There’s lot of these opinions on the internet for a pop culture book that’s seven years old, but I absolutely fucking loved this book. It has been a while since I’ve been so engrossed in a book that I’d rather read (listen) to it, than other things I enjoy.
My normal routine of driving to work in the morning consists of me making the first tough choice of either podcast, book, or music. Usually music loses nine times out of seven. The next hour and forty minutes can be either a solid book or podcast listen. Other times, I switch every 15 minutes between the two.
The book starts out with the main protaganist, a Wade Owen Watts who lives in “The Stacks”. “The Stacks” is a literal skyscraping trailer park. Not sturdy in the least and susceptible to collapsing, usually due to meth lab explosions. This was dangerous because of the domino effect. I should mention this story also takes place in 2044. The internet has never seen a better time. As a result in the quest for advancing technology the world has run into the eventual energy crisis that lies ahead. Roads are almost useless because fuel is non-existent, or so outrageously expensive only the wealthy can afford it.
The one upside of this technology boom is the is the invention of The OASIS. The Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation, a MMO Simulation Game so immersive that people start living their entire lives online. The creators and front-men of this massive universe is Jame Halliday and Ogden Morrow. This world was built out of and surround James’ obsession with 80’s pop culture. Entire “planet” devotions to movies and video games exist in The OASIS. Want to visit Pac-Man world, or immerse your self as Ultron, walk around The Labyrinth, or pretend to be Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon? It all exists in The OASIS. Want to go to college or compete in a MMO Death-Match? O-A-S-I-S.
Upon James’ death, he made a video will that was announced to the world. He denounced any previous wills and announced that he was launching “The Contest”. The winner would have to find 3 keys (Bronze, Jade, Crystal) and pass through 3 gates in order to win. The winner would win everything James’ owned including his company and fortune.
Naturally this caused a huge uproar and everyone with an account was logging in trying to figure out the first clue.
The fervor of the event dies down after months and years of no one finding the first and most important Copper Key.
Wade is poor and attends school online. He has a level 3 avatar named Parzival. He longingly dreams about going on adventures to level up his character, but he can’t. One of the rules of The OASIS is if you die inside, your avatar/character starts back at square one with no items. He spends his time in class researching all of James Halliday’s favorite subject matter.
It’s after the initial peak in the contest’s popularity that Wade actually thinks he’s figured out the location of the Copper Key. One problem, he can’t afford to get to the area its in… Due to a loop hole in the school’s traveling, Wade gets a “Team Sports Teleport Voucher”.
After quickly departing, Wade straps on his armor, helmet and sword and runs off to find what he’s looking for.
I want to ruin the story-line for you, but I can’t. I highly recommend this book. Go get it. Like right now.