jmtd → log → Ready Player One
I recently completed "Ready Player One", Ernest Cline's debut novel. It's a Sci-Fi fan-service novel that explores a dystopian future (yes, another one) where the majority of the populace hide inside a VR environment to escape their "real" lives.
The sole-genius who authored the VR software hid a series of easter eggs inside, in the form of challenges relating to pop-culture and video game trivia circa the 80s. He constructs his will such that whoever first completes the challenges inherits the mega-bucks company who control the VR simulation.
Mike Hoye has an excellent summary:
Ready Player One is a nerdculture bender of a book, about as hard to hate while you’re in the middle of it as it is to love in hindsight; it’s young adult literature for people who were born in the late seventies and haven’t really grown up yet. Of which I am apparently one, it has become clear, but you’re still left with the sense that you’re reading a Cory Doctorow book whose discerning virtue is that the lead isn’t a thinly-veiled Cory Doctorow. Which is a huge, huge improvement, make no mistake, but it’s stills relentless, pandering fanservice.
(Whilst you are over on Mike's website you should really read this excellent piece on libraries and publishers.)
Despite the points above, I enjoyed the book. My biggest complaint was that the ending was quite abrupt. Quite often when I read a story which is essentially about a journey, I am disappointed if the story ends when the journey does. I hope I am not spoiling too much here by revealing that someone eventually solves the riddles and inherits — essentially — the earth. But what do they do with it? What impact do they make on the miserable world, described only briefly in sparse passages dotted around the bulk of the text detailing the VR one? During the book, the characters opine on what to do with the fortune, but we never see that come to fruition. Perhaps in a sequel.