Ready Player One is coming out and I know a few people that cannot wait. I can’t get excited for it. I read the book. It was ok. For me it was one of those books where when the story starts to lag I realize I could stop reading. I guess it could be discribed as heart. All stories have that moment where the story kind of stops. A well written story uses that pause for effect or rather to affect. Sometimes it is suspense or sometimes it is longing. When I got to that point in the book I thought, well I’ve put that time in, might as well find out how it ends.
Now I have no problem with the pop culture, reference, thing. I would love nothing more than to see an EVA fighting The Iron Giant while Gandalf the Grey stands on his shoulder battling a Moltres saddled up with a double wand wielding Bellatrix Lestrange. My favorite scenes from the Toy Story movies are where Andy is playing with all of his toys. I freaked out when they actually made Pacific Rim. It was awesome. There is a time and a place for that kind of thing and this is it. Getting Steven Spielberg to do it is a stroke of genius. He is responsible for most of that nostalgia and this gives him an opportunity to play with his legacy and have fun with it, but the book was just kind of generic. I love when characters have to solve puzzles. The Harry Potter books were fun about that. Each puzzle was interesting because it I wasn’t just about the professor’s specialty they also gave a little glimpse into how they thought. The puzzles in Ready Player One were just kind of flat. It was like listening to trivia without insight. Memorizing facts while glossing over ideas and themes. I loved ET because of how it affected me. I remember crying my ass off in the movie theatre parking lot. When I talk to others about ET many people have the same experience. It wasn’t about how he looked, although the pale bodied riverbed scene still haunts me, it was really about the story. Ready Player One glosses over the story in service of the reference. The book Redshirts: A Novel with 3 Codas takes the exact opposite approach. It uses nostalgia as an entry point. You are familiar with the world so explanation isn’t needed. It deals with the problems that are presented by, in this case, Star Trek and has fun with it.
I have read a review that the story was changed, for the better. I just hope that Spielberg brings more than just his style. I hope that he is able to bring the substance and heart that makes him the amazing artist he is.