Books: ‘Ready Player One’ Revs Sci-Fi Engines

Author Ernie Cline once worked in tech support to foot the bills. Now, the Fanboys sceenwriter has turned his love for the geeky into a lucrative career — and his first novel, “Ready Player One," more than delivers.

Protagonist Wade Watts is a pretty typical kid (for 2044, at least): He tolerates school because decent grades allow him to continue playing video games at home. Ah, to be a teenage boy.

Like others of his generation, Watts is fascinated by the 1980s, namely because “a billionaire inventor, James Halliday, died and left behind a mischievous legacy. Whoever first cracks Halliday’s series of ’80s-related riddles, clues and puzzles that are included in a film called ‘Anorak’s Invitation’ will inherit his fortune.” You might be able to see where this is headed.

The book winds down nostalgia lane, filled with references to Star Trek and Rubik’s Cubes within the narrative’s online utopia. Wired comments that “Ready Player One” has “’fast-paced ride through nerdia’ written all over it.” The New York Daily News describes Cline’s book as “the ultimate lottery ticket" and even Publisher’s Weekly says it’s an “adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom.”

Sounds fun to us.

"Ready Player One" will hit shelves August 16 from Crown. Discover more on Trove’s Video Games and Science Fiction channels.

Also out this week:

» “God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" is magician and comedian Penn Jilette’s foray into ranting on paper — and evidently, he’s rather good at it. Described as the ultimate "athiest manifesto,” Jilette’s book will be available August 16. Abracadabra?

» “What Color is Your Parachute?" has been out for decades now, but as Fortune magazine reminds readers, it’s one of those books that “everyone should read in the tenth grade and again every year thereafter.” The 40th Anniversary Edition will be released August 16.

Image via Random House.