Let's make this a regular thing eh? Our book club meets on the last Thursday of the month at the shop from 7pm. In December and January (Christmas break!) we read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Amy chaired the evening due to my illness and here's her thoughts...
Ready Player One
Last week, I unexpectedly hosted January’s Big Comfy Book Club as Michael’s stand-in. When asked to do so I didn’t cower in my boots as I normally would, but jumped at the chance. Ready Player One was the book of the month and boy, was I ready to talk about it.
After taking a leaf out of Michael’s book, I set off with some brief questions to help push discussion. Not that we needed it! Most of the questions I’d prepared cropped up anyway as people became more and more passionate about the book and it’s topics.
Ready Player One on the surface seems like an easy read. A dystopian future meets virtual reality: all in all could be a very simplistic experience based on visuals. Many of us thought it could be a book written for the movie. However, with it’s deeper themes of identity, corporations buying their way into power, isolation, friendship and losing ourselves to a virtual world, it provoked a thorough discussion!
One key point (SPOILER) was the reveal of Aech (a white straight male online avatar) who turns out to be a black female when the characters meet in real life for the first time. There was so much discussion on this point that I can’t possibly write it all down! Personally, I feel the reveal could have featured any number of stark visual differences. It was all a device to showcase one of the book’s key messages: Online you can be anyone you want to be.
Many people were overwhelmed by the amount of 80’s references, but being born at the dawn of the 90’s means I’d only ever heard of most of this stuff in retrospect. I’ve not lived in this time period so I see it with sentimentality and wonder at how far we’ve come. It helped me relate to the characters who similarly hadn’t seen the 80’s firsthand. They looked back on them as an almost idyllic time period, through the nostalgic eyes of the creator of their virtual world.
This book remains one of my all-time favourite reads. So much so that I am awfully worried about the upcoming movie! With the book leaving so much to the imagination it probably won’t ever live up to everyone’s expectations… My only hope is that they don’t end up removing the human element from the film by making it too much about the action, and references to more modern computer game characters. The characters and their beautifully crafted world deserves a proper representation.
Or it should get the hell out of dodge.
Until next time,
Amy (Writing Into The Ether)