book review … Ready Player One

readyplayeronecover  A popular book by Ernest Cline.  Enjoyable, if only slightly, and as it is a quick enough read I’d narrowly recommend it.  (The prose is maybe a little clunky — Ernest Cline reads not from the standard classics.)  The book is … constructed… contrived in a manner — the point of the elderly Christian character, for instance, merely being to have a sympathetic character against his horrible family somewhere in there before the place goes to smithereens.

But the book bugs the Hell out of me in a strangely ideological sense.  Part of it may be the familiar trope that the protagonist, deep nerd and misfit down low on the economic scale is in the society of this dystopia future, by extension — you, the reader, the misfit nerd who may or may not be living in your own personal Stacks.

But the thing that bothers me.  The band of misfit nerds running through this computer program akin to running the “Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” bit –  are doing so at the behest of the interests of the eccentric, once reclusive programmer.  His collection of nerdish obsessions, centered as they are on popular culture of the 1970s through 1980s, are the writer’s nerdish obsessions, and (dare I say) yours.

And it’s what’s going to win the game.  Align your interests with this sphere of interests.  Leave aside whatever you like.  It’s all one spectrum of interests.
The effect is a little cold.

Steven Spielberg is adapting the book.  Of course he is.  He’s name checked round enough, so he pays tribute to a tribute to him…

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