The year is 2044. Most, if not all, people exist in an alternate reality universe called OASIS, which was developed by John Halliday (OASIS alias: Anorak), “a massively multiplayer online game that had gradually evolved into the globally networked virtual reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis.” Kids even go to school in the OASIS. This means that people wake up in real life and immediately log in as their avatars (OASIS aliases), and go to school, socialize, and live their “lives”. Most people don’t know their friends outside of the OASIS, but only know them as their avatars. Avatars that each person creates for them-self, therefore presenting only what they want others to see.
Aside from the obvious implications of all that, which the story does touch on here and there throughout the novel, there is also the main storyline. Halliday/Anorak died in 2039, a reclusive, 1980′s obsessed, multi-billionaire without any heirs. His “will” is televised to every single person in the world via vid-feed the moment he passes. In it, he leaves his entire fortune and ownership of the OASIS to whomever wins the online quest for the Easter Egg that he himself programmed.
For 5 years egg hunters, known as gunters, have been looking in every nook and cranny of the 27-sector OASIS world and not a single person has found anything. Until Wade Watts (Oasis alias: Parzival), a high school geek obsessed with Halliday and thus all things 80′s pop culture, finds the first of three keys. So begins the real quest.
As an avid 80′s nerd, I could really appreciate the references. Unfortunately, most of the references were about science fiction books and movies or video games or dungeons and dragons, and therefore went right over my head. I suppose that is to be expected, given this is a sci-fi book.
If you love sci-fi, this is a must-read. If you are on the fence about sci-fi, you may want to skip it and wait for the movie that I hear they are making. I have a feeling the movie will be a must-see.