Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans. In a bleak but easily imagined 2044, Wade Watts, an impoverished high school student who calls a vertically stacked trailer park home, lives primarily online, alongside billions of others, via a massive online game, OASIS, where players race to unravel the puzzles OASIS creator James Halliday built into the game before his death, with the winner taking control of the virtual world's parent company, as well as staggering wealth. When Wade stumbles on a clue, he's plunged into high-stakes conflict with a corporation dedicated to unraveling Halliday's riddles, which draw from Dungeons and Dragons, old Atari video games, the cinematic computer hacker ode War Games, and that wellspring of geek humor, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Of course.) The science fiction, video game, technology, and geeky musical references pile up quickly, sometimes a bit much so, but sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In the near future, scarce fossil fuels have ended America's era of prosperity, sent small-town Americans to precarious vertical trailer parks at urban fringes, and the entire population into the OASIS, an immersive virtual reality, for education and escape. A possibly autistic genius obsessed with the geek side of 1980s pop culture had designed OASIS, and he leaves his entire fortune, including control of OASIS, to whoever can complete a quest he designed within it. Our heroes, sympathetic nerds with a lot of free time, go after it, as do the Sixers, unscrupulous corporate drones who want to monetize OASIS. SF fans will recognize the book's tone as Dream Park meets Snow Crash, but readers won't need any sf background to get it. More useful would be a crash course in the 1980s-while the novel's preoccupation with dated culture is plausible in context, it may leave Millennials confused and baby boomers cold. Cline's world-building raises some questions about how economics and politics works, but it doesn't matter to the story. The conclusion is perhaps a bit predictable and the tacked-on moral a bit pat, but it's a feel-good ending all around. Verdict Despite some flaws, this debut is a great geek beach book, an unapologetic romp with brains and style. [See Prepub Alert, 2/7/11.]-Meredith Schwartz, New York (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Young Wade Watts takes refuge in the OASIS, th. globally networked virtual realit. that nearly all of humanity relies on. It's 2044, the year before the Singularity futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts will inextricably unite humans and computers. Life on earth is bleak and sinister, thanks to failure to avert global warming and the oil crisis. An orphan, Wade lives in the Stacks, a vast slum comprising trailers piled in precarious towers, but keeps to his hideout, where he attends school online, plays video games, and sends his avatar, Parzival, to visit with Aech, his only friend. Fanboys (2009) screenwriter Cline brings his geeky ardor for 1980s pop culture to his first novel, an exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyberquest. Wade/Parzival, Aech, a droll blogger calling herself Art3mis, and two Japanese brothers embark on a grandly esoteric and potentially life-changing virtual Easter egg hunt and end up doing battle with a soulless corporation. Mind-twisting settings, nail-biting action, amusing banter, and unabashed sentiment make for a smart and charming Arthurian tale that will score high with gamers, fantasy and sf fans, and everyone else who loves stories of bumbling romance and unexpected valor. With a movie version in the works, Cline's imaginative, rollicking, coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.--Seaman, Donn. Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Imagine if Willie Wonka had been a video-game designer. Now imagine a world in which most people spend their time as avatars in a virtual reality. The founder of this virtual reality leaves his fortune to the first to win a contest, comprised of puzzles and tasks based on 1980s popular culture. Three teens compete to win against an evil conglomerate. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.