Ready Player One

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Ready Player One
Ready Player One cover.jpg
Cover to the first printing
Author Ernest Cline
Language English
Genre Science fiction and dystopian
Publisher Random House
Publication date
August 16, 2011
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 384
ISBN 978-0307887436

Ready Player One is a science fiction and dystopian novel by Ernest Cline. The book was published by Random House on August 16, 2011.[1] The audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton. In 2012, the book received an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association division of the American Library Association[2] and won the 2012 Prometheus Award.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

In the year 2044, Wade Watts, like most of humanity, escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia. Like others, Wade dreams of discovering a virtual Easter Egg that lies concealed within one of thousands of virtual worlds by the OASIS's creator, the late James Halliday. Halliday stipulated in his will that the person who discovers the egg will inherit his entire estate, including management and control of the OASIS itself.

For years, millions struggle fruitlessly to attain the prize, knowing only that Halliday’s clues are based in the pop culture of the late twentieth century; these individuals become known as "gunters" (a portmanteau of "egg hunter"). When Wade stumbles upon the solution to the first puzzle, thousands of competitors join the hunt; among them powerful corporate players who are willing to commit murder to beat Wade to the prize, hoping to monetize access to the OASIS. For Wade to survive, he must win. But to do so, he must leave his virtual existence and face life in the real world he has always been desperate to escape.[4]


  • Wade Owen Watts/Parzival – the protagonist, a poor orphan from the "stacks" surrounding metropolitan Oklahoma. Wade names his OASIS character Parzival after Percival, the Arthurian knight famous for his quest for the grail, and dedicates his life to finding James Halliday's Easter egg.
  • Aech – Wade's best friend, fellow gunter, and rival in the quest to find the egg.
  • Art3mis – a famous gunter and blogger from Canada. Wade has a huge cyber-crush on her, which is complicated by their competition in search of the egg.
  • Nolan Sorrento – a high-ranking official of Innovative Online Industries, the multinational corporation that serves as an Internet service provider for most of the world and hopes to take over and monetize the OASIS. Sorrento is head of IOI's Oology (the science of searching for Halliday's Easter egg) Division, and serves as the primary antagonist of the novel.
  • Daito and Shoto – Japanese gunters who work as a team in their quest for the egg. They have a generally tense, but sometimes-friendly relationship with Wade, Aech, and Art3mis.
  • James Donovan Halliday – creator of OASIS. He is based on the personalities of Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott.[5][6]
  • Ogden Morrow – Co-creator of the OASIS and best friend of James Halliday. He is among the few in the world who is rich and can afford luxuries that most people cannot. His appearance and personality are described as being "a cross between Albert Einstein and Santa Claus." Despite being rich, he is humble and respects his deceased friend's game and the hunt for the egg.


The New York Times said "The book gets off to a witty start" but noted that it lacks at least one dimension, stating that gaming had overwhelmed everything else about this book.[7] USA Today wrote that the novel "undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now".[8] NPR said that the book was "ridiculously fun and large-hearted". Cline "takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly" with a "deeply felt narrative [that] makes it almost impossible to stop turning the pages".[9]

Easter Egg hunt[edit]

Ten months after the first edition release, Cline revealed on his blog that Ready Player One itself contained an elaborately hidden easter egg. This clue would form the first part of a series of staged video gaming tests, similar to the plot of the novel. Cline also revealed that the competition's grand prize would be a DeLorean.[10] The game Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale by Austin based developer Portalarium was featured in one part of the contest.[11] The final stage of the contest was announced on August 1 2012, and was to set a world record on one of several classic arcade or Atari 2600 games. This was completed on August 9 2012 by Craig Queen, who set a new world record in Joust. He was awarded the DeLorean on the TV show X-Play.[12]

Film adaptation[edit]

Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010.[13] The studio hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the first draft written by author Eric Eason.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ready Player One by Ernest Cline". Random House Publishers. 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ "YALSA's Alex Awards". American Library Association. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ Libertarian Futurist Society. "PROMETHEUS AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED". Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "How Lord British Inspired Anorak | Ernie's Blog". 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  6. ^ Sims, Tony (June 22, 2011). "A Few Minutes With Fanboys Writer Ernest Cline on Ready Player One". Wired. 
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 14, 2011). "‘Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline – Review". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. August 19, 2011. 
  9. ^ Schaub, Michael (2011-08-22). "'Player One': A Winning, Geeked-Out Page-Turner". NPR. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  10. ^ "Three Hidden Keys Open Three Secret Gates | Ernie's Blog". 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Ready Player One Author Ernest Cline Gives Away a DeLorean on X-Play". 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  13. ^ Billington, Alex (June 18, 2010). "WB Picks Up Ernie Cline's New Geek Novel 'Ready Player One'". [2]. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Screenwriter Zak Penn Rewriting 'Ready Player One' for Warner Bros". Retrieved 25 June 2014. 

External links[edit]