I recently got round to reading this book. I’d seen the film and several friends had recommended it to me but as I’m a slow reader it takes me a while to get round to it. I’m glad I did though, I was quite surprised by it.
The first thing I will say is you shouldn’t be put off reading it even if you’ve seen the film. Why? Because it’s totally different! After about the first 10 minutes of the film, the story has been fairly extensively altered to suit the Hollywood dream. That’s actually one of the best things because I feel like I’ve got two good stories out of one.
I am an 80’s child so perhaps this book is even more specifically targeted at me, but all of the references to 80’s pop culture are great. From Star Wars to Godzilla, there’s a reference in there that everyone will know.
The concept of the story is that there’s a digital universe (called the Oasis) that everyone can access using, for basic access, a visor and ‘haptic’ gloves. People spend the majority of their life in the Oasis and the adventure unfolds largely in that world and how it crosses over into real life. That might sound a bit space-age to some of you but the reality is we’re really not so far away from that now, so the timeliness of this book is perfect. It almost serves as both the greatest advertisement and stark warning about the future we’re likely to face very soon if the world continues on its current path. I’m reminded of how the Terminator films warned us of the dangers of AI that we still fear today.
This book is a pretty easy read, and not particularly long. I think I blasted through it in about 3-4 days whilst on holiday.
I believe the author, Ernest Cline, is currently writing a sequel so it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here, particularly as the movie and book stories have diverged (no spoilers!).
If you’ve read this book why not add your thoughts about it in the comments.