Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ready Player One: Technology + Literacy

It started off innocently enough. It was the morning of February 16th; I was catching up on my tweets, and discovered that it was World Read Aloud Day. I couldn't think of a fun book involving tech to use as a way to participate (yes, I know it didn't "have" to be a tech-ish book, but I like to tie in my subject area when I can...), so I tweeted about it:

Well, I got a reply from Ms. Rubini-LaForest on Twitter with a suggestion to find a section of the book Ready Player One to read aloud. I was intrigued. A quick search of my school library proved fruitless, but my awesome school librarian offered to pick up a copy for me at our local public library. I took her up on it, knowing full well that I am not always very good at finishing books that I start, but I was going to give this a go regardless.

When I actually picked the book up, I discovered that I was immediately sucked into the dystopian tale, and read the whole thing within only a couple of days! Despite my awesomely and surprisingly fast reading, I did not get all of this achieved in time for World Read Aloud Day, but this novel was so good that I couldn't not share it here.

Ready Player One is a young adult novel (I'd recommend a mature 8th grade or above) from 2011 written by Ernest Cline. It is an awesome story (with interesting social commentary and some eerie present-day parallels) of a dystopian future where most of society escapes into the virtual internet/video-game world of the OASIS. When the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies, we discover that he has no family to leave his family or fortune to. It is revealed that Halliday has hidden an Easter Egg within the OASIS - and the first person that discovers it will become the heir to his full fortune and corporation. 

Ready Player One begins five years after Halliday dies, and tells the story of Wade Watts, a lowly high school student, and his hunt for the Easter egg. I won't spoil it for you, but hopefully that's enough to pique your interest and get you reading!

The whole novel is filled with 1980's references (James Halliday is a kid who grew up in the 1980's), which makes it super fun for a reader in their late 30's like me who remembers most of these references first-hand. Retro video games, kitschy movies and television, and a whole lot of Rush references -- and more!

In looking up some info on the novel, I was super excited to discover that it's currently in production as a movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. Whoa! And it's slated to come out in Spring 2018. I can't wait!

Do you know of any other fun fiction with technology themes? I loved this book so much, and I'd love to check out more just like it!

-Mrs L.

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