Has anyone else read this yet? By Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is set in the near future (2044) when the world has gone mostly to shit and people spend as much time as they can in The Oasis, an enormous virtual reality universe. The enormously wealthy creator of Oasis–the most valuable property on the planet–has died, and his will leaves the whole shebang to whoever can find the Easter egg hidden somewhere inside the OASIS program. Our hero, eighteen-year-old Wade (screen name Parzival), is determined to be the winner. It’s tons of fun, a real page-turner.
But I have to admit that the whole time I was reading it I felt, this is a kids’ book, and not in a good way. The first-person narrative is completely straightforward, reliable, and chronological; the prose seems to be at a fourth-grade reading level; there is no nuance or ambiguity in the characters. It’s far more cheerful and far less subtle than any current science fiction published for teens. Honestly, I felt like I was back with Danny Dunn, good times indeed.
Why was it was published as an adult book? Yes, yes, labels are for clothes or however that slogan went, but had I gone into it thinking it was a children’s book (and even with a scant mention of masturbation, it feels younger than most of today’s YA) I would have thought it was solid reluctant-reader (by which we mean boy-reader) fare. But as an adult book, it seems kind of dopey. But shouldn’t I find it dopey either way?