It’s that time again, everyone! Nerdist Book Club is back. Last summer, we tackled J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. While it was quite the commitment and an intense read, it was so worth it. I never would have finished the book without all of you. Since we had so much fun, we’re going for round two and this time it’s all about Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Ready Player One was published in August 2011 and has won the Alex Award and the Prometheus Award. The story takes place in 2044; most people spend their time in a lush virtual world known as the OASIS rather than the less opulent real one. We follow Wade Watts (you had me at alliteration) as he searches for an easter egg to end all easter eggs. The prize was planted within the OASIS by its creator James Halliday. Countless people have hunted for the easter egg over the years but with no luck. Clues are around though, and they’re tied into late twentieth century pop culture. As you can imagine, that means a whole lot nerdy references that make this book feel like a present to geeks.
Wade ends up solving the first puzzle and then the race is on as all kinds of competitors – some deadly – join the treasure hunt. Yes, it is dramatic.
The book gets meta, too. After the book’s release, Cline revealed that he hid an easter egg in the book. The easter egg led to a series of video game-related tests and that led to a DeLorean. Yep, Cline gave away a DeLorean. In a weird twist of fate, he ended up getting the DeLorean back and plans to give it away again whenever he writes Ready Player 2. Related: a Ready Player One sequel is in the works and a film adaptation of Ready Player One is also in development.
We’re going to cover Ready Player One in five parts. We’ll kick things off on Thursday, March 5, so you have plenty of time to track down the book and read the first assignment. I also recommend having pencils on hand if you want to make notes directly in the book or a separate notebook. Having Post-Its to mark interesting passages is helpful too. Back to the book: I have the 2012 paperback edition, ISBN 978-0307887443. Borrow it from the library, hit your local book store, or get it from $6 and up on Amazon. Alternatively, you can get the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton. Here’s the cover of the version I have:
You don’t need to have the exact same copy though, just follow this guide:
Part 1: Chapters 0000-0008 – discussion March 5
Part 2: Chapters 0009-0016 – discussion March 12
Part 3: Chapters 0017-0024 – discussion March 19
Part 4: Chapters 0025-0031 – discussion March 26
Part 5: Chapters 0032-0039 – discussion April 2
Each week on those dates, I’ll put up a post where I break down what happened, go over easter eggs and references (there may be so many that I’ll just highlight a few), and list my favorite quotes. I’ll post discussion questions to help get the conversation rolling, and you can answer them or pose your own questions. Discussions will happen in the comments section of each post and you can continue talking on social media if you want.
Give me a shout on Twitter if you’re reading along, and I’ll add you to a list of book club participants to make it easier to communicate with others. I’ll also be sure to update people when new discussion posts go live.
Who will be joining me and reading Ready Player One? Head to the comments and tell me if you’ll be participating. Feel free to spread the word because the more, the merrier! Use #NerdistBookClub in your posts on social media so I can keep up with all your thoughts and questions.