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Publisher's Summary

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut - part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune - and remarkable power - to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved - that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt - among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life - and love - in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"As narrator of this offbeat, futuristic adventure, Wil Wheaton must evoke a teen's naïveté and cynicism about real life and incorporate this veteran gaming geek's expertise of ‘80s culture.... Wheaton is up to the task, presenting an engaging treasure hunt while also dramatizing the hero’s enthusiasm at playing classic games like Pac-Man. Also a twist on Pilgrim's Progress, this novel has something for everyone." (AudioFile magazine)

“An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.” (Booklist)

"This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans... sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.” (Publishers Weekly)

Featured Article: The Best Sci-Fi Audiobooks to Blast You into Another Galaxy


There’s a certain magic in losing yourself in the imaginative world of science fiction. But when new landscapes and realities are paired with brilliant audio performances, the experience is more immersive than ever. We’ve curated some of the best science fiction audiobooks, ranked not only for their vividly constructed narratives, but also for the compelling, stellar narration that brings them to life. So grab your headphones and settle in as reality fades away.

What listeners say about Ready Player One

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Thanks, But No Thanks

Wil Wheaton was literally the only reason I got even halfway through. I understand the appeal of it that led to its popularity, but it's just... so much cringe. The protagonist is also just so wholly unlikable.

47 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Large amounts of filler

Will Wheaton does little to bring life to the characters. At times I wasn't sure who was saying what, due to the same voice/tone used for all characters.

The story is a cool walk down nostalgia lane, but there were too many internal dialogues when it felt like the protagonist needed to move forward.

33 people found this helpful

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Great book

Lots better than the movie. Listened to it twice in a row. Will listen again

22 people found this helpful

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Bad

This is the only book I have ever returned. I'm not religious and the world-building, in the beginning, is intriguing. However, when describing most things that are happening, it's a simple "remember what that place looked like from that thing? Yeah it's that." instead of going into decent detail. I get it, it's a nostalgia trip, I'm a huge nerd as well, however, this runs past the line for cringe. It's more of a self-insert, "look at how cool I am for knowing this thing about this thing" which would be fine. Yet once it starts getting into, "well actually" territory, and it devolves into, "and then my friend high fived" it just becomes unbearable. The only reason I say I'm not religious was that none of the atheism was a turn away for me. I'm open to religious work, non-religious works, and anti-religious work. This book is just bad because it is bad. I love some schlock from time to time but I couldn't stand this. The nostalgia blinders definitely got to people this time around.

13 people found this helpful

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AWESOME

This book is amazing much better, and more detailed than the movie although, not the best for kids lots of cursing. Lol

13 people found this helpful

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A Silly Opera

In fantasy or scifi the world should, at some basic level, make some darned sense. This one doesn't and is so darned silly that it is painful. Yeah, the geeky stuff is OK, and if it had been reined into some reasonable scope instead of presented as the biggest of biggest of REALLY BIGGEST space operas, it would have been better. I thought the characters, for the most part, childish, and honestly never gave a darn what happened to them, or really ever thought they were in any danger.

13 people found this helpful

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Deus Ex Machina

Any additional comments?

Do you like Deus ex Machina? This book is a study in how to use it...terribly, often, and to poor effect. It's also a book about video games and gamers, and while the author clearly did some research into the culture of the 1980's, he also doesn't know very much about gaming and gamers. He also doesn't know much about writing basics. Good dialogue? Nope. Cliches? Yep. Character depth? Sorry. Stereotypes? Indeed.

I'm a gamer. I'm a writer. I badly wanted this to be a good book. Its just not. The narration starring WW as a weirdly one-dimensional reader didn't help...but it really didn't hurt that much either.

12 people found this helpful

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overrated

later on the book is better but no description of game meachanics litrpg is better

7 people found this helpful

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I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

Somehow, every time I read a review, I got the idea that only young adult males who love to play video games would enjoy this book. Well, I am here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I think anyone who is within ten years +/- my age (50-ish) would get a HUGE kick out of this book. There are so many references to things that are in our cohort’s DNA that everyone can get the “in” jokes. References to Indiana Jones (okay, I just found out that one of my coworkers WASN’T EVEN BORN YET when the original movie came out—ghahhhhh!!), PacMan, Monty Python . . . there were tons of things nearly anyone who wasn’t living under a rock will get. I am sure there are things I missed, but that hardly mattered because there was also a kick-ass plot to keep me interested.

For his plot, Cline used a formula that is becoming familiar from the gaming world: Give the protagonist a quest, and set up obstacles. If your protagonist is likable, then the reader will want him to succeed. He is, and we do. I wanted Wade Watts to succeed so badly that I found this book every bit as addicting as the best video games: I could barely put it down. I told everyone around me how much I was enjoying it. I am telling you to read it now!

[I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton, who is just about the perfect choice, for so many reasons . . . not least of which is being a piece of 80’s trivia himself!!]

729 people found this helpful

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A sci-fi book everyone will like

I usually don’t read science fiction books like this one, but I highly recommend it to everyone, even if/especially if you’re skeptical. The world seems to be an eerie prediction of what the world as we currently know could actually be, similar to books like “1984” and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. If you are a fan of 80’s pop culture and such, you’ll get a kick out of references to films like “Wargames” and “Blade Runner”.

I know there are a bunch of critiques here about the anti-religious sentiments expressed in the novel, but as a religious individual myself, I hope that, if you find yourself feeling “offended,” please understand how atheism might fit in a book about a pretty cynical society.

Overall, I loved this book. The narration is excellent, and it is a fun ride from start to finish. Give it a chance. Worst case scenario, you can exchange it for another Jane Austen novel or something else that’s just as slow.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Bennett
  • 10-02-18

High concept, low on story

The whole thing could be about half as long if the author didn't just spout cultural references without any plot

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  • Kimberly
  • 03-27-18

Totally awesome

This is the 7th time I’ve listened to the book, brilliant performance by Wil Wheaton.

Looking forward to Spielberg’s interpretation tomorrow, though not expecting it to be the same as this book, but still expect an awesome movie.