I recently finished the novel, Ready Player One. What a ride! I never thought that the 80’s would make a for the plot of a creative and complicated story. Thanks to Ernest Kline and his ode to everything from the era of my youth ( or “Yoots” as Cousin Vinney would call it).
Wade Watts is one of the missing millions. He never physically left home, but due to advanced VR he is more a resident of the artificial reality of the Oasis. There he can escape living in “The Stacks” which are nothing more than mobile homes retrofitted into a city of skyscrapers. He goes to school, buys and sells, and will even votes for president in the Oasis (He comments that the longest running president Will Wheaton is probably still a shoe in even as an old nerdy codger on his 90s). In the real world, Wade does leave home where he lived between the dryer and a tiny space to his hidden base of operations, a hidden van in a deserted junk yard. As long as he has service and his equipment he can escape from the horrors of life into a version of a perfect Fandom reality. The creator of the Oasis wanted everyone to have access to the world he had created.
Being a child of the 80’s when video games, iconic Fandom movies, and classic rock music was born (wow, when I was a kid the classic rock was 50s and 60s). So, everything 80s and I do mean everything is popular again. Then, both worlds are shaken when the Oasis creator dies. Like Willy Wonka in many ways he left his entire fortune to the parson who can find three keys that open three doors. The trick is you have to know your 80’s trivia like a college major( which I do believe one of his senior classes was based on the life of the Oasis creator. Have I said enough to wet your whistle? The adventures of meeting real friends, understanding your purpose in life, and enduring miserable circumstances often interweave in Wade’s story. His escape from reality is never without a moment to consider who a person is no matter where they find themselves. In real life and in the online world, we like Wade, can make an impact that effects people on all levels of existence.
Now for my disclaimer. The only thing that concerned me about the story was the character’s apathy towards God. Was this the author’s viewpoint on the harsh realities of human existence and where was God in their suffering?
Or was this a way to have us all examine our own walk of faith and does our trust in Jesus stand true when things get bad. If you are a Christian I want to give you a piece of advice that you need to prayerful consider. When you are reading more Fandom books in these jaded times, don’t be surprised by what slips in. This calls for filtering at times. I had to do that with Stephen King’s, The Dark Tower series. We all know what 50 Shades is about and what is obviously questionable. I am talking about you who love you comics, DC, Marvel, etc. Enjoy, pray, respond when needed, join us in using Fandom as our own Oasis online. The great thing about our paradise is that it trumps everything we already have experienced. Use whatever you can to make an impact for the Lord on the real world and online. Get people ready for the real life called Eternity.