Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction
Review: I've had Ready Player One sitting on my shelves for quite some time even though people were telling me left and right that I was going to enjoy this book. I admit that people were right and I should have picked it up without any delay.
The book takes place in the near future. Earth is overpopulated, has energy shortages, and a lot of environmental problems. The main protagonist, an 18-year old nerd named Wade Watts lives in the stacks. The stacks are mobile homes, piled 20 levels high, with a whole lot of poor people crowded in them.
Wade goes to school via a VR setup called OASIS -- a virtual world where one can find anything and be anyone. Other than going to school, Wade spends all his waking time studying the life and interests of James Halliday, a very wealthy eccentric who invented OASIS and left a will saying that his billions will go to whomever solved his final puzzle. The puzzle is likely to contain references to movies, TV, music, and video games of 1980's which Halliday grew up with.
Overall, the book is a pretty fast-paced adventure. Wade competes with four other puzzlers and an evil corporation called IOI for the top score to inherit Halliday's fortune. There is plotting and scheming and even a little bit of romance. There's a ton of gaming references and plenty to reminisce about for anyone who was alive during the 80's. The writing is solid and I liked some of the twists towards the end of the book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys playing video games or self-identifies as a geek.