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Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ready Player One cover.jpg
Cover to the first printing
Author Ernest Cline
Country United States
Language English
Genre Hard science fiction and dystopian
Publisher Random House
Publication date
August 16, 2011
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 384

Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction and dystopian novel by Ernest Cline and it is his first novel. In 2012, the book received an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association division of the American Library Association and won the 2012 Prometheus Award.

Cline sold the novel in June 2010, in a bidding war to the Crown Publishing Group (a division of Random House). The book was published on August 16, 2011. An audiobook was released the same day; it was narrated by Wil Wheaton, who was mentioned briefly in one of the chapters.

A film adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, is currently in production, and slated to premiere in spring 2018.

In the year 2044, the world has been gripped by an energy crisis from the depletion of fossil fuels and the consequences of global warming, causing widespread social problems and economic stagnation. To escape the decline their world is facing, people turn to the OASIS, a virtual reality simulator accessible by players using visors and haptic technology such as gloves. It functions both as an MMORPG and as a virtual society, with its currency being the most stable in the real world. It was created by James Halliday who, when he died, had announced in his will to the public that he had left an Easter egg inside OASIS, and the first person to find it would inherit his entire fortune and the corporation. The story follows the adventures of Wade Watts, starting about five years after the announcement, when he discovers one of the three keys pointing to the treasure.

  • Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival: the viewpoint character, an orphan from the "stacks" surrounding metropolitan Oklahoma City. Wade names his OASIS character Parzival after the Arthurian knight involved in the quest for the holy grail, and dedicates his life to finding James Halliday's Easter egg. He is 18 years old when he finds the Copper Key in the prologue of the book. His username at the virtual high school he attends is Wade3. Wade's character was based on a mix of Cline as well as his geek friends.
  • James Donovan Halliday a.k.a. Anorak: creator of OASIS. A big fan of 1980s culture, he announces in his will his plans to leave his entire fortune to whomever can find his Easter egg that he had hidden in OASIS. His character was initially inspired from Willy Wonka who Cline described as a "rich eccentric holding a fantastic contest". Cline used the personalities of Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott, and placed Halliday's birth year around the same as his own so that his pop culture interests would coincide with Cline's "and the other middle-aged uber geeks I know".
  • Aech (pronounced like the letter H): Wade's best friend, fellow gunter, and rival in the quest to find the egg. Aech's specialty is in PvP and first-person shooter games, and is one of the top combatants on OASIS. Although Aech's avatar is an athletic white heterosexual male, Aech is played by an African-American lesbian named Helen Harris, who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and is about the same age as Wade. Aech is based partly on Cline's friend Harry Knowles as well as himself and other geeks, both men and women.
  • Art3mis: a famous female gunter and blogger. Wade has a huge cyber-crush on her, which is complicated by their competition in search of the egg. She chose her avatar's name from the Greek goddess of the hunt. Like other characters, Cline based Art3mis on himself and other geeks, both men and women. Her real name is Samantha Evelyn Cook from Vancouver, British Columbia and she has a port-wine stain on her face.
  • Ogden "Og" Morrow: Co-creator of the OASIS and best friend of James Halliday. They founded the video game company Gregarious Games, where he would handle the business operations, and which would later become Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS), the company that launched OASIS. His appearance and personality are described as being "a cross between Albert Einstein and Santa Claus." Concerned that people were using it to escape reality, he quits GSS and works on educational software with his wife Kira until her death. His relationship with Halliday deteriorated, and the two men remained estranged until before Halliday's death, when he is entrusted with ensuring that the hunt goes smoothly and without cheating. Ogden lives in Oregon and owns a set of advanced OASIS consoles and immersion rigs, and is able to monitor everyone in the OASIS, even in private chat rooms. He rarely appears in public, and only shows up on the OASIS once a year on his birthday, where assumes the avatar of the Great and Powerful Og. Ogden's character and relationship with Halliday was inspired by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, with Morrow being more like Jobs as a "charismatic tech leader".
  • Daito is one of the two Japanese gunters who rise to the top of the scoreboard early on in the hunt, working in a team with 'brother', Shoto. The pair have a generally tense, but sometimes-friendly relationship with Parzival, Aech, and Art3mis. They are based on otaku: Japanese geeks who enjoy movies and anime, as well as hikikomori: people who live as recluses inside their family's homes. Daito's real name is revealed to be Toshiro Yoshiaki.
  • Shoto: is the second of the two Japanese gunters working as a team in their quest for the egg. Shoto's real name is Akihide Karatsu. Following the death of his partner, Shoto collaborates with Art3mis, Aech and Wade to finish the hunt.
  • Nolan Sorrento: the head of operations at Innovative Online Industries (IOI), the multinational corporation that serves as an Internet service provider for most of the world, and that plans to take over and monetize the OASIS. Sorrento is head of IOI's Oology division, which is dedicated to searching for Halliday's Easter egg. His avatar name is IOI-, after his employee number. IOI employees in the division are nicknamed Sixers, after their six-digit employee numbers that also begin with the number 6. Cline said that he named Sorrento after Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, and said "Not that I think Nolan is a bad guy, or anything. It’s meant as a subtle tribute!"
  • ^ "Ch.." and "p." is shortened form for chapter and page, and refers to chapters and pages in the Ready Player One novel.


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