Sorry for the delay in getting this week's Dtoid Book Club post up. I'm blaming Dale entirely for this one, as I've been waiting to get his feedback on our current book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. But I can'ts waits no more (and, at last report, he hadn't even started the book yet due to travel; here's hoping he can catch up).
As for me, I'm only through the prologue, I'm ashamed to say. I'll be traveling a bit next week, where I expect I'll probably be able to burn through most of it. The book is easy to read because it's easy to identify with. A thirty year future isn't all that distant a consideration, the problems humanity faces are essentially problems we're ignoring today. Our narrator, Wade Watts, is likeable and earnest, and we pretty much know who he is and what his basic philosophy consists of right away. He's meticulous when it comes to his research and he has a strong motivation to pursue Halliday's fortune.
Cline's done a pretty clever thing with the character of James Halliday, whom the book seems to be as much about as Wade, and Anorak's Quest, the pursuit of which is the main plot line. It's created a justification for the author to be as outlandish as they like with the pop culture elements and how they're represented without the reader having cause to question it. Of course the entire world would be gripped by Pac-Man Fever in 204X because the (dying) world's richest man started a contest surrounding his formative years. It only stands to reason.
Here's how the others are feeling about the book right now (except Dale, who hasn't started yet):
One of the issues I really had trouble wrapping my head around, based on the prologue, was the idea that everyone lived in pretty much abject poverty, but still had access to the Internet/OASIS. There's a giant energy crisis, climate change has fucked everything up, major cities being nuked, global pandemics killing tons of people, and everyone is sitting around playing an MMO. Although, I guess, if the world was that fucked up, I'd probably want to engage in some escapism too. There's definitely a disconnect throughout the book though with what's described in the prologue and how the world actually seems to operate, but we can discuss that when you guys get further along.
I agree with you about the Halliday bit. When I started the book, I was concerned the whole thing would just be a bunch of forced pop culture references, but for the most part they all fit in pretty well with the story. He's also really clever with a lot of them, and there a just as many obscure/hidden references as the in-your-face ones.
I am only a few chapters in, but I am already in love. I agree that the pop culture references feel organic and very natural -- they don't feel shoehorned in at all. I love the main character, and the setup -- about a mystical contest with a ridiculously lucrative reward -- is something I am excited about following. I can't speak too much on the details of the entire story yet since I just started, but I can't wait to read more.
The copper key has been found! Two more keys to go!
So, how about you? Have you been reading along with us? How far along are you? What are your thoughts?