Set in the mid-twenty first century, a time when society has collapsed and people spend most of their time in a massive on-line world called the OASIS, the book follows a world-wide contest for the multi-billion dollar fortune left by the creator of the OASIS – James Halliday – to whomever can first successfully solve several puzzles and complete several challenges within the OASIS. Halliday, a lifelong computer and pop-culture geek who grew up in the 1980’s, has made knowledge of that era the key to winning.
For gamers and dorks (but I repeat myself), this book is a three hundred page wet-dream. All the action is virtual. The heroes never go outside. Even if they wanted to, the outside word is pretty much shot to hell. They admittedly have no idea how to interact with real people. Yet inside the OASIS, they are superhuman video game rock gods. And they love it.
If you are a normal person, this might sound off-putting. Who wants to read about the fantasies of the IT department? But you don’t have to be a gamer or a dork to enjoy this book. I know I am not the former, and I don’t think I am the latter, yet this book gets one of my highest praises: I will now read some non-fiction, because any fiction I were to read immediately after Ready Player One would be a let down.*
*Note the nice use of the subjunctive. Like I said, I’m not sure if I am a dork or not.