick read, enjoyable but not too deep.
  • The hosts couldn’t come to a concession to who this book is for…teens/young adults, gamers, adults who remember the 80s references, anyone who’s looking for a light, fun read.
  • Did the hosts pick up any 80s things while reading… a bit of Rush, The Last Starfighter, Tron, Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, Back to the Future theme.
  • Is Ladyhawke awesome-awesome or 80s cheesy awesome?
  • Frankie Says Relax!
  • SilverHawks!
  • What do you call Dolly Parton doing the backstroke?
  • All this is lost, like tears in the rain.
  • Leg warmers, blue with little white hearts.
  • Massive social statements in Family Ties.

I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is -real-. — Halliday

Your Hosts for this episode were:

  • Lena
  • Scott
  • Paul
  • Becca
  • Sam

This episode was recorded: 8/31/2012


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