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Second Opinion: Ready Player One Is The Worst Thing Nerd Culture Ever Produced

If you can overlook the bad writing, one-dimensional characters and stolen plot, you’ll find a story that’s also morally repugnant.

This is not a series about games you haven’t heard of.  This is a series about games EVERYONE has heard of.  Games that everyone has an opinion on, regardless of whether they’ve played them or not.  Games whose actual qualities have been buried in a narrative, whether good or bad.  Games that everyone always makes the exact same comments about.  Games that are in desperate need of…a Second Opinion.

I work for a gaming website. I write about games. When we don’t write about games, we have a harder time sharing our content. For example: we were told we couldn’t share Welcome To Warcraft, a show about why WoW has some of the worst-written lore of all time, on sites like N4G because the moderators there weren’t convinced it was videogame-related enough. This led to that show doing extremely poorly and eventually getting cancelled.

I’m telling you this because I need you to understand that bashing Ready Player One is not an especially savvy move on my part. Far from being “clickbait,” this video is likely to make us much less money than it would if I had simply stuck to videogames. But with the release of last week’s trailer for the film and the subsequent disembark of the Hype Train, I felt this video was important. Because, you see, I don’t just dislike Ready Player One. I don’t just think it was a good idea that could have been done better in the hands of a competent writer or that it just lacked depth or any of the other “negative takes” written by cowards in a cowardly industry. I fucking despise Ready Player One, and consider it easily one of the worst books ever written, a piece of art that fails on every possible level, and which represents the absolute worst of nerd culture.

This isn’t a Second Opinion. This is a reckoning.

This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I’m extremely passionate about the area of entertainment we collectively refer to as “nerd culture.” I like comic books, I like superheroes, I like Edgar Wright films – and most of all, I like videogames. What’s more, I’ve been privileged enough to make decent money here and there writing for and about these things, along with making videos, hosting podcasts, et cetera. And while I love my work, it does come with some unfortunate side effects, and chief among those side effects is the fact that people expect me to have read and enjoyed Ready Player One.

I have read Ready Player One – in fact, I’ve done so twice. But – and I’d like to officially nominate the following sentence for “Understatement Of The Year 2017” – I have not enjoyed it.

For those who live in blissful ignorance, Ready Player One is a 2011 novel written by Ernest Cline, who looks exactly like what you think he looks like. Actually, through “written by” is a pretty generous attribution. Let me try again.

Ready Player One is a 2011 novel that lifts its setting, premise, and most of its story beats from 1992’s Snow Crash, removes all of the self-awareness, badass action, and philosophical musings on the nature of the relationship between language and technology, replaces them with painfully awkward 80s references, and changes the main character from a samurai pizza deliveryman and freelance hacker to the asshole kid in your friend group who claimed he “didn’t need showers,” vomited onto the page by Ernest Cline. Its bestseller success and Cline’s subsequent 7-figure sale of the screenplay to Steven Spielberg is as close as we can get to objective proof that the meritocracy isn’t working.

Of course, the stuff that rips off Snow Crash – that is to say, the actual plot – is a distant second priority to what the book’s really about: references. This is the part that everyone has already made fun of, but it’s usually from the perspective that “reference humor is always terrible.” I disagree with this premise – there’s actually a great movie that’s based on references, and it’s called Scott Pilgrim VS The World. There’s two reasons the references in Scott Pilgrim work. The first is that they actually serve a point – Scott Pilgrim is a film about how relationships are often harder than we think and how, rather than being the reward at the end of a successful adventure, love is an adventure, one which takes constant work to get better in the same way you have to grind through difficult challenges in a videogame. Its references aren’t just there to get you to go, “Ha! A thing I recognize!”, but to use a thing that you recognize to contextualize the point it’s trying to make. A joke about an extra life isn’t just a one-off joke – it’s a metaphor for how we often fail in life, find ourselves at a point so low we feel like we might as well be dead, and have to pick ourselves back up and keep fighting for love, work, self-respect, or whatever’s important in our lives. The 1-UP just serves as a funny way to get that fairly dark and complex idea across.

But the second reason these references work is that they’re often short and sweet. In the director’s own words, they were written to be so short that you could overlook them, which gives fans of “nerd culture” something to look for when they re-watch the film and means that people who don’t recognize extremely specific Legend of Zelda sound effects can still enjoy the movie without realizing they’ve missed anything.

Compare that to this shit. “I watched every episode of The Greatest American Hero, Airwolf, the A-Team, Knight Rider, Misfits of Science, and The Muppet Show. What about The Simpsons, you ask? I knew more about Springfield than I knew about my own city. Star Trek? Oh, I did my homework. TOS, TNG, DS9. Even Voyager and Enterprise. I watched them all in chronological order. The movies, too. Phasers locked on target…I learned the name of every last goddamn Gobot and Transformer. Land of the Lost. Thundarr the Barbarian, He-Man, Schoolhouse Rock! G.I. Joe – I knew them all. Because knowing is half the battle!”

The section I’m quoting goes on for ten pages. If I pitched an article to my editor that was just me saying the names of stuff I liked for ten pages, I’d be fired. Apparently if I pitched the same thing to Random House, I’d get a huge check and a lucrative movie deal.

And honestly? That’s one of the better uses of references in the book, because at least he just says the name of the thing and moves on. If he had written the aforementioned moment in Scott Pilgrim, Scott would have turned to the camera after grabbing the 1-UP and explained “1-UP is a videogame term that refers to an extra ‘life’ gained by the player to allow continuous play before game over. The term was first used in Super Mario Bros, a 1985 videogame developed and published by Nintendo.” Then he’d probably offer some unsolicited opinion, something like “Super Mario Bros was totally great, a masterpiece-“ hang on, that’s too complicated a word – “Super Mario Bros was totally great. It was great! It kicked ass!” And I know some of you think I’m going too far here, so let me hit you with another actual quote: “It’s fucking lame, is what it is! The swords look like they were made out of tinfoil. And the soundtrack is epically lame. Full of synthesizers and shit. By the motherfucking Alan Parsons Project! Lame-o-rama. Beyond lame. Highlander II lame.”

By this point, many of you will have probably realized the truth that lies at the heart of a book that can only be described as “Highlander III: The Sorcerer lame.” In Scott Pilgrim (or Wreck-it Ralph, or Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or Alice in Wonderland, or anything else that uses references and reference humor well) the references are used as a cultural shorthand that somehow means something in the context of the story. In Ready Player One, the references exist for one reason, and one reason only: to let you know how smart Ernest Cline is. Here’s a scene where the main character walks into a bar, hears a song playing, and has to recite the song’s name, recording artist, and release date so that everyone else in the bar knows he knows a lot about music. That’s the entirety of Ready Player One, extended over several hundred pages of torture.

In fact, let’s talk more about the main character. In Ready Player One, nobody on the planet matters except for Wade Watts – every character exists to serve him, whether it’s his perfect magical girlfriend, the gigantic corporation that owns a million holding companies and whose sole interest is tracking down one guy, or the character who transparently exists just to prove he’s not racist (more on that later.) And why is Wade so amazing? What makes him the savior of the universe? He has in-depth knowledge of and appreciation for the media that was popular when Ernest Cline was a kid.

The novel’s main deviation from the world of Snow Crash – besides sucking – is that not only is 80s culture still the dominant culture in 2044, it’s the only culture. By Wade’s own admission, no one has created new movies, television, or videogames in the past half-century because everyone’s been too busy trying to find the clues for the Easter Egg hunt (I could bother explaining this plotline, but I won’t, because it’s just a contrivance to explain why anyone in 2044 would still give a shit about Ladyhawke.) This is a horrifying idea. It’s okay to like or even prefer older media – lord knows I talk about Doom enough to bear out that sentiment – but the day the human race stops producing new art, new stories, new songs, and new ideas, that’s the day we might as well lie down and just wait for the rising sea levels to drown us all. If the best we as a species have to offer is Count Duckula, then it’s time to throw in the existential towel.

(Of course, Count Duckula isn’t mentioned in Ready Player One, because it came out in England, and therefore wasn’t a part of Ernest Cline’s childhood.)

How much does the book love Wade (who’s somehow bullied for liking nerd shit even though he lives in a world where the nerd shit he likes is practically holy writ, because why have a consistent setting when you could have an author-insert)? Not only does the book describe in detail from pages 183 to 194 the several days he spends fucking a sexbot and then raving about how important and great masturbation is. Not only does he a few pages later go on a tangent about how “geeks have a harder time getting laid than anyone” and go on a long, defensive rant about why it’s not Erne-WADE’S fault he’s still a virgin. Despite this, not only does the book’s only female character (until more than 300 pages in), a startlingly gorgeous girl who he constantly calls ugly and accuses of being a man, exist as a disgustingly transparent nerd sexual fantasy (she’s interested in all the same things Wade’s interested in, but nowhere near as good at the challenges as he is despite having the same or often better training.)

But towards the end of the novel, Wade is directly responsible for genocide, and is presented as the victim.

What, you think I’m joking?

“Genocide” may be a bit harsh, but he directly causes the deaths of the thousands of people in the Stacks, the place where he grew up, the place which includes his family and close friends. And once – only once – does he show any remorse, a single paragraph that’s completely forgotten. Worse, the reaction of the rest of the characters isn’t “how horrible” or “what a tragedy,” but simply telling Wade: “Thank god you weren’t there when it happened.” That’s another direct quote. In Ready Player One, nothing matters unless it directly affects Wade.

Later on, he’ll slip into depression – not because he committed a war crime, but because Girl Character has broken up with him for no reason BECAUSE WOMEN RIGHT. While a good writer might use this as an excuse to cause Wade to become introspective and experience a character arc that makes him less of a jerk, Ernest solves it in a single page when Wade purchases an exercise bike and works out until he’s not sad anymore.  No, I’m still not kidding.  I’m never kidding about how bad this book is.

I want to get back to this in a moment, but first, we need to talk about what some people in the comments are inevitably going to refer to as “SJW bullshit,” if they haven’t already done so because I mentioned that a female character was poorly-written. I guess in some ways, Ready Player One is actually a model of equality, because every character is poorly-written. Other than the girl, Art3mis, the most important secondary characters are Daito and Shoto. They’re Japanese stereotypes so embarrassingly written that in the movie I expect them to be played by two Scarlett Johannssons with scotch tape pulling her eyes back.

On page 154, during a team meeting, one of them says that “the Sixers [the villains of the book] have no honor.” In the same scene, two pages later, the OTHER character says “the Sixers have no honor,” because Ernest Cline couldn’t think of a second thing that a Japanese person would say. Writing good characters aside, I may never get over the fact that he uses the same piece of dialogue twice in a single scene. Didn’t this embarrassment to the word “literature” have an editor? Or were they not able to get all the way through this shitty thing either?

There’s plenty more examples of misogyny, racism, and even homophobia in the novel, though few quite as blatant as what we’ve already talked about. And here’s the thing: maybe you think diversity in storytelling isn’t an important issue. Maybe you think that stereotypes aren’t harmful. Or maybe you just think that these sorts of issues don’t necessarily ruin a piece of media for you – after all, Duck Soup is one of my favorite films, despite a particularly infamous racist joke towards the end that I will be the first to admit should never have been part of the movie.

The point is, no matter how you feel about the diversity issue, we can still all join hands and laugh at the terrible way Ernest Cline tries to address it in Ready Player One.

So, there’s only one major character who we haven’t talked about yet, and that’s Aech. Aech is Wade’s best friend, and therefore spends most of the book dutifully divided between doting sycophant, exposition machine, and punchline setup. Aech is a bland, poorly-written, personality-free archetype of exactly the kind you’ve come to expect from this book until page 318, when she and Wade meet in person. Yep, I said “she” – in the ultimate expression of “I can’t be racist, I have a black friend” – it turns out that Aech, who introduced herself to Wade as a man and who had a male avatar in the Metaverse-I-mean-OASIS, is both black AND female AND gay. After taking note of her (quote) “large bosom” – which is honest-to-god his first reaction to this revelation – Wade realizes that “None of [how I felt about Aech] could be changed by anything as inconsequential as her gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation.” I need you to understand this: to pre-emptively dodge criticism of his work, Cline literally introduces a black, gay, fat woman in the last pages of the book just so that his author-insert character can have a moment of introspection where he realizes how not-racist he is.

I could honestly go on for days about how badly-handled this is. Instead of actually making a character for whom being black, gay, or female are character traits, or actually looking at how being those things would affect people in a dystopian future, or diving into why such a person might want to adopt a different online persona (something which is a fascinating issue even in real life) Ernest says “none of that stuff matters! I, a white straight dude, never have to think about race or gender or sexuality, so no one else should either!” He barely even gives Aech any time to speak, devoting 90% of that chapter to Wade’s personal feelings about the matter.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Ernest Cline is racist, sexist, or homophobic – it’s really not my place to make any judgement of that type. What I am saying is that he is a terrible writer who writes terribly. He cannot conceive of anything outside of his own extremely insular experiences and doesn’t even put in the bare minimum of effort to give any character agency outside of his beloved protagonist. In fact, Wade immediately goes back to referring to Aech as “he” and “him” in dialogue and in narration, with no reason given other than “I just felt like calling him what I’d always called him,” which would not only be a pretty icky thing to do to a real human being, but is also utterly fucking bizarre. Why even introduce those traits if you’re not going to make them part of the story? You shot yourself in the foot with Chekhov’s gun and then put it back on the mantelpiece! It really feels like you inserted the two-page reveal in the middle of an already finished book after someone pointed out it didn’t pass the Bechdel Test (and still doesn’t, by the way.)

The fact that this thing actually got published – nay, became something of a cultural phenomenon – is absolutely hysterical.

I could go on and on about the bad writing in this book – about how it doesn’t follow the rule of “One Big Lie” by introducing three different unbelievable premises (the end of the world, the existence of a massive virtual reality, the nonsensical treasure hunt that can only be solved by knowing the most 80s trivia), or how Wade goes from being a fat neckbeard to a muscley Adonis after one month on an exercise bike – or hell, I could just read you some more amazing romantic dialogue like “The female of the species has always found me repellent” or “It was working for me. In a big way. In a word: hot” or “You can’t stop me from E-mailing you.” But as awful as the bad writing, stolen plot, and paper-thin characters are, it’s time to talk about what I really hate about Ready Player One.

As I mentioned before, I’m very much a part of “nerd culture.” I’ve been a computer science major in a school full of dudes, I’ve worked for multiple gaming websites, and I make talk-into-a-camera videos on the Internet. And to me, Ready Player One is an important book because it is a distillation of everything that is wrong with said culture.

See, when Fandom – which used to be a singular, all-encompassing term for “stuff nerds like” – got started, it was an extremely niche thing. Often, yes, people did get bullied for liking videogames or comics, for memorizing Star Wars facts in the same way other folks memorized football statistics. And then that stopped being the case. Star Wars: Episode VII is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, followed by Jurassic World and The Avengers. Game of Thrones is the most popular show on TV, and the most popular shows on Netflix are based on the freaking Defenders. Let that sink in: we live in an age where the average person on the street has almost certainly at least heard of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. And on my home turf, videogames, Grand Theft Auto V sold faster than any piece of entertainment in history up to that point. It wasn’t the fastest-selling game. It wasn’t even the fastest-selling game or film. It was the fastest-selling anything. Period.

Congratulations, folks – the geek has inherited the Earth.

But along the way, the history of bullying caused some of us to develop some pretty bad habits. Like the gatekeeping that’s keeping people out of comic book shops even as Marvel is more popular than ever. Or the insular gaming communities – I’m talking to you, Doomworld – who attack all newcomers who don’t have the “100% correct” opinions on everything (possibly because a new game just came out and introduced a load of new fans to the series.) Or, yes, in extreme cases, attacks on women and minorities who seem like they’re “invading” nerds’ safe spaces. I myself, as one of the few public Jews writing about games, have to delete an anti-Semitic comment from the YouTube channel at a rate of about once a week, which is absolute child’s play compared to what many of my colleagues have to deal with on a daily basis thanks to a very small but very vocal contingent of geeks who are terrified of losing their toys in the wake of a very different world than the one they grew up in.

This is obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: liking videogames, comics, cartoons, obscure films, or anything else that would be considered part of Fandom does not make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you depraved or a mass murderer or whatever the hell Jack Thompson thought we all were in the 90s and 00s. But it also doesn’t make you a good person. You become a good person by being a good friend, helping the less fortunate, donating to worthy causes, et cetera. Playing games may be something you do – it may even be something you do a lot, or something that you consider a major part of your life and a huge influence on how you view the world (as it certainly is in my case.) But it’s not who you are.

Wade Watts, the main character of Ready Player One, is an asshole of the highest caliber. He’s a self-obsessed manchild who is never actually forced to change for the better or even to confront the cost of his actions. His obsession with 80s culture borders on the unhealthy, and he lives in a world where that unhealthy obsession has choked out the vital human need to create. And the book considers these his good traits. This is his superpower. And that’s concerning. It’s concerning to me that this is somebody’s perfect world.

If you want a geek hero, look at Peter Parker. He likes Star Wars and obsesses over superheroes. He’s a nerd. He gets bullied for being a nerd. But his fondness for LEGOs isn’t what makes him a hero – that would be his heroism. His goodness. The fact that he’ll go out of his way to help an old lady cross the street. He knows what it’s like to get picked on, and instead of picking on others in turn, he chooses to stand up for the little guy no matter how hard it is. Peter Parker is what geek culture needs to strive to be every day. When we write an article or a videogame or a book, we should think “Would Peter Parker write this? Would he agree with what we’re saying?”

And conversely, I propose we should also ask “would Wade Watts like this?” And if the answer is yes, you should delete your draft, burn your script, drown the thing in white-out and start over. And it’s this test, more than anything else, that Ready Player One so catastrophically fails. Yes, it’s boring, poorly-written, and literally contains a ten-page list of titles of things the author likes. But it also fails the basic test of humanity, creating a character and a world so repugnant that I feel more than justified in saying it represents the absolute worst of nerd culture.

I. Coleman
I Coleman believes that videogames are the most important, most fascinating, and most potentially world-changing entertainment medium today. When not saying dorky, embarrassing crap like that, I is a game designer, science fiction author, and former reviews editor for the now-defunct GamerSyndrome.com with years of experience writing for and about games.
  • xvtc

    RP1 is good and you’ll never create anything anyone gives a shit about 🙂

    • Mephisto

      It could be said you gave enough of a shit to comment 🙂

      • xvtc

        no it couldn’t 🙂

        • Corgi .

          You’re not even a good troll.

    • badphairy

      I already have. They’re just not aimed at stupid little wyte boys.

      • xvtc

        no you haven’t 🙂

        • badphairy

          Sure Pooky, Because you decide what my life is. *eyeroll*

          • xvtc

            correct. i do 🙂

    • Kebelesaurus

      yeeeeeet you took your time to comment this ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • xvtc

        nope 🙂

    • Robert James Memory

      You’re a pathetic loser.

      • xvtc

        stay mad 🙂

  • Terence

    I strongly agree. Literally stopped reading at exactly that passage.

  • Jim

    I liked the book. Yes it was light reading and I agree, it read like it was a first novel. It reminded me of Eragon, meaning, I thought it was written by a kid also. However as poorly written as it was, for someone that remembers, predates and played such games as Dukedom and Zork, it was fun. I know, “fun” is not exactly resounding praise, but it’s okay for something to be just fun. I think it’s easier for someone that actually lived through the references to overlook the flaws in his writing. I will admit it was a little harder when I found out he was in his forties and not a twenty something kid.

    • spencer_e9876

      “First novel” is no excuse for producing shit. Plenty of first novels are truly great works of fiction, and that includes both “literary” and genre novels.

      RPO ain’t one of those.

  • logat890

    book felt just lame. the novelty seems more like rattling of random lists of hobbyist properties more than anything else. the movie will be garbage just like the Lego, Emoji movie and all their other pop-culture tropey gimick ilk.

  • kev899

    it was written by Hollywood screenplay type. its basically a screenplay that was made into a novel.

    • spencer_e9876

      Yep.

      • Corgi .

        Reminds me of my reaction to The DaVinci Code when I got to the end: ‘My God… it’s a B-movie novelisation without the movie.’ (it had been optioned but not made yet.)

        • spencer_e9876

          You made it to the end of that shitpile? Damn. That’s some perseverance.

          • Corgi .

            I get pretty stubborn about loose ends and books and things, yeah.

  • Adam Ross

    Haven’t read the book. I’ve had friends suggest I should read it, but, never got around to it.

    Those 10 pages of references sound like he was trying to buy his way into geek culture. But, were I to pick that up and try to read it, I’d have put it down after seeing it progresses beyond the end of the page.

  • michaelbotterill

    I couldn’t agree more with this entire article

  • KateMarie Collins

    Hello. I haven’t read the book, more because I’m an author and I have a bad habit of picking up the voice of authors I read. Thank you for your honest assessment. It’s hard for authors who do write good books to get read when crap gets noticed. Repetition is bad. Characters have to go through trials, and be changed by them. Bad things can and should happen to good people, and sometimes the bad guy has to win. When bad books become bad movies, the good authors get overlooked. It’s frustrating.

    • JuneTiger

      I suggest you at least TRY. I don’t think you’ll make it very far if you have any decent taste, but it’s worth exposing yourself to just a tiny bit of its poison. Just enough to build up an immunity to it as a writer. You’ll be stronger for it. You’ll recognize when you’re writing badly yourself when it dawns on you, “Oh no, this is too much like so-and-so.” Small doses of bad writing do wonders for the writer’s constitution.

  • DuWayne Brayton

    I think I owe you a debt of gratitude for reading this thing *twice* so I don’t have to. I only heard of it a couple of days ago, *FIRST* on a top ten list of must read scifi novels. Having never heard of it (and given only two books on the list actually belong on such a list), I was pretty sure it didn’t belong. Having then read a rather enthusiastic review of how AMAZEBALLS it is!!11!!!!1, I was rather more sure it didn’t belong and was probably kind of crap.

    I honestly probably wouldn’t have read it anyways, because frankly the whole thing sounded rather like a masturbatory fantasy of the author. But I might have, just to know for sure if I was correct in my assumption that it’s crap, because I hate criticizing garbage I haven’t read and holyfuckingshitsicle, did this seem like a book just quivering for reincarnation as toilet paper and wraps for joints rolled out of oregano and pepper.

    Thanks for taking a hit for the rest of us, I really owe you one!

  • If you want books about characters in videogames – LitRPG or GameLit – there are SO many better titles out there than RPO.

    Check out Luke Chimelenko’s Ascend Online series, James Hunter’s Viridian Gate series, and Hero of Thera. Good books, set in VR/game worlds, which properly execute the concept.

    • gdi9

      Tad William’s Otherland series is good too

  • Thomas Bawden

    My friend recommended I read this book. Having read and watched this, I no longer think we can be friends.

  • Mike Grace

    The last book I heard this level of ranting about was Twilight.
    It sold out many times over and created entire new works of fiction (50 Shades) – which then sold out and created entirely new works of fiction.
    The writing was terrible, the characterisation non-existant and had morally repugnant characters.

    Perhaps…these are the things that are liked about it?

    • Adele Quested

      Twilight fans were mocked at every opportunity, it became basically synonymous with bad taste. Mostly that doesn’t seem to have lessened the fans’ enjoyment, and so I say, more power to them.

      If Ready-Player One fans can take their rightful place next to Twilight-fans and enjoy their id-tastic lowest common denominator Gary-Stue extravaganza in spite of passionate and wide-spread derision, I say, more power to them as well!

      If any one of them however should somehow think themselves superior to a Twilight-Fan in terms of taste/sophistication, well, that’s just absurd.

      • Mike Grace

        The same could be said for fans of The Room, The Rocky Horror Show, The Cleveland Browns and internet commentors.

        • Adele Quested

          Could it? My impression was things like The Room and The Rocky Horror Show are mostly enjoyed ironically. Fans are generally assumed to be in on the joke. (Don’t know about the Cleveland Browns, because I don’t follow sports).

          • Mike Grace

            Again, I’m reasonably sure that no sane woman wants to have a Vampire Caesarean – but the thought of a superstrong, lip-bitingly beautiful man waiting 700 years for you is as much a dream as a world based on your memes, or a Transexual Transylvanian Transvestite.
            RPO, for all of it’s alleged problems, doesn’t actually promote the idea of the Oasis as a good thing.

          • Adele Quested

            Not explicitely. But if you strip it down to the essence, there doesn’t seem to be any other appeal, no? It only works as a juvenile power fantasy. If that’s what you want, great, if not, be more honest with yourself.

          • Mike Grace

            Shall we assume this is not about me & more about a tirade of attacks on a best-selling book with a film coming out by a best selling director – and people who “Don’t Care” about it to write essays condemning others for liking it?
            Because maybe people just like it. And that should be fine.

            No-one’s asking anyone here to get angry, and It’s been around without this anger a decade already.

          • Adele Quested

            I was using “you” in the general sense. Should have written “if that’s what one likes, great”. And that “great” was honestly meant in the most genuine manner. (Although I can see how easy it is to read sarcasm into it in the absence of other contextual clues, so I’m not blaming you for misunderstanding). As I said, people who can own their fandom for this kind of thing without needing to make it into something it isn’t, have my greatest respect!

            What about “more power to them” reads to you as condemnation? The comparison to Twligiht? I think liking Twilight for the mindless wishfullfillment is totally fine too! Don’t you?

          • Mike Grace

            I find Twilight and RPO chewing gum for the mind. No better or worse than Barb Wire, the National Enquirer or The Room. This is why I’m fascinated by critics levelling more hatred at it than Entourage, The Human Centipede or Hostel.
            But yeah, sarcasm doesn’t travel will in text. But if people like Twilight (regardless of its bonkers view on things) then good for them. If they start accusing Bram Stoker of plagiarism, then that’s another thing.
            “More power to them” came across as sarcastic, and for my view I apologise. It just seems like this is an all-out attack on a film for promoting a teen dream to teenagers, and I’m curious why – is this just Reefer Madness all over again?

          • Adele Quested

            I do agree it’s interesting – you have a good point that the initial reception was less polarized. But a lot can happen in a few years between novel and movie. One possible theory is that it’s getting more and more apparent that the geeks have indeed inherited the earth. People might feel they’re making bad use of it, so they’re starting to feel less generous towards geek indulgences.

            Then again, that’s a bit reaching. More likely, it’s a lot simpler than that: Stuff like Entourage, the Human Centipede or Hostel never made any claim to mainstream appeal – that attracts less notice and consequently less vitriol. But geeks have stopped being a niche – this is a blockbuster produced by Steven Spielberg. Higher profile, bigger target.

            Finally, Twilight has been met with the most intense vitriol from the start. Maybe people just generally enjoy taking shots at easy targets? For me, the surprising thing is less that the movie is panned, but rather that the book wasn’t.

          • Mike Grace

            In Twilight, the movie is actually better than the book. The first one is way funnier than Meet The Spartans, not that that’s hard.
            Perhaps its that geeks, as part of their makeup, are known to get passionate about things – and the media love to paint passion as wrong.
            Speak to most geeks, and they probably just meh at RPO – the trailer itself fails a few geek codes (Chun Li wouldn’t have been at the Oasis because she was a Nineties character); but they know that if they get the geeks frothing (NuGB, Overwatch Tracer pose, Transformers 5) they can sell off the back of the controversy.

            I mean, Pixels already did this basic plot, and who takes Adam Sandler seriously any more other than Netflix.

    • Cyvaris

      Ready Player One is the straight white male nerd’s Twilight, which is why you don’t hear anyone complaining. They were the ones complaining about Twilight. RPO jerks them off endlessly, so of course it’s the best thing ever.

      • Mike Grace

        Staggering how you readily you denigrate 20% of the population, without considering the idea some women or PoC might like it. Maybe you should meet one of these “straight white male nerds” face to face and see what they’re really like?

        • spencer_e9876

          I’m a straight white male nerd who despises RPO, and I completely agree with Cyvaris above.

          • Mike Grace

            You agree “It’s the best thing ever” and it jerks you off?
            TMI, I think.

          • spencer_e9876

            Ummmmmm, not quite what I meant, and I think that’s fairly obvious.

          • Mike Grace

            Indeed, but this is a book/film devoted to praising your sub-group and you hate it because of that. That seems to be a feature way beyond the scope of a film.

      • Corgi .

        There were a lot more people than straight white male nerds complaining about Twilight: Enlightened men of various sorts; self-aware women; people who appreciate actual writing; straight men who appreciate female characters who aren’t empty vessels; fen with some self-respect….

  • This take was delightful and is appreciated. 🙂

  • Kip TW

    If it’s any consolation, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? was a horrible book, full of creaky conceits, explained at excruciating length, with a weak “Maltese Falcon” swipe for a plot, and they made a darn good movie by throwing most of that away (including the plot and a main gimmick) and finding the interesting part, and then making up a completely new story line.

    It sounds like that approach could work again. They’d just have to throw out even more than they did for Roger Rabbit.

    I can’t make a more informed comment, though, as I won’t be reading the book. I glazed over just reading the short excerpts you gave. It’s not like I don’t like to read, either. I just hate to suffer.

    • JuneTiger

      It does happen on occasion. Forrest Gump, Jaws, The Godfather were all crap novels. But nowhere near as incompetently cobbled together as Ready Player One. Goddamn, that thing was damn near unpublishable, and yet here we are. It sincerely saddens me that reading standards have lowered so much in the past 20 years. People sincerely praise this book. Naturally they tend to resort to the kinds of adjectives and homilies Cline would employ and partake in himself.

  • Uldi

    It’s bad fanfiction for a specific decade. I’ve read “Snow Crash” (several times), and was vaguely hoping for something similar. For a second nomination for “Understatement of the Year”, I was disappointed.

    It’s nostalgia vomit smeared onto a page. And the film will be a success, probably.

  • Grostaquin

    I haven’t read the book but now i oddly do…

    • StewartAC

      oddly, I think you should 🙂

    • Booger Party

      I actually have a copy somewhere I got in a LootCrate and now I have this morbid desire to go dig it out.

      Like literary rubbernecking.

  • TheFaithfulStone

    You know what’s interesting about this is that I always assumed we were supposed to hate Wade – because he’s fucking awful. He spends the whole book operating as though he’s Nerdom’s Chosen One – and that once he gets the keys to the kingdom / root password to the server or whatever he’s gonna clean house and take names and _make the world better_.

    But he doesn’t do any of that. Art3mis doesn’t solve world hunger, Wade doesn’t build a spaceship – they just take off to Rivendell or wherever. They don’t improve, they don’t change, Art3mis’s “hideous birth defect” turns out to be an oh-look-its-cute birthmark.

    I read the book less as a celebration of Nerd Culture and more as a withering critique of modern narcissism and victimhood. The meek have inherited the earth – but it turns out they don’t deserve it either. They turned their reason and their talent and their focus into the past and onto themselves and in the process they let the sociopathic, the wealthy, and the connected run the world. The only growth Wade does through the entire book is when he decides to stop fucking the sex-bot and takes an outside view of himself for a grand total of about 30 pages – but then he’s right back to into being a self-centered douche with no sense of community purpose. He is given the means to change the world by destroying OASIS, but when actually _presented_ the opportunity he passes it up. I don’t think Wade is a reliable narrator when it comes to his own motivations and emotions. My take away from this novel has always been that it’s extraordinarily nihilistic. Meet the New Boss same as the Old Boss. You can’t change the World because the World Is How It Is. Even if I gave you the power, you couldn’t do it, because you’re stupid, you’re ugly and _you can’t handle the truth_.

    Wade *owns* OASIS and has no desire to use it. The last sentence of the books is him dragging the ladder up behind him. That was the point of setting up the world like it was – and in a certain sense, that’s the point of why the book sold millions of copies and is being turned into a movie. The People-Who-Would-Do-It-Better _actually did win_ – and nothing changes – there is still poverty and misery, and people who get points for being able to recite Back to The Future verbatim and those that do not. It isn’t who is in _charge_ of the system that makes it corrupt and awful and oppressive — it’s the System Itself.

    I’ve never read any of Ernest Cline’s other work – but given the reviews for Armada I’m afraid I might be giving him too much credit here. Honestly – reading the book as a vote for Giant Meteor 2048 was the only way I could sleep at night. I mean – surely there aren’t real people who are this bound up in their own bullshit right?

    • spencer_e9876

      I suspect you are, in fact, giving him too much credit here. But I certainly do wish Cline were deserving of this kind of analysis – I just don’t think he’s a good enough writer to pull something like that off.

    • Jp McElhanon

      I don’t know I read it as the fact he chose not to build the spaceship it was a signal to Artemis that he wanted to maybe help the world and not escape it. The book ends before they start to change the world. The thing I will agree with is destroying the oasis was something I thought he would do . but you really gotta fix the issue in the world first before you kill the thing that’s keeping ppl alive and careing about anything.

      I don’t know maybe I just a dope who couldnt read between the lines maybe I read the book with a different perspective the most . having listened to the audio book twice I just don’t see the issue this guy is bringing up.

    • Keldroc

      I appreciate your need to see the book as something other than the impossibly shitty expression of an impossibly shitty point of view it is, but I promise you that your take on it was NOT the intention of the author. Wade is supposed to be unironically awesome.

      • Justin Canine

        I think youreywrong here. As someone with a background in literary criticism I can assure you there is more to Wade than just being “super rad” or whatever you want to say.

        Cline had no follow through with his social critique; but only the uninitiated could read the book and walk away with the impression there was no attempt to build a larger narrative. It’s far more likely that Cline was trying to write an idealized and updated social commentary in the vein of 1984, a clockwork Orange, or a brave New world that represents the Advent and influence of mass media in creating and continually propagating and obsession with pop culture and fell short.
        Just look more closely about the books that are mentioned most frequently in RPO. That’s your first clue.

        I’m assuming you must also think that Steinbeck intended Ethan Allen to be a straight forward protagonist?
        Or hemmingway just thought Jake Barnes was one swell feller to throw in a book?

        I’m almost certain most of the “critics” of this book know little to nothing about actual literary criticism or rhetorical device.

        • JF2

          Ooh, the Wade Wilson of lit-crit has decided to favor us with His presence! Do go on….

          • Justin Canine

            I’m sorry that my background in a field relevant to this discussion threatens you.

            Perhaps you’d like to respond with something relevant? Something similar to my response that calls on knowledge of the subject matter to make a point, perhaps?

            Or did you just want to display your petulance? Let me guess; your background as a fry cook and sales cashier has given you some higher insight into the world of literary criticism?

          • JF2

            No, I don’t have anything substantive to favor you with, son; just my sarcastic note that you’re as gassy as Ernest Cline and twice as hostile. BTW I was unaware that literary criticism was the springboard out of the fry-cook slums! /s. Be seeing you on the night shift, I guess!

          • Justin Canine

            Hahaha ok. So you’re vapid, and proud of it.
            It’s always adorable to see people like you have to fall back to irrelavant personal attacks because you lack any knowledge of a subject; then show some level of righteous indignation when dealt with in-kind.

            Thank you for at least admitting the only contribution to a discussion about literature you have is to troll.

            I’ve read some of your other responses to comments about this and itsiquite clear you’re unfamiliar with the way writers convey messages through more subtle methods then just expressing an idea in the most readily digestible format.
            You’re the kind of peraop who would say Faulkner a horrible writer.

            The only reason you’ve criticised me is that my opinion (derived from training in the subject at hand) differs from yours.
            You’re claims of hostility are laughable, and an obvious attempt to obfuscate the FACT you have no clue what you’re talking about.

            If you perceive an assertive iteration of knowledge your ignorance won’t allow you assimilate as “hostility”; then I imagine you live in a very frightening world where you are continually beset by agression.

    • JuneTiger

      “a withering critique”. Why does that phrase always pop up in defense of any work so bad it practically drowns itself in Poe’s law?

      • Justin Canine

        Why do people without any background in literary criticism always think that a book is horrible because they didn’t appreciate the content of the book?

        It’s almost like their bias against the subject matter takes hold instead of a trained response to investigate the narrative and rehetorical device of the work in question.

        You’d have been one of the idiots who panned guys like Huxley and Burgess…

  • Andrew Freeman

    A couple years ago, I came up with a dumb little fanfiction based off ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ titled ‘The League of Extraordinary Games’. Super creative, huh? But I took a lot of pains to avoid making it a cheap ‘Captain N’ riff, coming up with a setting and backstory where it was at least semi-plausible that Arbiter could team up with Link and compare sword fighting techniques as they fight Dimentio alongside Casey Lynch and her Pikachu. No ‘video-landia’, as little ‘because it’s a video game’ winks as I could manage, just trying to create a badass story of a good team fighting evil.

    The whole thing is really hokey and ridiculous now (honestly, what teenage fanfiction isn’t?) but I honestly stand by the concept – a world where every (or at least as many as possible) game characters live and breathe in the same world, where they can interact with, compare to, and fight with each other. What kind of history would that world have, what would have to change with everything existing in the same place, what would remain the same across every exchange, how the characters would react to events that couldn’t happen in their own games…that’s all a lot more interesting to me than a cheap ‘Nerd becomes a Hero in RL!’ fanfic.

    Maybe I should tighten that story up and send a script in to Hollywood…

  • StewartAC

    meh….
    I enjoyed the book, for what it was…. a nerdy little visit to a world that was interesting to see. Most of the flaws you point out, Wade’s listing, the poor dialogue, etc….. All things I’ve encountered in my forays to nerd sanctums…. And I believe they were intentionally added….
    There was also the story of Aech and why Aech did what Aech did… and Aech never seemed to mind their continued friendship regardless of the pronouns WW used, so I’m not really sure why you do.
    So, I would suggest, for ease of your blood pressure, if you so disagree with the contents of story, maybe, don’t read it twice over….
    😀
    Happy New Years! ya’ll 🙂

    • Danno

      > Aech never seemed to mind their continued friendship regardless of the pronouns WW used, so I’m not really sure why you do.

      Because that was Ernest Cline’s choice and it rings wholly inauthentic. Duh?

      • Jp McElhanon

        I don’t really feel it was i mean the timeline from when wade learns of Aechs real identity to the end of the book is just about a day at maybe 2 at most not really a long enough time to reprogram the brain plus Aech is a smart enough person to realize the is more important shit going on right now then proper pronoun use lol like threat of life etc

        • JF2

          Yes, good point. Wade the White Man had much more important things to do than treat his “Best Black Friend” like a human being. So true.

          • Jp McElhanon

            No his best black female friend has lived years in the oasis as a white man has probably heard all the racist sexist shit to fill a lifetime.

            And knows their friend and understands its not something that changes overnight. Plus I imagine with aceh life like it has been I doubt she is a judgmental prick and understands wades intent and doesn’t need to go all SJW on him. Now in 10 years later if wade is still refusing to use she when talking her then I agree that would be disrespectful. But since we dont see what happens later in life. I assume they ok I call my best friend all kinda of names we have respect for each other that’s what being a friend is lol.

            If you cant see that then I’m sorry the whole world doesn’t have to be 100% PC all the fucking time.

            I’m married to a black women we make so many black/white jokes we make on each other daily.

      • StewartAC

        Aech lived most of Aech’s life within the confines of a computer game and all but a few moments of that life were as a white het male (as presented in the book)…. I doubt even Aech had enough time to realize the pronoun game… on top of the high likelihood that such Social Justice issues were not top stories of the day…. and the added stress of their current tasks within the book….

  • DCLawrence

    What’s this Welcome to Warcraft thing you mentioned? Is it available anywhere?

  • Corgi .

    Quick question:
    ‘Its bestseller success and Cline’s subsequent 7-figure sale of the screenplay to Steven Spielberg is as close as we can get to objective proof that the meritocracy isn’t working.’

    You mean Twilight and even more to the point, 50 Shades (Twilight fanfic with the numbers filed off), weren’t enough proof of that already?

  • Graeme Donaldson

    I had a friend a few years ago that basically did nothing with his life aside from “one day I’ll do X”, lived on the dole, deliberately got fired from any jobs he was made to take, and just couldn’t be bothered to socialise or make time for anyone else if they weren’t coming to him or doing what he wanted to do. Throughout it all he was convinced that his obsession with zombie movies and “preparation” for a real zombie apocalypse would make him the best at some point. When a fictional event suddenly erupted over the earth and his knowledge of replica firearms and which places in his city he could hide at would become useful at last.
    This is what I imagine Ernest Cline is, just a guy trying to justify his overdosing on nerd culture at the cost of writing lessons rather than swimming the ocean the rest of us do of existing in the real world and living with real world struggles while keeping the fiction and the geekery that we love a big part of our lives and close to our hearts. Of course all of this is ruined by the fact that Ernest has managed to have his cake and eat it by writing a terrible book and making tonnes of money off it.

  • relasine

    I don’t understand who the target audience for this book is. It’s a YA novel for men in their 40s.

    • Michał Szymański

      Well, let’s just assume that target audience are men in their 40s who never went beyond YA level 😉 One of my teachers used to say: “Men are capable of development till the age of 12, having crossed this line they just grow bigger” This is a book for men she meant.

    • JuneTiger

      That’s the joke, anyway. But to defer to that critique is dangerous. The truth is that while it may originate from such a mindset, it does a lot to normalize this worldview as the default. Plenty of young girls and boys like this book even though it doesn’t represent them. As a narrative or a work of art it shouldn’t have to represent anyone, and it certainly can’t represent everyone, but it openly acknowledges the elephant in the room only to dismiss it. It tries to create an entire world where difference doesn’t exist except to serve its protagonist’s desires or to pick on. Those young people might not have the maturity or reading experience to realize when a novel in the guise of “cool retro stuff” is handing them a poisoned shit sandwich. Just the fact that these kids are obsessed with this retro stuff says a lot – why ARE they obsessed with stuff 40 year olds loved as kids? Same reason I was obsessed with retro stuff as a kid. Because the adults who made the things I liked grew up in a different era and explored “childhood” through this lens. Again, there is is nothing wrong with that. It’s good, in fact it’s important, to read about cultures outside of your own and generations before your own. It’s healthy to become enameled with them. But it’s suppose to be a beneficial exchange. The author should share, not dominate, not usurp. I’m thinking the novel isn’t written for 40 year olds more than it’s written for teens and 20-somethings who have been primed to think like emotionally-stunted 40 year olds.

  • Rogue Gay

    Standing and clapping at this article. At the Scarlett Johannssons line, I audibly cheered.

  • Come the fuck on

    It’s basically just Twilight for a different demographic.
    It’s fine- really- if you’re a 14 year old who needs wish fulfillment to help you get out of bed and go to school, but the moment you’re an adult, it’s a guilty pleasure sort of thing at very best.

  • Jp McElhanon

    Ehh

    I enjoyed the book I listened to with wil Wheaton voice maybe that helped.

    I don’t agree with you on so many points. But I will say there was a little to much (name dropping) references could have been condensed down a little bit but I can live with it. I just recently listened to it a second time to get ready for the movie that I fear I will hate because of the movie looks to be drastically different then the book but I hope not time will tell.

    I thought Aech story line was explained well by aech and made lots of sense to me.

    I dont know I’m at a loss where wade wants to live in the 1980s era I want to live in a world with VR so good you would never have to interact with a real human again. But at 35 years old I dont think I will see that sadly.

  • Jp McElhanon

    So did you say art “three” mis as a joke or a dig. Or did you really miss the part where her name is Artemis.

  • Jeremy Rimpo

    While I definitely agree with many of these points, I do think you’re overblowing a few things and setting up some strawmen. I mean, it is actually specifically stated by Aech/Hellen why a black woman would take on a white male persona to get ahead. Similarly, while Parzival/Wade certainly considers her beautiful, the actual details of Art3mis/Samantha’s appearance are not really that of a supermodel. In addition, while he is the first to get a key in the book, he is one-upped several times by both Aech and Art3mis. Art3mis is the first to actually locate the first key (but not win it), and both she and Aech get the second key before Wade. So he’s certainly not presented as infallible and the best at everything (just a lot of things).

    But most of the other criticisms are pretty spot-on. He basically only cares about one person who died when the stereotypical evil corporation blows up his neighborhood and kills a lot of people because he doesn’t want to tell them anything and hopes but doesn’t really think they’re bluffing. Toward the end of the book he theoretically has the power to restore the characters of ALL the people who had been ‘killed’ by the same evil corporation with their digital superweapon, but only thinks to revive his close friends.

    The Japanese characters are probably given the shortest end of the stick. On top of the minimal development and hackneyed portrayals, they’re represented as being elite but ultimately given little page-time and pretty much never affect the overall outcome of the book. All of the important info comes from Aech and Art3mis, and Shoto isn’t even allowed to defeat arch-villain Sorrento – Wade has to finish the job (twice?).

    And yeah, the writing isn’t great.

    There are some extremely brief moments of introspection. He contemplates, in the middle of the book, that he’s a complete loner that basically never leaves his room and seems to understand the problems with that, but then dives back in because that’s all he knows how to do. There are moments like this. This particular thread – realizing the VR world is part of what’s ruining the actual world and real relationships matter more than virtual ones – is the only real takeaway which gets a few paragraphs of development by the end of the book.

    If old Halliday had really become concerned that OASIS was maybe actually a problem and might need to be destroyed (as the end of the book heavily implies), why had he done next to nothing with his apparently massive fortunes?

    Most of these things then come away more as asides when they probably really deserved more development – and that’s really the problem with the book. It’s so heavy on regurgitating often unnecessary facts for the sake of nostalgia that the same book real estate could have contemplated these more serious issues that are often given one paragraph on a page or a brief one-liner. Art3mis is at the same time both a strong character while simultaneously pigeonholed as the manic love interest. (Aside: It’s certainly the case that our online personas can be quite different from our real selves – and personal hangups are a real thing – so I have to cut a little slack here.)

    Part of the story is the “Top Five” eventually developing from rival friends and loners to true in-it-together friends. But this happens extremely late and they’re more or less forced into it. I think it would have been more powerful had they come together sooner. The book really fetishizes the loner perspective for most of the book, deriding both the ‘good’ gunter clans for daring to go it as a group as well as the literal corporate goons who are all identical, abandoning it at the end when it’s practically the only option left to defeat said goons. (Humanity never achieves anything as a group, right?)

    I think there was also room for a more interesting story about Sorrento. The book implies a few times that he is smart/talented enough to complete the challenges himself – despite having the entire resources of the evil company at his back. But he’s ultimately relegated to more of a stereotypical scheming villain – just not given the screen time to develop into anything more.

  • Maggie Zaino

    This book reads like a pseudo hipster’s tinder profile who is trying to impress women, the lower sex who couldnt possibly know anything about nerd pop culture, with redundant trivia vomit and zero substance. Bazinga!
    Seriously, there are 3 pages describing the plot of Blade Runner. How did this piece of shit even get published? It’s an insult to decent writers everywhere who are struggling to get published.

    • JWG

      See also: top result for “ready player one is hot garbage”

      PS: I appreciate your concluding reference to The Critic. That’s how to do it right.

  • drivenb4u

    Thanks for doing a deep dive on this shitheap. It REALLY IS that bad and it needs to be said repeatedly.

  • Alex Chau

    Great piece.

  • Spibbus Maximus

    Great read.

  • Spibbus Maximus

    It’s ironic too, that it’s a movie about the future and virtual reality yet it seems to be terrified of change and the future. It reeks of that bitter old man mentality of “everything after the stuff I liked as a kid is terrible”. It’s depressing to think that someone could have so little imagination and be so out of touch with reality that they can conjure up a world with real virtual reality and then not be able to see the creative potential in such a thing. It’s the same kind of person you hear complaining that there are NEVER any good new movies or games or etc anymore and meanwhile they get their kicks replaying the same handful of things over and over again for their whole lives and can’t seem to smell the stench of cognitive dissonance coming off themselves.

  • Andy Powell

    you are definitively taking the movie trashiness out on the book, which is actually a well scripted bibliography on 80’s pop culture video gamerey…. the movie, though… was straight hot garbag!!! Spielburg should be ashamed for putting his name on this… it was purely atrocious!!!

    • Andy Powell

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel…the movie, however, which I painstakingly watched this evening left me wanting to pluck my eyeballs form their sockets…it was awful!! in every way imaginable.

  • Matt

    Movie was 100% amazeballs. Critics generally have a problem with movies involving fun. It’s its fun, they generally hate it. Was it campy? Yup, cliche? That too. But that doesn’t matter, it was a hundred percent fun from start to finish.

  • grimrook

    lol look at all you wannabe edgy kids thinking shitting on this book and movie makes you cool guess what sjws nothing makes you cool you are a joke

  • Jack Spade

    The is one of the rare time the movie overdid the book justice. Reading this book gave me confidence and reassured me that the novel I’m currently working on is at least good enough to be published.

  • Disco Hat

    100% agree with this entire review. RP1 is basically a novel version of the Chris Farley Show, just a terribly written plot that’s only even there as a pretext for endlessly listing 80s references in a hamfisted kind of “hey remember that? wasn’t that cool?” fashion. The fact that there are millions of people out there who think this vapid braindead crap is good enough to make it a best seller and have frigging Spielberg make it into a movie is seriously depressing.

  • Justin Canine

    Literary criticism from a guy who writes about pop culture…
    I feel like this pseudo-intellectual diatribe was written by someone who either willingly or unknowingly missed, or misunderstood every literary device employed by Cline.

    Not only is his aptitude for recognizing narrative ploys wholly lacking, he has the audacity to bash Cline for what he sees as mediocrity made popular by the world’s addiction to nostalgia. All that while simultaneously praising Spielberg; arguably one of the most formulaic and mediocrity inducing filmmakers in history. Spielberg is a man who has made his mark by appealing to the lowest common denominator, pumping out full length films dictated by product placement, and focus groups. He has done more to accommodate the wide acceptance of vapid mediocrity than almost any other filmmaker to date…

    But at least the smarmy ass that wrote this article and has made his career producing useless articles about pop culture can be kind enough to give us his keen insight into the worlds of literature and philosophy…

    Not that Cline’s book was wonderful; but it’s recognizably more valuable than anything offered in this criticism and Cline is not nearly as inept as the, self implied, powerhouse of creativity and originality that ejaculated this incredibly biased storm of contempt.

  • Justin Canine

    I. Coleman, I don’t think you know much about literature, narrative, rhetorical device, allusion, metaphor, etc, etc…

    Your personal distaste for the pop culture aspect of the book is palpable and has either kept you from honestly assessing the work from a literary standpoint; or you’re actually so poorly read you completely missed every bit of subtlety and nuance in RPO.
    The fact that you completely missed the obvious attempt to condem so many of the things you believe this book exhalts is not surprising when considering your outright mistakes in your recollection of the plot.
    You’re just one salty little guy who hates the fact that “nerd culture” is now mainstream and all the people you resent for not liking you in school are into the things you’re into; so now you just have to let the world know how they’re not doing it right…

    Let’s be real here. You don’t know shit about literature, except what you find pleasing. You’re the kind of guy who would read ‘as I lay dying’ and think it’s just a racist sexist book about caricaturing rednecks.
    But hey your videos get like 50 views each so you probably know a lot more about writing than a guy with a degree focused on critiquing literature and a guy getting rich from a book he wrote..

    Salty little goofball

  • KenSanDiego

    what a douche. you wouldn’t recognize a piece of nerd culture canon if it bit you in the ass. typical millennial tunnelvision with no appreciation for the roots of gaming.

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