Me: Ok time to listen to the stupid audiobook and write a review on it
Narrator: Random House Audio presents “Ready Player One”
Me: Hey wait, that sounds like…
Narrator: Read for you by Wil Wheaton
Me: Greatest book ever!
Author: Ernest Cline
I have a real problem with nostalgia culture. Not nostalgia itself, just the culture of nostalgia. What do I mean by that? let me show you.
This is nostalgia:
This is nostalgia culture:
Honestly, that’s what I was most afraid of with this novel. Fake 1980’s nostalgia in place of a story. So I was bracing myself for awful “remember when ____ was a thing?!” style references, and this book did not disappoint.
So the basic idea is that the world runs out of fossil fuels and so now the cities are overcrowded and life sucks and people like to spend their free time in a VR internet system called the Oasis.
The creator of the Oasis left a huge prize in his will to whoever finds an easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the Oasis. and yes, you are supposed to forget that a person’s will can be contested in a court of law for unreasonable demands.
The story itself is a simple quest. The protagonist, Wade/Parzival dreamed for a long time about finding the egg. Then one day, he finally found a clue.
This book was okay. I wasn’t joking above about Wil Wheaton making this audiobook better for me.
If you read my rambling thoughts on dystopias regularly, it won’t surprise you to hear that the world-building as an issue for me.
What I don’t get is why the end of fossil fuels leads to overcrowding in cities, after all, it was the industrial revolution that led to urban growth since fewer people were needed to work on farms. The novel even says that most people work as day laborers in factory farms. Am I the only one who sees the problem here?!
Wouldn’t it be cheaper for the farmers to set up small houses for their laborers on their farm rather than transport them back and forth every day? and without gasoline to power modern farming equipment, I assume they have to use horses and plows. Naturally, that’s going to be much slower and harder for one person to maintain the upkeep on all that land.
Here’s an idea: rather than having to oversee all those workers, wouldn’t it make more sense to carve up the fields into plots and make the workers responsible for their own plot. They could live there with their families in exchange for working the land and giving the landowner a percentage of whatever they grow. Did everyone just forget history? That’s how farming worked for hundreds of years before industrialization, so if we lost industrialization, wouldn’t it make sense to go back to that model?!
No one else was bothered by this? . . . okay, I’ll shut up.
The novel glorifies 1980’s nerd culture to an unbelievable degree. It’s like culture stopped after 1990! really? There’s no original pop culture at all?! How sad and pathetic must your world be?
The quest plot is not bad. but if you are not a massive 80’s culture nerd you will never guess the answers to the riddles. All the riddles rely on you knowing outside information, which I think is kind of unfair.