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Ready Player One

Publisher synopsis

"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?"

Random House. (2012, June 5). Ready player one. Random House. Inc. Retrieved from


Also by Cline

A teenage boy sits in front of two computer screens playing a video game. In the background, alien ships engage in battle. Over the picture it says "New York Times Bestseller Armada Ernest Cline. A novel by the author of Ready Player One"

Cline, E. (2016, April 12). Armada [Digital image]. Retrieved from,204,203,200_.jpg

Book trailer

Ernest Cline

A Caucasian, bespectacled man sits on the ground in front of a Delorian.

Ernest Cline. (2012). In DevilDinosaur (Author), DevilDinosaur. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from

"Greetings. I’m Ernie.

I grew up during the 1980s in rural Ohio, where I spent my halcyon youth reading a lot of comic books and sci-fi novels, programming my TRS-80, hanging out in video arcades, playing an inordinate amount of Dungeons & Dragons, and watching way too many movies. I left rural Ohio as soon as the opportunity presented itself, but I still do a lot of the same stuff.

Over the years I’ve worked as a short order cook, fish-gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, radio personality, freelance HHG2TG researcher, technical support drone, and website designer. My primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out.

My first forays into geek performance art were the impromptu stage productions of Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail that I directed and co-produced at the Gen Con gaming convention in the early 90s. A decade before Spamalot, we had hundreds of our fellow role-playing geeks acting the film out on stage for a cheering throng of their fellow Python fans. This event was recently featured in the book 40 Years of Gen Con.

In the summer of 1996, I made my first bid for the title of “Biggest Geek in History” when my obsession with the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension compelled me to write a spec script for its long-awaited sequel, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. I posted the script online, where it received high praise from Dr. Banzai’s legions of fans and even garnered some press. I still occasionally find it for sale at comic book shops and conventions. (Because I go to those. Pretty frequently.)

For many years I was a regular performer at the Austin Poetry Slam, and twice had the honor of being that fair city’s Slam Champion. I released an album of live spoken word recordings in 2001, and my work has since been featured on NPR FARK, BoingBoing, CBC Radio, and all over the Internets.You can listen some of my stuff right over here.

In 1998, when Star Wars fans everywhere were going crazy, my own bout with prequelmania inspired me to write a movie called Fanboys. Eight years later, the film actually wound up getting made by Hollywood. You can read all about this long, strange saga here.

My first novel, Ready Player One, was published on August 16, 2011 by Crown/Random House, and it has since become a New York Times Bestseller. Ready Player One is also being made into a movie by Warner Bros.

There are a lot of people who inspire me.

Vehicle sold separately.

Thanks for stopping by. And for being so Airwolf.


Cline, E. (n.d.). About Ernie [Web log post]. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from