Ernest Cline

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Ernest Cline
Cline at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Cline at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
BornErnest Christy Cline
(1972-03-29) March 29, 1972 (age 50)
Ashland, Ohio, U.S.[1]
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Ernest Christy Cline (born March 29, 1972) is an American science fiction novelist, slam poet, and screenwriter. He wrote the novels Ready Player One, Armada, and Ready Player Two and co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Life and career[edit]

Cline was born and raised in Ashland, Ohio, the son of Ernest Christy Cline and Faye Imogene (née Williams) Cline.[2][3] As a youth in the 1970s and 1980s, Cline was "addicted to video games and movies," especially Star Wars, the movies of John Hughes, and the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.[3] He worked in information technology in his twenties and worked on screenwriting during his spare time.[3]


Cline co-wrote the screenplay for Fanboys, based on a storyline he had developed in the late 1990s while his mother was dying of cancer. Cline shot some low-budget scenes himself and shared his screenplay draft with Harry Knowles, whose connections in the film industry helped Cline get the film produced. The final film was co-written by Adam F. Goldberg and directed by Kyle Newman. It was finally released in 2009 after reshoots, reedits, and delays. Cline later recalled that the film "changed my whole life. Fanboys is my first real original screenplay, and it got made."[4]

Spoken word[edit]

From 1997 to 2001, Cline performed his original work at Austin Poetry Slam venues. He was the Austin Poetry Slam Champ in 1998 and 2001 and competed on the Austin Poetry Slam Teams at the 1998 Austin National Poetry Slam and the 2001 Seattle National Poetry Slam.[5][6] His most popular spoken-word pieces include "Dance, Monkeys, Dance," "Nerd Porn Auteur," and "When I Was a Kid."[7][8] Cline subsequently reworked "Dance Monkeys Dance" into a faux educational filmstrip, which became a popular viral video that has now been translated into 29 different languages.[citation needed]

In 2001, Cline self-published a chapbook collection of his spoken-word writing, The Importance of Being Ernest, and released an album, The Geek Wants Out. In fall 2013 Write Bloody Publishing published a new edition of The Importance of Being Ernest with new cover art by Gary Musgrave and new interior illustrations by Len Peralta.


In June 2010, Cline sold his first novel, Ready Player One, a book that takes place in a dystopian vision of the 2040s. The book was sold in a bidding war to the Crown Publishing Group (a division of Random House).[9] The film rights to the novel were sold the following day, to Warner Bros., with Cline co-writing the screenplay.[10] Ten months later, with the hardcover release coinciding with the paperback release, Cline revealed on his blog that both the paperback and hardcover editions of Ready Player One contain an elaborately hidden Easter egg. This clue formed 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 1981 DeLorean. The prize was awarded in 2012.[11] The paperback is currently in its 17th printing.

Cline's second novel, Armada, was released on July 14, 2015, by Crown Publishing Group.[12] In December 2015 the film rights to Armada were sold to Universal Pictures for a seven-figure sum.[13]

His third novel, Ready Player Two was announced in August 2015 and released on November 24, 2020 as a sequel to Ready Player One.[14][15] A film adaptation of the novel is in early development.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

From 2003 to 2013 Cline was married to author Susan Somers-Willett, with whom he has one daughter. [16][17]

In 2016, he married poet/nonfiction writer Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, whom he met at the 1998 National Poetry Slam and began dating in 2013.[18]

Cline's all-time favorite video game is Black Tiger,[19] which features prominently in the plot of Ready Player One.



Ready Player One series:

  1. Ready Player One (2011)
  2. Ready Player Two (2020)[20][21]


Short stories[edit]


  • "Nerd Porn Auteur"[23]
  • The Importance of Being Ernest (2013)[24]



  1. ^ John R. Alden. "Ernest Cline's smart 'Ready Player One' makes cybernerds fun", Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 22, 2011.
  2. ^ "Ernest Christy Cline (b. 1972)". Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Hamburger, Ellis (March 11, 2014). "Ernest Cline is the luckiest geek alive". The Verge. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (March 26, 2018). "The Oral History of 'Fanboys,' a Love Letter to 'Star Wars' Obliterated By the Dark Side of Hollywood". Thrillist. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  5. ^ "Postscripts: Bloomin' Poets – Books". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Smith, Clay (July 13, 2001). "Postscripts". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  7. ^ Wheaton, Wil (August 15, 2011). "You want to accept Anorak's Invitation. Trust me". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  8. ^ Whittaker, Richard (October 27, 2012). "Wizard World: Wil Wheaton Versus the Burrito". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  9. ^ Coll, Kevin (June 21, 2010) Cool Novel Ready Player One Gets Publishing Rights and Movie Deal.
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike (June 18, 2010). "Deadline Hollywood – Warner Bros and De Line Pictures Win Book Auction For Ready Player One". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  11. ^ "Ready Player One DeLorean prize awarded". Boing Boing. August 31, 2012.
  12. ^ "A Long Overdue Update". Ernie's Blog. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Universal sets sail with 'Armada'". Variety. December 6, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  14. ^ Busch, Anita (August 10, 2015). "'Ready Player One' Author Ernest Cline Seals Monster Deal For Next Book; All Eyes On Film Rights". Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  15. ^ "'Ready Player One' Book Sequel Sets November Publishing Date". The Hollywood Reporter. July 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Marriage/Divorce Indexes". Texas Health and Human Services. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  17. ^ Milson, Katherine. "Interview with Dr. Somers-Willett" (PDF). Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  18. ^ "VOWS: "Cristin Aptowicz, Ernest Cline"". The New York Times. June 19, 2016.
  19. ^ Bilton, Nick (August 22, 2012). "One on One: Ernest Cline, Author of 'Ready Player One'". Bits Blog. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  20. ^ "'Ready Player Two' Sequel Novel Set for November Publication Date". July 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Ernest Cline confirms he's writing a 'Ready Player One' sequel".
  22. ^ "AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ernest Cline". March 31, 2014.
  23. ^ "Before You Buy 'Ready Player One' Tickets, Read Ernest Cline's Horrifying Porn Poetry". March 17, 2018.
  24. ^ "The Importance of Being Ernest' page at publisher Write Bloody Publishing's Website". Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.

External links[edit]