A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle ~ read
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle ~ read
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle ~ read
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
I saw the movie with co-workers who are gamers and were so excited I could hardly stand it. My opinion of the whole deal was, at best, neutral. My knowledge of Ready Player One was only this was a really popular book, and at least one friend loathed it.
What a perfect escapist film. Bright, fast, flashy, filled with 1980s pop culture references that had my co-workers talking excitedly for days. I was bemused. Then one of them loaned her copy of the book to me. She was so excited to share it with me.
Perfect escapist fare again. Ready Player One is wish fulfillment 101. It’s like Cline took every reference from 1980s pop culture and crammed it into a “wouldn’t it be cool if ….” version of “my life sucks and I was really happy back then.” Which is, pointedly, harsh and maybe a bit unfair to Cline. Because we all have wish fulfillment fantasies, mine is comfortable surroundings on a golden beach surrounded by books and all the time to read them.
Pollution, poverty, climate change, unemployment have all reached their logical conclusion in 2045. It’s no wonder people would rather be in OASIS, the virtual world created by James Halliday, than anywhere else. And, like everything else in any world, the rich and powerful want even more.
Wade is the one-dimensional hero. The teenager who’s smarter and cooler than everyone else, saving the day from the big bad corporation who wants to take over OASIS and profit from it. Halliday’s death spurs an all out 3-riddle solving winner takes all contest for ownership. Wade’s team of five against IOI’s massive army of employees whose only job it is to research Halliday’s life and 1980s trivia, or strap up in game harnesses and play until they pass out.
The teenagers win. Wade gets the girl, the fortune and the power to turn OASIS off one day a week so everyone can reconnect to the “real world.” That’s pretty much it. Nothin’ deep or complex. Just a good mind candy afternoon read.
Although I’m sure my co-workers would disagree about the meaning of all those Easter Eggs.
As nonsensical as Pratchett’s Discworld books may seem, they often make a great deal of sense. Hogfather pokes fun at old gods, evolving gods, power, and belief systems. There’s even an “oh god,” as in “oh god I’m gonna be sick.”
The Hogfather is Discworld’s version of Santa Claus, and things go very, very far astray forcing Death to step in and try to put things right, while his granddaughter tries to behave like a normal person.
And I always enjoy reading Death trying to understand humans, and trying to behave as though he’s human when needed. Usually with very confusing results for the humans he encounters. Think Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack Skellington tries to introduce Christmas joy to Halloween Town.
William deWorde has a newsletter he sends to rich people who pay him to write about the gossip in Ankh-Morpork. The dwarves move in with a mechanical printer and make a deal with deWorde to publish more frequently. Soon, Ankh-Moorpark has two papers, one which publishes the truth as deWorde has been able to ferret out, and the truth people want to believe. DeWorde gets wind of a story which is politically dangerous, and find himself in danger.
It may be heresy to say, but I think Pratchett is funnier than Douglas Adams. And Pratchett’s silliness in my kind of silliness. And while they’re silly, Pratchett’s books are also social commentary. The Truth is about facts, truth, justice and what people want to believe is true. It also features mayhem, but then all of Terry Pratchett’s books feature mayhem of one sort or another.
To my wife Anne, without whose silence this book would never have been written.
Japan and Germany have won World War II and have taken over the world. Hitler is dying from syphilitic incapacitation in an insane asylum, while his henchmen maneuver for power.
The US, as we know it, has been divided into three regions: the Eastern US controlled by the Nazis, Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (the Pacific states) controlled by Japan, and a buffer zone called the Rocky Mountain States.
This should have been a gripping story, given the premise. But overall, I found the characters bland, and the dependence upon the I Ching an overused plot device.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman ~Review