You know when countless people recommend a book and you go, “Maybe another time. I’ve got a lot to read just now.” And then you have a book voucher, spot it in a book shop and think, “Hey, why not?” And then it turns out to be pretty bloody brilliant and you kick yourself for not listening to people sooner?
It’s 2044, and humanity has kind of fallen apart. Most of the population escapes grim reality by living vicariously in OASIS, a virtual utopia with every type of planet, city, weapon, notch of geekery imaginable. And the ubergeek, the one who created this vast universe, has died, and his will grants his fortune will be left to the one user who plays the game, solves the riddles and unlocks the egg.
Despite a cultlike fandom for Halliday, and his life, loves and career, years pass without one single user cracking even the first clue. The scoreboard looms with ten empty space, until one day, Wade stumples on the first key.
The frenzy that follows sees corporate Sixers try win for their own gain, to monetise the free system, where others fight to claim it for themselves, while others are just along for the ride.
And, hey, it was ridiculously fun. There’s serious undertones to it at times – the way the world’s going, the all-consuming nature of technology, how some will kill to get what they want, the balance of reality and the game. But in general, it’s just fun. The references, the fandom, the indulgence of it all. It’s a celebration of obsessive fandom, from the creator to all those who followed him, and it was fun.
Rush, Lord of the Rings, Monty Python, Pac man, obsessive song naming, compulsive show binges, heavy re-reads. Wil Wheaton as a political leader?
Fun, fun, fun. Sure it said noobs and other stupid terms, but it was just really good, especially after the string of more serious or dark things that have been cropping up in my books lately. And this is his first novel? Jeez. You can read it as a metaphor, you can read it as someone who likes pop culture, you can read it from a number of perspectives, and I daresay they’re all equally as enjoyable.