The science fiction novel Ready Player One takes place in the future in the year 2044. In the book, the world is experiencing global warming, overpopulation, and many other types of social and economic problems. To help people escape these problems, a man by the name of James Halliday creates a virtual world called the Oasis. Every person is able to enter the Oasis. All they have to do is pay a one time fee of a quarter and put on a headset. Once the headset is on, that person is transported from the real world into a complete virtual reality. In this virtual reality a person can escape his own surroundings and be and do just about anything.
They can create their own avatar and change their entire identity. They can be taller and cooler, travel to new worlds, win money and fight monsters. After the creator, James Halliday, dies, a pre-recorded message is delivered to the online world. He reveals that he has hidden an Easter egg (which is a prize) within the Oasis. He creates a quest in the virtual world and the first person to complete the quest and solves the various riddles to find 3 hidden keys will be able to claim the prize which is Halliday’s real-world fortune and control of the Oasis. The key to winning the game is knowing 80’s pop culture and technology. The action in the book is intense, the puzzles are interesting, there are strange avatars, heroes and bad buys and tons of references to pop culture of the 80’s. All these elements make Ready Player One a book that would appeal to both young boys and girls a well as to older adults with a passion for video game adventure and the 80’s.
Most teenagers today have grown up playing video games. Reading a book where the main characters plug into an online world where they can create their own look and become anyone they want to be would be very appealing. Teenagers could easily connect with the main characters who have to use their knowledge and wits to go on a quest and solve riddles. The fact that the main characters use their gaming skills to to compete against other players to win a billion dollar prize would only make them want to finish reading the book to see who wins.
Another group of people that the book might appeal to are young adult females. One of the main characters in the story is a very fierce, independent young woman who competes with the other players to find the hidden keys to win the Easter egg. This strong independent female character is a major competitor in the quest and she also fights to save the online world, the Oasis, from the bad guys. She is brave, cool and wants to use Halliday’s fortune to end world hunger and fix the energy crisis. She is skilled, competitive, good at solving the riddles and focused on winning the game. I think her character would definitely appeal to girls who might read the book.
Finally, Ready Player One would really appeal to anyone who grew up in the 1980’s. Eighties references are packed in throughout the whole book. There are references to 80’s music, movies, quotes, TV shows, fashion and classic video games. In order to solve the riddles and find the hidden keys, the main characters in the book need to know a lot about 1980’s pop culture. For anyone who is an 80’s trivia nerd, this book would be very interesting to read and re-read. For younger people who might not be as familiar with the 80’s pop culture, it is still easy to follow the story and enjoy the book.
Ready Player One is an action-packed story with adventure, quests, a good vs. evil storyline, and strong male and female characters that would appeal to young adults both boys and girls. Reading a story about escaping the real world and plugging into a virtual reality that is just like playing a video game could convince even the most unwilling teenager to pick up the book and read. However, the book does not just interest teenagers. The book has many references to 80’s pop culture which would appeal to an older audience who actually lived through the 80’s. In addition to enjoying the book, they would also recognize and love reliving moments from their youth.