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Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

Escape Into '80s Pop Culture in 'Ready Player One'

Author Ernest Cline to appear at Boswell, Next Chapter

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An impoverished society so bleak that happiness can only be found by saturating the mind in pseudo-reality: Welcome to America in 2044, as depicted in Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One. Like many in a grim world, lead character Wade Watts seeks escapism through video games. In Watts' case, the virtual universe is a sprawling utopia where a person can live and play and even hope to discover real-world riches—an online world that beckons millions because somewhere in this networked microcosm the video game's creator has hidden a series of puzzles that hold incredible wealth for whoever can figure them out. When Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle, all of humanity turns its eyes to him. Danger, chaos and even romance ensue. Besides being awash in 1980s pop culture from start to finish, Ready Player One features a provocative narrative, clever characters and an entertaining plot that defies reality.

Cline is a novelist and spoken-word artist who resides in Austin, Texas. Ready Player One, Cline's debut novel, is currently in production as a feature-length film. Cline will appear in the Milwaukee area at Next Chapter Bookshop on Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. and at Boswell Book Co. on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.

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