Book Review: Ready Player One

This one was very easy to get into, and by goodness, it’s being turned into a movie as we type! Front the beginning, I was sucked into this gloom, gray, dirty, dusty world, and as a new world, it was captivating! I mean, there is no more meaning to life than the one we’ve created in the virtual world, isn’t it? Ernest Cline’s new world was one I could easily imagine – the feeling is similar for me while reading The Giver or Hunger Games. It was a dreary one, and Cline gave this dystopia a new take with nostagic video games.

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Mind you, I never played video games longer than 30 minutes. I’ve never owned a console until I turned eleven (I think), and that was only a Game Boy Advanced. Computer or other TV games, I never got into them and didn’t bother trying to ask my parents to buy it for me. I also didn’t have anyone to play with.

Despite my not having any computer game knowledge, it was still very easy to be sucked into this imaginary virtual world where you can be, whoever you want to be. You can look, however you want to look. And, you can sound like, whatever you want to sound like. It was a loner kid’s fantasy come true.

I’ve enjoyed reading this through perhaps three-quarters of the way in, and then it just turned into a movie and that was disappointing. I thought the whole plot of finding the hidden Easter eggs by understanding games and its hidden messages was pretty cool. Then it was ruined by having bad guys come in and chasing everyone around. At that point, I was just thinking to myself, is Ernest Cline trying to write this like a blockbuster action movie? The plot turned cliche and less interesting even though I continued and ultimately finished it.

I’ve seen the movie trailer now, and it kind of is exactly as I imagined it. The book, now movie, is just another action movie full of CGs with a generic plot. I won’t be going to see this movie on opening day, but perhaps someday I’ll stream it on Netflix just to say I’ve read and seen both.

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May 1944 – Little House

It’s not the transmitter. Etienne is wrong. It was not the radio the German was interested in. It was something else, something he thought only she might know about. And he heard what he wanted to hear. She answered his one question after all.

Just a dumb model of this town.

-Page 426 of All the Light We Cannot See

Book Review: The Martian

An astronaut is stuck in Mars – can he survive until the rescue team comes back for him? 543 days later??

I highly recommend The Martian by Andy Weir to anyone interested in science fiction/space. It’s a nerdy read, but you don’t really need to remember much of your high school science to follow along, although that’ll help 😛

book cover

The Martian book cover

If you know anything about my reading habits, you’ll know that I dig thrillers and mystery fiction novels. I love the suspense and feeling HOOKED by words. This book had me hooked from the very beginning, and made it hard for me to put down! Now, I didn’t read this book in one sitting like some people I know, but if I had 8 free hours to do nothing but read, oh yeah, I may have finished it, too.

This is a book about man vs nature, the Martian kind. I read elsewhere of this being compared to Robinson Crusoe, saying this is like being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Except, you have nothing to survive on. Well. Hardly anything. Just gotta make water out of thin air, ya know? Literally, thin air.

I feel like this book was thoroughly researched and extremely believable. I think I understood most of the science behind what Mark Watney (main character) was doing, and, honestly, that made me feel smart.

Through all the unknowns and uncertainty, I loved that Mark is a personable character. He seems like the kind of social guy that you meet once, chat a little, and instantly become good friends. Weir created a character that I was genuinely rooting for, from the beginning of his adventure to the very end. He does this by giving some breathing room for character development. It’s not all, “OMG, problem solve! Problem solve! Think, Watney, think!” Goodness, what does Mark do in solitude waiting for rescue? He watches 70’s TV shows! He works on whatever problem he has in front of him (like how to find enough food to survive), solves it (or think he does), then gets back to some TV watching normalcy before another problem arises. Sure, this cycle did get a little repetitive, but if you have to wait over a year for rescue, this is probably what will be happening! I didn’t mind that too much. In the short moments of normal “chill” time, Mark is just a regular guy and extremely relatable. His optimism is contagious, and readers naturally root for him to survive. When the whole world comes together to rescue this guy, oh man, faith in humanity – restored!

Oh, do yourself a favor, and DON’T watch the trailer for the upcoming move! Spoilers galore…

Pirate-Ninjas

Conclusion: I don’t need the water reclaimer at all. I’ll drink as needed and dump my waste outdoors. Yeah, that’s right, Mars, I’m gonna piss and shit on you. That’s what you get for trying to kill me all the time.

There. I saved myself 3.6 pirate-ninjas.

P. 230 of The Martian by Andy Weir, one of my favorite books I read this summer.