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Extended Audio Sample Ready Player One Audiobook, by Ernest Cline Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00003987254417 out of 54.00003987254417 out of 54.00003987254417 out of 54.00003987254417 out of 54.00003987254417 out of 5 4.00 (58,687 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ernest Cline Narrator: Wil Wheaton Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9780307913159
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At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.  

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 
 
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

– Bloomberg, Best Books of 2016

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to READY PLAYER ONE as a “nerdgasm” [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture…But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative. Janet Maslin, The New York Times

  • Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation...[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles.  A- Entertainment Weekly
  • “A most excellent ride…the conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest…fully satisfying. Boston Globe
  • Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don't have to be a geek to get it. USA Today 
  • Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it…[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly…You'll wish you could make it go on and on. NPR.org
  • A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel…This novel's large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight…[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast. Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • The grown-up's 'Harry Potter’…the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. READY PLAYER ONE has it all. Huffington Post
  • Incredibly entertaining…Drawing on everything from "Back to the Future" to Roald Dahl to Neal Stephenson's groundbreaking "Snow Crash," Cline has made READY PLAYER ONE a geek fantasia, '80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once. Austin American-Statesman
  • READY PLAYER ONE is the ultimate lottery ticket. New York Daily News
  • This non-gamer loved every page of READY PLAYER ONE. Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
  • A treasure for anyone already nostalgic for the late 20th century. . . But it’s also a great read for anyone who likes a good book. Wired.com
  • Gorgeously geeky, superbly entertaining, this really is a spectacularly successful debut. Daily Mail (UK)
  • A gunshot of fun with a wicked sense of timing and a cast of characters that you're pumping your fist in the air with whenever they succeed. I haven't been this much on the edge of my seat for an ending in years. Chicago Reader
  • A rollicking, surprise-laden, potboiling, thrilling adventure story…. I loved every sentence of this book Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing
  • A nerdgasm…imagine Dungeons and Dragons and an 80s video arcade made hot, sweet love, and their child was raised in Azeroth. John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War
  • Completely fricking awesome...This book pleased every geeky bone in my geeky body.  I felt like it was written just for me. Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wise Man’s Fear  
  • “An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe. Booklist, starred review 
  • 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… sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero. Publishers Weekly, Pick of the Week 
     

  • A 'frakking' good read [featuring] incredible creative detailI grinned at the sheer audacity of Cline's imagination. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    [A] fantastic page-turner….READY PLAYER ONE may be science fiction, but it's also written for people who have never picked up an SF novel in their lives…
  • Fascinating and imaginative…It's non-stop action when gamers must navigate clever puzzles and outwit determined enemies in a virtual world in order to save a real one. Readers are in for a wild ride. Terry Brooks, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara series
  • I was blown away by this book…A book of ideas, a potboiler, a game-within-a-novel, a serious science-fiction epic, a comic pop culture mash-up–call this novel what you will, but READY PLAYER ONE will defy every label you try to put on it. Here, finally, is this generation’s Neuromancer. Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Dominance
  • I really, really loved READY PLAYER ONE…Cline expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future. Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse 
  • “Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation…[Cline] crafts a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Gorgeously geeky, superbly entertaining, this really is a spectacularly successful debut.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • “Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don’t have to be a geek to get it.”

    USA Today

  • “The science fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to Ready Player One as a ‘nerdgasm’ [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture…Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative.”

    New York Times

  • “Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don’t have to remember the Reagan administration to love it…[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly…You’ll wish you could make it go on and on.”

    NPR

  • “The grown-up’s Harry Potter…The mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline’s world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all.”

    Huffington Post

  • “A treasure for anyone already nostalgic for the late twentieth century…But it’s also a great read for anyone who likes a good book.”

    Wired

  • Ready Player One is the ultimate lottery ticket.”

    New York Daily News

  • “A fun, funny and fabulously entertaining first novel…This novel’s large dose of 1980s trivia is a delight…[but] even readers who need Google to identify Commodore 64 or Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, will enjoy this memorabilian feast.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “A most excellent ride…The conceit is a smart one, and we happily root for [the heroes] on their quest…Fully satisfying.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A ‘frakking’ good read [featuring] incredible creative detail…I grinned at the sheer audacity of Cline’s imagination.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “A gunshot of fun with a wicked sense of timing and a cast of characters that you’re pumping your fist in the air with whenever they succeed. I haven’t been this much on the edge of my seat for an ending in years.”

    Chicago Reader

  • “An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “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…Sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • Winner of Alex Award - YALSA, 2012
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2012 YALSA Alex Award
  • Selected for the August 2011 Indie Next List
  • Nominated for the 2014 Abraham Lincoln Award
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
  • A 2012 Locus Award Nominee

Listener Opinions

  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 Michael | 5/24/2017

    " If you know 80´s popculture and consider yourself a nerd, then this book is a must read/hear for you. If not, well then its still pretty good. Cline builds an authentic not too distant future, with believable charakters. Naration by Wil Wheaton is very nice and engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 JKinPA | 6/15/2016

    " Great book read by Wil Weaton. If you grew up in the 80's and are somewhat of a tech geek, this will hit on all points. Tons of great 80's references and the story itself comes across as a pretty plausible story line. Can't wait to see how this story comes across on the big screen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 pcollums | 4/29/2016

    " Cool story that references the best decade ever. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Narration above average. Easy listening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hobbes | 1/28/2014

    " I really loved this book. The story is a classic. Set in a few decades in the future after the economical collapse of the world. A boy, Parzival, comes from nothing. His parents are dead, he lives in the slums with his aunt who only lets him live there so she can take his food vouchers. He lives most of his life inside Oasis, inside a digital world. It is the story of rising up, finding and fighting for something greater than oneself, and really finding oneself. At least that is what I took from this story. I could go into more details, but I'd rather let people discover the story for themselves. The book is full of 80s pop culture and the vastness that is geekdom. Which I think makes it fantastic. The future has become obsessed with the subculture of today's fandom because the richest man in the world left his fortune to who ever can find his Easter egg. And to find it, you must like what he liked, obsess over what he obsessed over, walk in his shoes. As a gamer, as a music lover, as a geek I loved it. It felt like coming home, same way conventions make me feel. But with better hygiene and less crowds. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Lawson | 1/25/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book! I plowed through it in a day and a half! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maya Georgieva | 1/23/2014

    " fascinating setting and lots of cool nerd trivia "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erik White | 1/22/2014

    " Being a child of the 80s this book took me back to a point in my childhood in a completely different way. I couldn't believe the amount of 80s references and the accuracy of them. Then you introduce the Oasis... a virtual MMORPG that we can only love and fear at the same time. I've now listened to the book 3 times on my way to and from work as well as read the book once. If you are a child of the 80s and remember when cartoons, TV shows and toys were real and actually fun, you need to read this book... I can't even begin to explain how the enjoyment of this book. It has a permanent spot, on my iPhone, iPad, and bookshelf... Yep, bought all 3. Hehe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joni Nevalainen | 1/21/2014

    " There is a strong feeling of a target audience here, and I matched spot-on. The numerous references to 80s pop culture integrated well with the story of a greater struggle. It's an appropriate tribute to the birth years of gaming, and the numerous experiments by small development teams which have since grown into more industrialised proportions. The futuristic twist of the era in the book gives some mindcandy to dwell on, so the experience isn't a boring history lesson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ndhrdt | 1/13/2014

    " A funny book with an amazing amount of 80's trivia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corey | 1/9/2014

    " Such a great book, set in the not so distant future. Loaded with tons of nostalgia and a riveting fast paced action sci-fi adventure that kept me glued to it, until it was over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuck | 12/27/2013

    " I enjoy the blasts from the past of this one! Especially since it is from my past, it seems...the writing is okay, the plot is good enough to keep me reading. It really is like a seek n find of 80s nostalgia, which is quite enjoyable and a good escape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liseprown | 12/27/2013

    " My 13 year old son and i both enjoyed this book. Very mild and accessible fantasy gamer adventure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Graeme Shanks | 12/10/2013

    " I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it highly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marilee | 12/8/2013

    " Loved this audio book. Such a great story! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonardo Arenas | 12/6/2013

    " Great, one of the best book about fantasy and sci fi I ever read. So fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karl | 11/29/2013

    " A fun, quick read, especially if you grew up playing video games in the eighties. The continual references to eighties pop culture were accurate and tightly interwoven with the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anita Lyons | 11/16/2013

    " Most fun I've had reading it a while! You will especially love this book if you grew up in the 80's, love video games, or are kinda nerdy :) but the story is amazing and anyone can get into it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AquaBirdie | 8/18/2013

    " Can not wait to read what Mr. Cline writes next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Mech | 5/6/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. Being a computer nerd in the 80's I could really relate to everything which made it all the better. Incredibly fun read for those of us who enjoyed Videogames, Computers, D&D and 80's movies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 4/25/2013

    " Loved it! A recommendation from books on the nightstand was so interesting I picked the book up full of doubt and finished it in a weekend. All the 80's references were such fun. Reminded me of skipping work with a friend to play galaga and miss PAC man all day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KatieMc | 4/9/2013

    " Good geeky fun. I did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did. In addition to the pop-culture references, I have a thing for dystopian settings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 2/21/2013

    " A fun, quick read full of nostalgia and mad geekery. Not literature, but enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 1/8/2013

    " The writing was somewhat sophomoric, but the story was compelling and kept me engaged. Lots of deus ex machina moments. I'm rating it as high as I am because despite its shortcomings, I really couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Hurt | 5/18/2012

    " Very well done for a first novel from the author! There were plenty of plot twists and turns; many of them predictable, but the story was never slow or dry. I sped through this book faster than most. Very good book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bart229 | 11/8/2011

    " Simply awesome. For a gamer nerd who grew up in the 1980s, this book managed to pull up so many great memories for me that there were times I fought back tears. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 11/8/2011

    " If you ever played coin-operated video games, or loved Dungeons & Dragons. If you love near-future SF, this book is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and almost literally could not put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 11/8/2011

    " Best book I've read this year. Absolutely fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Raymond | 11/7/2011

    " So good this book has consoummed me and I can't stop reading it over and over. I had to buy the audio book so I can drive safely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian | 11/6/2011

    " The best fiction book I've read this year. Couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stareagle | 11/6/2011

    " This was a lot of fun, and I think anyone born between the mid-60s and the mid-70s would really enjoy it. The entire book is filled with references to 80s pop culture, and you are constantly going "I remember that!" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thore | 11/6/2011

    " Mostly harmless. Willy Wonka meets Snow Crash. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 11/5/2011

    " Being a fan of the 80s, SciFi AND video games, I loved this story. Some slow parts here and there. This is a book thats begging to be made into a unique grand movie. Can't wait to see it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 11/5/2011

    " Is this a great book? No. Was the writing flawless? No. Did I love it anyway? Heck yeah! Loved the walk down memory lane, for sure. I've read some biting criticisms of this book, but come on people! Take it for what it is and enjoy the ride! "

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About the Author
Author Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture full time as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days he lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games.

About the Narrator

Wil Wheaton is an actor, voice artist, author, and award-winning audiobook narrator. Among his movie credits are Stand by Me and Toy Soldiers. His many television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, and Generator Rex. As a narrator of more than a dozen audiobooks, he has twice won the prestigious Audie Award, twice been a finalist for the Audie, and earned an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine.