on August 16th, 2011
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Here’s the weird thing about this book. I really, really enjoyed it despite not having any nostalgic connection to any of the things that were mentioned. Sure, I’ve seen some of them. But, overall, it’s not like I was an 80’s kid. Were this to really hit home for me it would require far more Can’t Hardly Wait and Spice Girls, probably a lot of Super Nintendo and N64 games. Still, it was an awful lot of fun.
It’s the future and everyone lives in poverty, famine, other such depressing nonsense, so everyone plugs into this simulation, OASIS. It’s free to join, and our protagonist goes to school within the digital framework and is only able to afford to live on that one island. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the maker of OASIS died, and left his vast fortune to be given to the person who succeeds in game to find his Easter eggs and solve his puzzles. The prize remained unclaimed for several years, despite people voraciously looking for it.
Insert our main character. He really can’t travel, so he spends his free time scouring over everything 80’s, for research. He also spends time hanging out with his best friend and mooning over a fellow Easter egg hunter’s blog. Honestly, though, his finding the original Easter egg was mostly just luck and everything. Hell, most of what happens after is luck. But it’s a damn good time following him around.
The other characters are also a delight. Even the teenage angst that rears it’s ugly head is tolerable.
The bad guys are a conglomerate who was attempting to win in order to monetize OASIS. It wasn’t called Comcast, but it might as well have been Comcast. I can definitely get behind their beat down.
Overall, the book was a lot of fun, and I can’t really go into much detail without giving everything away. Honestly, the trip was the best part. So, pick it up if you enjoy great characters, video games, eighties pop culture or just a damn good book.