Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ready Player One

What if it turns out that all of those hours of playing Atari, watching 80's movies and playing D&D could save the world?  Your Mom yelled at you.  She said, "Get outside, without Vitamin D absorption you'll get rickets!"  You said, "Just one more game!"  Well, the debilitating rickets is finally paying off because the more geeky 80's knowledge you have, the more you will love this book.  I loved it, therefore the logical conclusion is that I must be a geek, at least on some level.  I'm sure you are all shocked.

Ready Player One is set in 2044. Yes, things look a little bleak for most of us then, but we have an online virtual reality presence called OASIS. Kind of like Real Life meets the World of Warcraft.  The original creator dies and leaves his vast fortune to whomever can find all of the Easter Eggs in the program which are based on 80's trivia.  If you were born between 1968 and 1980 you will especially love this book.  Or, you were born outside those years but immediately know the difference between Asteroids and Defender, you'll be fine.  If you do not know what I am referencing when I mention D&D, you may want to pick up The Help, people say they like it.

Is this well written?  Not particularly, but who cares.  Earnest Cline is a true fanboy grown up.  In fact he wrote a screenplay called Fanboys.  Write what you know.  I do want to put a word of caution about 80's nostalgia, I think its always good to keep in mind that decade had its share of problems too.  For every Duran Duran there was a Milli Vanilli.  Sure Miami Vice was cool but Small Wonder was a sack of poop.  And for some reason I never saw Manimal but that seems like something I would have liked.

It would seem natural to enjoy this with a drink popular in the 80's.  Why, oh why, were they so sweet?  Did Sex on the Beach go well with cocaine?  I drank wine coolers which were not any better.  Yep, totally underage.  I think all the boys wanted to know which would win, my Catholic school knowledge of St. Francis or Saints Bartles & James.  Both involved genuflecting a lot.  I just worshiped B&J when tying to step off curbs for some reason.

If you want to op out of the B-52's and the Mudslides, keep in mind that this book is set in the future.  So you could make a futuristic cocktail of your own creation.  I think it should be a natural extension of current drink trends.  Maybe bacon-infused spirits from rye mash served in a slightly charred corn cob.


  1. 1983 was a great year for TV if you were 12, which I was. Damn, how to choose between Hardcastle and McCormick or Knight Rider?!

  2. As for the drink:

    Here’s what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

    It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.

    The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards.

    The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself.

    Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit, it says.

    Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V—Oh that Santraginean sea water, it says. Oh those Santraginean fish!!!

    Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzine is lost).

    Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia.

    Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle sweet and mystic.

    Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink.

    Sprinkle Zamphuor.

    Add an olive.

    Drink… but… very carefully…

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica.